It has dawned on me that some non-SEOs are unaware of why SEOs need a budget for marketing activities.
So, today, I want to touch on a couple of reasons why SEOs need a marketing budget even though the channel is free.
And, just so we’re on the same page, when I talk about the need for a marketing budget for SEO, I’m referring to a budget specifically for marketing purposes.
So, training, development, budget for talent, are all aside from this topic.
As SEO is a free channel, why do you need a marketing budget for it?
Let me offer you three reasons why SEOs need a marketing budget.
As you may have heard me say before, SEO requires more than SEOs to be a success.
The channel is unique in that it requires other departments to implement best practices before your site can benefit from the improvements.
As an example, and I’m going to offer you a real life example here –
Let’s say your SEO analyses your site speed and concludes that you need to improve your Core Web Vitals score – across several page templates.
The recommendations are signed-off on and SEO liaise with Dev to have the recs implemented.
Your Dev department is stacked!
They not only have work to take them through the entire year, the work they have are all related to your business infrastructure.
They have marketing related development requests, which are way down the priority list.
They are not able to get onto marketing related tickets because the business infrastructural ones are the priority.
This priority is estimated to be completed in 12 month’s time.
At this point, they’ll have the bandwidth to get onto the marketing related tickets.
From these tickets, SEO-related requests are down at the bottom.
The request to work on your Core Web Vitals comes at the end of the current SEO-related tickets.
So, realistically, with the current bandwidth in the Dev department, they’ll only be able to work on improving your Core Web Vitals in 18 month’s time – 12 at the earliest!
How much progress do you think you’ll be able to make with your SEO if you have to wait a year before something as important as your site speed begins to be worked on?
Rather than waiting an entire year (at least), if SEO had the budget to pay for an additional bandwidth within the Dev department, you’ll be able to make progress a lot quicker.
This is an issue SEOs face all the time.
The implementation of recommendations are kept on hold for months, if not years.
And within this time, as you’re not making improvements, and your competitors are, how do you think your site will fair in the SERPs…?
Bear this thought in mind, we’ll come back to it.
The second reason why SEOs ask for a budget even though the channel is free pertains specifically to the off-page pillar of SEO.
Think of off-page optimisation as a promotional tentacle of your marketing department.
The main difference is this promotional work is for the purposes of improving your website’s visibility in the SERPs.
Off-page SEO requires 2 main things – content/assets and outreach.
There is a spend that comes with both of these things, which are used as part of your SEO campaign.
You may have PR that runs a campaign for the brand but not necessarily for SEO-purposes.
In order to have an SEO-specific campaign, or an SEO-integrated one, you need SEO input.
Any campaign that SEOs come up with, or are involved in, will require them to have a spend at hand.
Blogger events, for example, requires a spend.
Interacting with Influencers, requires a spend.
Anything that’s carried out for the betterment of your site, outside of your site, requires a spend.
Contrary to what one may think, organic visibility requires a spend.
So, you see, whilst SEO is known as the free channel, to attain and maintain traffic from it, you need to have a marketing budget that’s specifically allocated to the channel.
No one knows this more than SEOs, which is why we require a spend.
This leads us into the third reason why SEOs ask for a budget even though the channel is free.
The element of competition, in the SERPs, means you have to spend continuously to optimise your site in order to show you’re better than your competition.
Now, what do I mean by this…?
The landscape that you’re in changes, and will continue to change.
And by change, in this case, I mean, the landscape will become more competitive.
Search, as a whole will grow, and has grown.
This growth influences marketers to do more on their site, for their site, in order to acquire more traffic from the channel.
This, you see, is why it’s harder now to attain the number 1 position than it was 10, 15 years ago.
The more your competitors spend on improving the elements on their site, the more you have to.
And, realistically, there isn’t much of a choice here.
If you want to attain organic traffic, you have to have a budget for the organic channel.
In particular, you have to have this budget at hand to spend quickly.
SEO, sometimes, comes down to who is able to implement recommendations, quicker.
Let’s revisit site speed issues. Let’s say this is something you’re addressing.
And a brand competitor of yours also have site speed issues.
Their SEO has recommended they improve their Core Web Vitals.
Your SEO has recommended to improve your Core Web Vitals.
Their Devs are stacked. Yours are stacked.
With your current bandwidth, you both cannot begin this work until 12 months’ time.
Their SEO have a budget to allocate to begin this work within a month. You do not.
After a further 2 months, their Core Web Vitals have improved.
You’re still yet to begin this work.
Everything else being equal, what do you think is likely to happen to their visibility in the SERPs?
And what do you think is likely to happen to yours…?