How much does first page SEO cost?

If your business has a website, you would most likely have come across the terms Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing in recent years.

As business owners or entrepreneurs, the most common question that you will have is about how much it will cost to get your website on to the first page of Google.

However, things are not as straightforward when it comes to SEO because there are plenty of variables ranging from your website’s speed to the competitiveness of your industry that can affect your strategy and cost breakdown.

Your cost will also depend on what your business goals are and the timeline that you have. If you already employ some SEO strategies for your business, it would be cheaper to improve on what you’ve got compared to starting from scratch.

Essentially you will not see SEO results overnight and you will require consistent effort to adapt your site to the ever evolving Internet and search algorithms.

Here are some things that will be part of a standard SEO package:

1. Basic On-Page SEO and Installation of 3rd-Party Tools

Assuming you have a basic website set up for your business with no SEO optimisation done so far, your initial steps will be to set things up with basic SEO optimisation for your existing pages.

Next, in order to know what is working for your business (or not), you will have to integrate your site with 3rd Party tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools / Search Console.

Google Analytics provide you with a breakdown of user behaviour on your site such as the number of pages they visit, the length of time they spend browsing your site, and how they found your site.

Google Webmaster Tools and Search Console provide you with a clear breakdown of the keywords that your pages are ranking for on Google as well as the search queries where your site appear.

For basic on-page optimisation of your site, you can easily use tools such as Yoast or All-in-one SEO if your website is built on WordPress. These tools will help you set your meta title, description and keywords for your pages and can be done easily within an hour for most websites.

In total, the initial set up costs as described above should cost you approximately $300 to $1000 depending on whether you are engaging an experienced freelancer or a small SME skilled in digital marketing.

2. Research + Strategy and Content Creation

This part is more strategic in nature and hence can vary greatly from agency to agency.

The key component lies in the market research to scope out the competitiveness of your industry before narrowing down on the most ideal keywords you can target in your content creation.

Ideal keywords should not be too competitive and have a low QSR (Quoted Search Results – actual number of search results indexed by Google for a particular keyword) below 100 and average search traffic above 30 searches a month.

After the research and analysis has been done comes the hard work of content creation which also has to be optimised for the keywords you’ve selected.

Of course, your business can also aim for keywords with the highest search volumes and competitiveness but your chances of success will be proportionately lower in this case as well.

In general regardless of your strategy, you should expect about 3 to 6 months before you see results for SEO.

The general rates for SEO and content creation at this juncture usually ranges from a few thousand to tens of thousands a month on a retainer basis.

3. White-Hat SEO + Off-Page Activities

This is where SEO can become more effective (and more costly) for your business by doing activities that do not scale.

Such activities can include white-hat link-building for your website/webpage, guest postings or paid editorials on relevant sites, and even relationship management with key editors and webmasters.

Because of its complexity, it is generally quite rare for businesses to find agencies that go beyond general SEO content creation; if you do find some, their fees will not be cheap either.

Conclusion

Digital marketing and Search Engine Optimisation can be quite complex and costly with no guarantees of success (as most results can be seen only after several weeks or months).

Attempting to rank on the first page of a keyword, and ideally in the top 3 search result positions, will thus easily set you back by thousands of dollars if you engage a very skilled freelancer and tens of thousands of dollars through an agency.

Nevertheless many businesses are still willing to invest huge amounts in digital marketing and SEO because of the high rewards – being able to reach targeted prospects and buyers who can convert to business leads.

Alternatively, you can consider getting a sponsored space on our selection of articles that are already ranked on the first page of Google for a fraction of the cost and without any uncertainty.

The only downside is that there are very limited slots available for each article and if you miss out on getting a slot, you will have to wait a few months until it renews.