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How to Create an SEO Budget [With Template]

October 11, 2023

by Anna Peck

Senior SEO Specialist at Clutch.co

Search engine optimization is critical for businesses looking to make an impact online, but how much should your business spend on your SEO strategy? Use our SEO budget template to streamline the process.

In highly competitive industries, SEO can provide a significant advantage for businesses and their online presence.

SEO is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process that requires continuous optimization and monitoring. By allocating a budget for SEO, you can invest in activities like keyword research, content creation, link building, and technical improvements that contribute to long-term success and visibility in search engine rankings.

A budget for SEO allows you to invest in strategies and tactics that attract more qualified visitors to your website, increasing the chances of conversions and business growth.

Use our article to learn how to create an effective SEO budget for your content marketing goals.

Once your SEO budget is planned, hire a firm for SEO services to leverage your company’s online potential fully.

What Goes Into an SEO Budget?

Many digital marketing strategies fail because they do not keep aside a proper budget for SEO services.  

There is no standard budget for SEO or digital marketing strategy, but each budget should factor in the following considerations.  

  • Deliverables: SEO agencies can be hired for a variety of services, including keyword research, content creation, on-page SEO (internal linking, URL structure, image optimization) vs off-page SEO (link building, outreach, social media promotion), SEO audits, technical SEO, and more. The amount of deliverables you’re looking for will impact how your budget is outlined.  
  • SEO Reporting & Analytics: Working with SEO marketing agencies should include the barrier for analytics and tracking of SERPS, web performance, conversions, organic traffic, and other areas. This helps measure the impact of your SEO efforts and helps stakeholders think critically about where they should be investing their time.  
  • Website Audit & Maintenance: Budgeting for regular SEO audits and maintenance will help identify any technical issues that might occur.  
  • Timeline: The hours estimated for your SEO work will impact the overall budget. SEO is a long-term project with different phases that will take a different amount of time. Ensure that there is enough time for buffer, and consider that many SEO companies charge by the hour. 

How to Create a Budget for SEO Services 

  1. Look at your digital marketing budget as a whole  
  2. Think of your SEO goals  
  3. Factor in SEO tools  
  4. Put together a timeline  
  5. Hire SEO support  

Look at Your Digital Marketing Budget  

Before crafting your SEO-specific budget, it is essential to take a look at any other digital marketing-related budgets you might have.  

Examine how those marketing channels are performing. Let’s say your PPC and email marketing strategies aren’t doing great, simply re-allocate some of that to your SEO budget. Those are important marketing practices for your business, but SEO will generate more organic traffic and impact other metrics in the long run.  

SEO is more cost-effective in the long term, so think critically about your other digital marketing resources and see what you can use for SEO spend.  

Think of Your SEO Goals 

When creating an SEO budget, it is crucial to think through your SEO goals. By clearly defining your objectives, you can allocate resources effectively and maximize the impact of your SEO efforts.  

Setting specific goals such as increasing organic website traffic, improving search engine rankings, publishing high-quality content, increasing backlink opportunities, or driving conversions allows you to prioritize strategies and tactics accordingly. Additionally, considering long-term goals and aligning them with your overall marketing objectives ensures that your SEO budget supports your business growth and success.  

Taking the time to think through your SEO goals not only helps in budget planning but also sets a clear path for achieving desired outcomes in the competitive online landscape.  

Factor in SEO Tools  

The bottom line is that SEO without the correct SEO tools is a shot in the dark.  

Ensure that your budget makes room for keyword research tools, technical SEO tools, and others to ensure that your company is utilizing your SEO potential.  

There are free tools out there, but those can be limiting. For the best user experience and value, signing up for free SEO tool trials and reading online about what other companies use can help make the decision of selecting a tool quite easy.  

Another thing to consider is payment plans for these SEO tools. Some might have harder contracts than others, which can give your team a full picture of what to expect.  

Put Together a Timeline  

A well-structured timeline helps you establish realistic expectations and ensures that your SEO efforts are executed strategically and organizationally. By outlining key milestones and deadlines, you can effectively plan and allocate resources for different stages of your SEO campaign.  

A timeline also allows you to prioritize tasks and set achievable goals within specific timeframes. It helps you identify potential bottlenecks, allowing for better collaboration with your in-house team or SEO agency. Additionally, a timeline helps you measure progress and track the effectiveness of your SEO strategies over time.  

Timeline benchmarks help align your SEO budget with events in your industry, seasonal marketing campaigns, or product launches.  

Hire SEO Support  

Your small business needs to hire SEO support in order to make all of your SEO goals a reality.  

Factor in hiring a SEO expert into your budget. After vetting different resources, you’ll be able to include other specialized digital marketing tasks within your SEO budget, depending on offers.  

Business owners can hire the following to assist with SEO services:  

  • A company with a team of SEO specialists that works with an hourly rate  
  • A freelance SEO consultant who works with different SEO responsibilities  
  • An in-house SEO professional or SEO team that works closely with other internal marketing team members.  

Each of these SEO experts can provide a different perspective and strong skillset. Before choosing, think about which will bring the most value to your organization with little impact on your marketing spend and budget.  

Should you hire an in-house SEO specialist or an SEO company? Think through your choice with our guide

SEO Budget Template 

Use our free template to help your team budget for SEO. As mentioned, each business has its own requirements when it comes to SEO services.   

Plan your SEO budget according to your business goals and priorities.   

seo budget template

Download the SEO budget template. 

Factors for SEO Cost 

Consider the following factors when crafting an SEO budget:   

  • Your business goals   
  • Timeline   
  • Your competition level   
  • The scale of your SEO project   
  • Your industry   
  • Current SEO performance   
  • Your target audience   

As your company evolves, your SEO strategy will also change. It is important for your company to remain flexible with your budget when changes occur.   

See what SEO experts are charging for SEO support with our pricing guide

The Importance of Allocating a Budget for SEO 

For any business to succeed in our rapidly evolving digital landscape, crafting a budget for SEO is critical. A well-planned and strategic budget allows companies to optimize their online presence, improve organic search engine rankings, and increase their organic traffic. All of these open the opportunity for businesses to be seen by their target audience and increase the opportunity for conversions.   

By recognizing the importance of SEO budgets, businesses can gain a competitive edge online. Use our template to get started on your next SEO campaign.


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