Budget is one of the biggest considerations in an SEO campaign. No matter how much traffic you gain, how many new leads you close, and how much total money your strategy makes you, none of that matters if your inbound revenue is still less than what you’re spending on a campaign.
That being said, a greater SEO budget, if spent wisely, generally leads to greater results. So how can you tell whether it’s time to increase your own SEO budget? These seven questions can help you figure that out:
Here, the key word “positive” can be taken to mean a few different things. Have you seen forward momentum in your keyword rankings since the start of your campaign? Have you seen an increase in organic traffic? An SEO campaign doesn’t need a big budget to start things off—you should be able to see some momentum even with a small budget and a reasonable understanding of the basics. If you’ve achieved that, you can consider moving on (even if your recent months have been volatile or stagnant). If you haven’t achieved that, focus on that foundation before you try to ramp up your spending.
If you’ve seen several weeks and months of consistent growth in terms of rankings and traffic, only to find a level of stagnation across the most recent few months, it means you’ve hit a plateau. You aren’t sliding backward, but you aren’t moving forward, and your budget could be the factor to blame. The fact that you aren’t losing ground means you aren’t doing anything explicitly “wrong,” and the fact that you aren’t gaining momentum means you aren’t doing enough to take your campaign to the next level. At this juncture, increasing your budget is almost always a wise decision.
Take a look at all the free resources you’re currently using and determine if there are any you aren’t. For example, are you syndicating your content across as many social media channels as possible? Are you submitting your content to enough external blogs? Are you leveraging the power of user-submitted content? All these things are free and can help boost your campaign. Before you look to increasing your budget, you should consider giving them a try. You might find yourself able to sustain a campaign with even a limited budget this way.
This question is more subjective than the ones I posed above. It has everything to do with how you feel about your role in your current SEO campaign. Do you find yourself spending all your time on SEO, even though you have other responsibilities in your company? Are you working nights and weekends to keep up with the workload your SEO strategy demands? If so, you probably aren’t operating efficiently, and the best course of action is to increase your budget and put that money toward an assistant, a freelancer, or an agency who can help you out—especially if you’re seeing good results so far.
When you take a high-level look at your current strategy, are you satisfied with its implementation? For example, what kinds of topics are you posting about? What channels are you using the most? If you aren’t targeting the audience you want to target or you aren’t leveraging the channels you want to leverage, the solution isn’t to throw more money at the campaign. Your first job has to be to fix the campaign as it exist today. Think of it this way; if your house was built on a shaky foundation, would your first goal be to remodel the bathroom?
Just increasing your budget isn’t enough. You have to know where your campaign would (and will) expand once that money comes in. For example, do you see an opportunity in posting twice as often as you currently do? Do you see an advantage in producing more videos or infographics? If you have a handful of new directions or strategies in mind, that’s a good indication that you’re ready to increase your budget. Otherwise, you might be increasing your spend for its own sake.
If you were to increase your budget, think about how you would actually spend it. Would you hire someone new to shoulder a new branch of responsibilities? Would you bring in a freelancer to help you handle the overflow work? Would you contract with an agency for a single core competency that you happen to lack? Or would you use the money to find new, high-profile publishing opportunities? Before you start funneling more money into your campaign, develop a loose plan for how you’re going to spend it.
If you can answer these questions confidently, it’s a good indication that you know where you stand in terms of your current SEO strategy and budget. With that knowledge, if you feel like greater spending is the solution to getting more traffic and leads, then you should definitely increase your budget. As a general rule, you should never increase your budget if you don’t know what you’re doing (unless you’re using that money to consult an expert). Otherwise, any budgetary moves are fair game.