How Much Does SEO Cost in the UK?
Most business owners with a website or digital footprint will know what SEO (search engine optimisation) is. They’ll know that, in one way or another, it involves appearing in a high position on Google et al’s pages when people type in search terms, but, they may not know how much does SEO costs in the UK in 2023. Or, more accurately, how much should this type of marketing cost?
Here, we’ll look to break that down and offer up a holistic, accurate answer to this question that provides you with a sense of what your level of investment should be in a world where optimising for search is becoming a marketing tactic that companies, regardless of industry, is adopting.
We’ll cover everything from different pricing models and link building to backlinks and SEO management fees. We like to think we know a thing or two about this aspect of organic SEO, for years our team of experts have been carrying out award-winning campaigns for clients, making a huge difference to their revenue, leads, and website traffic.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of SEO and the high levels of services our team offers – including our well-documented track record – then get in touch with us via email at [email protected] or call us on 0161 327 2635.
What Is SEO?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s first explain what search engine optimisation (SEO) is, what it entails and, importantly, what it isn’t. At the top level, this digital marketing service is how websites can rank on page one of search engines for terms, questions, and phrases that are relevant to them.
When you search for something on Google and you see a list of products, websites, business listings, or videos that relate to your search, that doesn’t happen by accident. Search engines scan and index billions of pages every day and essentially reward those pages that tick all the boxes (those boxes are called ‘ranking factors‘) with a higher placement.
SEO is a term that encompasses a lot of things from the content side of things to the aspect of search engine optimising which are more technical. All of which make a difference and are necessary parts of the broader plan. For example, a typical SEO strategy could well include:
- A website audit to understand what the current state of play is
- Creation of optimised quality content which looks to answer and include relevant search terms
- Keyword research to determine what phrases are out there to rank for
- Link building to help grow a website’s authority
- Redesigning web pages so that they operate better on mobile search engines, are more user-friendly, and increase conversion rates
- Keeping an eye out for new algorithm updates that could affect a site’s performance
As you can see, SEO is not just one thing, it’s a holistic service that essentially ensures your website performs well. In a world where people are more online than ever, that need couldn’t be more important.
Why SEO Should Be a Pillar of Your Broader Marketing Strategy
Increasingly, SEO across the world is becoming one of the cogs in the overall digital marketing strategy. For some industries and sectors, particularly those who operate an e-commerce business, just having a monthly budget for SEO is not enough. Why? Because of the way people shop.
Known as The Messy Middle, how customers purchase things is increasingly complex, multi-channel, and, yes, messy. They might search for something on Google, read a blog or two and then head over to their social media feeds or read a news article. The time between their initial interest in a product and their actual buying might take weeks.
This is why having a broad, multi-channel strategy is non-negotiable in 2023. You need to be where your customers are, and, guess what, they are everywhere! So, when thinking about the cost of SEO services, it’s important to think about your total marketing budget.
Having a presence across multiple channels ensures you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of ‘showing up’ when that customer is ready to purchase – it could be through a Google search but it could equally be when they see your advert on social media or your name in the newspaper.
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Is It Worth Investing in Search Engine Optimisation?
You’ve probably come to this section already suspecting what our answer might be, and you’d be right. Yes, we do think that investing in SEO is a worthwhile thing to do.
We only say this with such confidence and belief because we’ve seen what the benefits of this marketing technique can have for us here at Embryo but for our clients as well! We practice what we preach and are constantly optimising and improving our, and our client’s, websites. Our conclusion is?
Increasing search engine rankings for relevant terms directly links to an increase in leads, new customers, and revenue.
Put our opinion to one side and just look at the level of competition (be it in your local area or globally) that there is online for rankings and visibility, in your sector alone. You can’t afford to not invest in some level of SEO because your competitors will beat you for new business.
We understand that optimising for search engines can appear daunting, however, there have never been more tools to help you optimise your website in an easy and effective way.
Call it hyperbole but an investment in SEO should be thought of in the same way as electricity and heating bills, and office space.
Online experiences begin with someone typing a phrase into a search engine (Source: Brightedge).
Is the close rate of leads which come via a search engine (Source: Hubspot).
Organic search accounts for over half of all website traffic (Source: Brightedge).
How Much Does SEO Cost in the UK?
So, here’s where the rubber meets the road – how much does SEO cost? UK businesses across the country will probably all have a different answer based on their experiences and in some part that is where the answer lies. The true cost of SEO depends.
It all depends on your investment, your goals, the type of SEO package you opt-in for, the level of service you invest in, and much, much more. Broadly speaking, here at Embryo we recommend that companies’ financial investment in SEO should be at least £3,000 a month. This is with the caveat that, depending on the type of pricing (i.e. rolling contracts, long-term contracts), you can basically spend as much as you want, there is no real ceiling to SEO because there is always more work that can be done. Optimising doesn’t just end, it’s an ongoing type of marketing.
What there is, is the danger of spending too little and expecting to see returns on that investment. Spending £500 a month on search engine optimisation – be it with a digital marketing agency or with a freelancer is only going to get you so far. The concrete, long-term results that SEO can provide come when a business invests a substantial amount of money over a long period. This ensures you get those early quick wins and the greater, more fundamental elements of success.
Owners and brands should also be aware – when it comes to finding out how much SEO costs in the UK – of those freelancers or agencies that promise the world a fraction of the cost. To improve website rankings, conversions, and online presence real investment needs to be taken with professionals that don’t promise the earth to you.
Cheap SEO providers cut corners and don’t follow processes. Put this against the backdrop of Google’s mantra that they reward those sites that do the hard work to promote their website and it’s clear that spending too little on SEO in the UK will fail to deliver the ROI you want.
Put it this way, if SEO is a building contractor and your website is your house, you’re not going to choose the business that promises to deliver but only charges a fraction of the cost – something will feel off, and for good reason.
What You Get from an SEO Package
So now you know how much the monthly costs of good SEO are, let’s look at what you can expect to get for your outlay. Well, firstly, if you work with an SEO marketing agency such as Embryo, you can expect to work with SEO experts. A good retainer will ensure your website is in the best possible hands and run by people that know what needs to be done in months one, two, and three to set you up for long-term success.
Secondly, this digital marketing campaign is entirely run by them, not you, freeing you up to carry on running your business and focusing on other aspects of it, safe in the knowledge processes are being carried out to improve your website’s visibility.
An SEO package is also almost always unique, with the principles of white-hat SEO just underpinning the plan so that your goals can be met. SEO is one of the most effective forms of marketing because the intent is organic and customers, most of the time, are somewhat interested in purchasing from a business such as yours. An SEO package means you meet them halfway, usually on a search engine results page, and leverage all the high-quality traffic that comes from specific, relevant search terms.
Further, good rankings and visibility create trust, users click on organic search results because they understand that Google, Yahoo, or Bing have deemed that that business provides the best possible answer to the intent behind that query – be it question-based (e.g. ‘what’s the best type of cooker for my flat?’) or purchase based (e.g. ‘washing machine deals).
Average SEO costs are the way they are because the service provides your website with qualities that can only be achieved by carrying out real, authentic, somewhat difficult, work. This option will give you a technically proficient website that loads quickly, great, high-converting quality content, and authority which increases traffic. Combined, these three elements make up a marketing technique that gives you a contextually relevant, trustworthy website that will help you achieve your online objectives.
SEO Pricing Structures
There are three different ways that SEO can be costed up, all of which have their pros and cons and will depend on the type of services you’re after. The three main structures are:
1 Monthly SEO services
This is probably the most common type of pricing structure and is used by agencies such as Embryo. Essentially a business pays a reputable SEO agency a monthly retainer fee over a contracted time (6 months, 12 months etc). This model is the best long-term solution and allows agencies to develop and execute key strategies that take months to see the benefits. A monthly retainer gives all parties the space to breathe, and dive into the online makeup of competitive industries to come out on top in the long run.
2 Project-based SEO
A pricing model often used by cheap SEO services that claim to offer quick wins over a few weeks or months. The problem with paying per project is that there is a small time limit for success and therefore businesses have to carry out black hat SEO techniques (such as link spam or mass-producing AI content) that can severely punish a site in the long run. Attaining positions for quality keywords – the kind that will make you money – won’t happen in a short period, there are simply too many competitors for that to happen.
3 The hourly model
Typically used by consultants, the model charges companies per hour. And, if you have a team of marketers ready and waiting to implement their recommendations then this type of pricing may well work for you. However, if you did have in-house experts, why would you pay for a consultant? By working with an SEO agency and avoiding hourly rates you get to avoid hiring marketers and instead work with experts who act as your consultant and an extension of your business.
SEO by Embryo
In a world where AI, machine learning, and increased online competitiveness dominate the landscape, it’s easy to fall for a business that promises the world and says it can deliver in one month or six weeks. But the fact is, SEO is, and will always be, a process that takes time, effort, and consistent optimisation.
You only have to look at Google’s Helpful Content Update and E-E-A-T (Experience, expertise, authority and trust) as proof that it is prioritising real, authentic work.
Cheap tricks and black hat techniques might see you succeed for a short while but you’re only ever just one Google update away from losing that organic search traffic and those top-ranking positions.
Here at Embryo, we only create rich, value-led SEO campaigns that provide your business with scalable, long-term results, as well as that early uptake in performance. We do take the longer route and do work harder because we know it’s what Google, search engines, and customers want to see. Having a search engine trust your website is the hardest thing to get right, but when you do, you can expect long-lasting results.