Alright, so, SEO is free, right? I mean, the organic channel is a free channel.
So, why do SEOs ask for a budget when SEO traffic is free?
Let’s talk about this!
Yes, organic search is free. Unlike Paid Search, for example, you do not have to pay, or bid, to be listed in organic search results.
However, websites don’t just appear on search engines.
They are listed on search engines because the site owners grant search engines, Google, for example, the right to crawl, index, and rank them.
Furthermore, the top listed sites – let’s say, the top 3 on Google, for any query – are not there by accident.
They are there because Google has determined they are the most relevant, most appropriate for the given query.
And this determination has been down to the websites influencing Google to arrive at this determination.
How, you may ask…?
By SEOs doing their SEO thing.
So, whilst organic search is a free channel, and you cannot buy or pay for your position, you can certainly influence where you are positioned.
This influence isn’t an under-the-table type of influence – no, no.
It’s actually very transparent – simply follow the guidelines set by the search engine – Google, for example – and you will have your site indexed, and shown on the search engine.
Now, when it comes to ranking, and specifically when it comes to ranking high up on the SERPs, there is the element of competition.
This competition, the element of it, is what drives the SEO industry and requires SEOs to have a budget.
And to be clear, when I say ‘a budget’, I’m referring to more than the seat cost of an SEO person.
So, on top of having an SEO for your business, you also need an SEO budget.
Here are a couple of things you need to consider when dealing with the SEO channel.
SEO requires tools, and SEO tools come with a cost.
There are plenty of free SEO tools online, and some of them can absolutely be used.
However, you cannot be taken seriously if you do not have SEO tools that are paid for.
The auditing of your site requires a tool.
The tracking of your keyword rankings requires a tool.
The analysis of your backlinks requires a tool.
For each pillar of SEO, On-page, Off-page and Technical, you need at least one tool.
One for each pillar is the bare minimum.
Training is another area that requires an SEO spend.
The SEO industry continues to grow quickly.
And it continues to be multifaceted.
The more knowledgeable your SEO, the greater the awareness of SEO is in your business.
This determines the state of SEO in your business.
The more the state of SEO in your business is in-line with the SEO industry, the more successful you will be with acquiring organic traffic.
Acquiring more of the organic market share of your targeted keywords, in some part, comes down to whether or not you have the best SEOs in your organisation.
If you want to outperform your competitors in organic search, you’ll want to ensure you have SEOs who consistently aim to achieve world-class optimisation of your website.
Enabling them to achieve this means you provide them with the ongoing training to be the best-in-class SEOs.
And this ties into another necessary SEO spend – that of developing your SEOs.
Supporting career development, in this day and age, is a must!
It’s something SEOs almost expect because many organisations offer this.
To employ an SEO and not offer support for the SEO to develop their career in your organisation is an unfortunate way to lose that talent.
Now imagine if the talent was lost to one of your competitors.
I’m sure you can see how this will influence your visibility in the SERPs.
Alright. One more SEO spend I want to touch on is pertaining to links – backlinks.
Backlinks are a necessary part of SEO, and so is attaining them.
There is a lot to say about Off-page SEO.
It’s a very controversial pillar of SEO, with a history that has led to its controversy.
I can go into this another time.
For now, let me just keep it topline and say, when it comes to Off-page SEO, you absolutely need a spend.
In order to earn backlinks, you need to have a reason why other websites will link to yours.
And not just link to your website, but link to specific pages on your site.
There are several approaches for this, which is waaaay beyond the scope of this episode.
But all of the approaches to attain backlinks, or earn backlinks, comes with having a marketing spend that is specifically for the purpose of Off-page SEO.
And, let me be frank here, the cost of implementing a successful Off-page SEO strategy has gone up over the years.
If you look at Off-page SEO in terms of campaigns, these days, a successful campaign, besides the ideation, creative and execution, comes down to whether or not you have a budget for Off-page SEO.
If you do not have a budget, and your competitors do, depending on how aggressive they are, they can bury your site deep down in the SERPs.
That’s how much of a necessity it is to have a budget for Off-page SEO.
So, whilst organic traffic is free, acquiring it is not.
It takes more than an SEO to make the SEO channel successfully acquire traffic for your website.
The cost of this, like everything else, comes down to time and money.