One question that I often get asked by business owners looking to build their online presence and start an SEO campaign is how much should they expect to spend.

The general answer to this question is one that most business owners hate, which is “it depends”.

Although this answer is dreadful for most since it’s not really an answer there is a reason to it.

SEO is not a guaranteed strategy to generate leads. Like all marketing SEO is a risk and some industries require heavy investment to see any results at all. Other industries are simply not suitable for SEO at all!

So before answering your question regarding the cost of SEO, first you need to see if it’s suitable for your business. I have seen business owners literally spend thousands of dollars on an SEO campaign and get to the first page for many keywords only to realize these keywords have almost no search volume or are being searched by a completely different audience than they wanted to target.

How do you know if SEO will work for you?

One of the easiest ways to get a quick idea of how well SEO will work for your industry is to check the monthly search volume for key search terms that your target market might be using.

You can see how many people are searching for specific keywords using tools like KWFinder by Mangools, although that is a paid tool. If you are looking for a free alternative you can try Uber Suggest although I don’t have much experience with this tool and heard the results can be inconsistent.

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Alternatively you can contact an SEO expert such as me to help you see how viable your industry is for SEO.

Generally the search volume you want to see for you industry depends on how much money each customer brings to your business. If you see a search volume of 20/month that does not mean you should expect 20 clients each month. If you are in the first position for that keyword you can expect closer to 1-2 clients/month if it is heavily specific/targeted but this depends heavily on your landing page, website, industry and much more. Many keywords will bring you zero clients even if they have high search volume. If you do not have much experience with SEO I highly recommend you hire an expert to help you determine if SEO can help your business.

Most SEO experts will be incentived to tell you that SEO will help you so you purchase their services so keep this in mind when talking with them and don’t be afraid to ask for stats such as search volume and potential keywords to target.

So how much should you expect to pay?

It can be hard to determine the price because it so heavily depends on your industry and competition but I will provide a general idea for SEO prices in Toronto since that is the market I am most familiar with.

Most small businesses in Toronto will generally have an SEO budget of $1,000-$2,000/month it is common to see SEO specialists go down to $500/month or up to $5,000+/month depending on your industry and size.

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SEO is a service based industry so the more you pay generally the more time the agency will put into your website which means you will rank for more terms and rank higher for specific terms.

If you are in a highly competition industry with lots of competition and money in it such as law firms you should expect to pay more. Injury Lawyers can easily get into the 5 digits for their monthly retainer.

Keep in mind Toronto is a big city with a high population which means for most industries by default you will have high competition. On the flip side you will also have high search volume. Some industries that wouldn’t be able to get much results from SEO in small towns can get big results in Toronto due to the high population and high search volume.

I hope this article helped you get a better understanding on how much it costs to hire an expert to do your SEO work. If you still have questions or would like to speak with an expert don’t hesitate to contact me today.