Now, as we’re rapidly approaching the end of this horrible year (and bring on 2021!), you may be considering your marketing budget for next year.
I want to go through 3 things you’ll want to consider when budgeting for SEO.
These considerations will be necessary in managing expectations of the ROI of SEO, and it may even influence the reallocation of funds from one department to another.
So, let’s get straight to the first thing you’ll want to consider when budgeting for SEO.
Consideration 1: SEO Implementation May Require Additional Workforce
Whether you’re focused on technical SEO, on-page SEO, or off-page SEO, or perhaps a combination of all three pillars, there’ll be a need for individuals outside of the SEO department to action SEO-related work, or tasks.
And this is despite having an SEO person, or even an SEO department.
You see, an unknown unknown insight about SEO, from a non-SEO point of view, is that it will take more than SEO to generate an increase in rankings, traffic and revenue from the channel.
When budgeting for SEO, there is a misconception that an SEO person, or two, is all that’s needed to fulfill SEO.
When budgeting, there is also the thought that an SEO agency will be needed – for support.
A less common consideration is around the operational work needed to make SEO a success.
Let’s use technical SEO, as an example.
Let’s say you’ve budgeted for an agency to carry out a technical audit of your website.
Now, an audit as such will show the technical issues to address, why they matter and what should be done to address (or fix) the issues.
A requirement to fixing the issues will be your website resources, i.e. your Dev team.
An SEO tech audit, for the most part, will require the Dev team to action a number of the items.
These items will need to be transposed into the workflow of the Dev team, in order to be actioned.
Now, what do you think happens to SEO-related Dev work when the Dev team do not have the capacity to action them?
They get delayed, right?
How do you think this delay affects the performance of the SEO channel?
You see, to some extent, the success of SEO requires the timely implementation of the SEO strategy.
If the SEO strategy states that fixing a number of technical issues is required for the channel to perform better, fixing the technical issues becomes a priority.
The question then becomes, where does the priority of fixing technical SEO issues sit in the overall priority of the Dev team, of the SEO team, of the business?
If tech SEO issues are priority number 1, along with other business-related development that requires the resources of the Dev team, then the capacity in the Dev team may need to be expanded.
In other words, you’ll need more headcount in your Dev team in order to implement SEO-related work.
This is a consideration you’ll need to bear in mind when budgeting for SEO.
This example is pertaining to tech SEO. Resource considerations may be required for the other two SEO pillars.
Consideration 2: Technical Limitations Blocking SEO
The second consideration you’ll want to have when budgeting for SEO is that there may be technical limitations blocking SEO from performing at its best.
Now, technical limitations in itself is a big area. Let me surmise it as website backend development work.
The areas this will affect will be the CMS, the server and/or the website, itself.
For example, if an SEO audit suggested your site can benefit from having an XML sitemap, and you have a CMS that’s currently not configured to generate one, a Dev person will be required to configure this in the CMS before the XML can be generated.
This may be a big piece of work, which may take weeks or even months to complete.
If this piece of work were to take 6 months to complete, that’s 6 months where SEO performance continues to be hindered.
This may be a major blockage to your site being crawled, which impacts your website’s visibility in the SERPs, which impacts your rankings, which impacts your traffic.
And we all know the importance of traffic –
No traffic, no conversions. No conversions, no revenue – at least not from the SEO channel.So you see, when determining the budget for the SEO channel, although the budget may be for SEO, it may be the case that SEO budget is allocated outside of the SEO department, but, for SEO!
Consideration 3: Departmental Processes and Policies
Now, the third consideration I want to propose you make when budgeting for SEO is around the processes and policies from departments that have something to do with the website.
Now, I acknowledge this is an odd thing to consider during budgeting but hear me out…
SEO is relatively new in marketing. For other disciplines that have a touchpoint with one’s website, SEO may be completely foreign.
As such, when those disciplines are building and expanding their work processes, they may have guides in place that inadvertently restricts the SEO channel from performing at its best.
For example, a Copy department may have a policy where they opt to be minimalistic. The less words, the better!
This may be a policy that’s applied on the website where pages are created with 10 words, for example.
10 words on a page! The rest of the page is filled with images, and graphics, and space.
This may be excellent from a Copy point of view. However, from an SEO Point of view, it’s a big issue.
An issue that will affect the channel’s performance.
Now, why does a policy as such matter when budgeting for SEO?
Here’s why it matters…
If you had a situation as such, it will leave your SEO in a uphill journey of attempting to influence change across the entire Copy department!
This SEO will be spending a huge chunk of their time, on a daily basis, evangelising SEO within the Copy department, and corresponding departments as well.
That’s the Design department, the Dev department, Website Managers, and possibly more departments.
When an SEO is doing this, how much time can the SEO be expected to spend on other SEO-related work?
This operational reality, may need to be considered when budgeting for SEO.
SEO is a vast channel! If spread too thin you end up being in a situation where SEO is busy SEOing but not focused on the objective of growing revenue with clear KPIs in place.
When SEO is busy being busy, and not able to show clear performance improvements, guess what this does to the relationship the channel has with other departments?
It leaves SEO in a state where it continues to be vague, where it continues to be untrusted, where it continues to be unproven.
This is why businesses question the value of the channel.
When you consider how the processes and policies of departments affect the SEO performance, you can better prepare for the road ahead.
You can make a case of why, for example, you would need an additional SEO headcount to focus 100% on evangelising SEO across your business.
The importance of this, evangelising SEO, is still undervalued across businesses.
However, it can be the difference maker between showing a positive ROI towards the end of the year, versus a negative ROI.