In a moment of inspiration, a great idea may come as enlightenment. And you cannot wait for those long audits and boring analysis. You need to know if it’s worth it at once, if your idea is subject to SEO and what it may cost you. There are a few must steps to be done and you may have a very rough analysis which nevertheless provides you with a glimpse on your perspective in the niche.
You’ll have to find out the following:
- How many pages you need and how long those pages have to be. What kind of content they should bear.
- How many links and what kind of links you need to have.
- Time you will need to reach the top.
- Other expenses that are not evident at first – for video, SMM, e-mails, other management systems that may be costly. Taxes and similar spendings will not be evaluated here.
Step 1 – First of all you’ll need to make a short semantics list.
For rough research purposes, I suggest taking top 10 to 50 most competitive and the highest frequency key phrases. You then parse Google for top 10 for each of the keywords. SemRush, SerpStat, MOZ have some tools for that if you want to make it manually. I prefer automation and use SeoLib for this task mostly. There are lots of other tools that you can use for that, probably.
Step 2 – Evaluate competition.
If you don’t see lots of great sites in the top, then congratulations, you don’t have much competition. In this case, you should logically group your keywords for different pages and count how many you’ve got. It’s called clustering and if done correctly, will save you lots of time and money in the future, but you are doing it roughly now, so an approximate number is quite enough.
If there is a competition, you should make a list of all of them and pick those that are ranking the most for your keywords. You’d have 5 to 10 companies after that. You then should visit their websites manually and just take a brief look to make an impression.
The numbers to write down:
- For how many keywords they are ranking, how many visitors they have and how much time those visitors spend on their websites;
- What digital channels these companies use and if they are successful in terms of traffic with those;
- How many pages your competitors have, including services or products and blog pages, how old the site is and how often it is updated;
- The number and quality of backlinks, including page links and domain links, dofollow and nofollow, images;
- Their formal technical measures: Domain Authority (DA), Trust Flow (TF), Citations Flow (CF).
Calculating Total SEO Cost
If there’s no competition in your niche, content will become your major expense (including text and images).
Competitive landing pages for leads generation cost around 500 USD.
Informative posts or pages usually cost 50 to 150 USD (this, however, depends greatly on the niche. Anyway, don’t be fooled by $5 article proposals on freelancers sites).
For SEO purposes, you need no less than 20 pages usually. At least 1 of those is going to be landing.
Total content = 500 X 1 + 50 X 19 = 1450 USD at the very least.
You have written down how many links your competitors have and the types of those. You should now take the average number of domains they have links from. You should also look if they spend a lot on the quality links or if those are directory listings or other citations that can be made free of charge (or for a small amount of money).
Citations and directory listings will cost you around 20 to 100 USD.
Guest posts will cost you the post been written and submitted – around 50 to 200 USD per post if you are going to hire a virtual assistant (VA) for that.
Sponsored posts cost varies a lot from 10 USD to as much as 500 USD + a fee for writing services + your VA’s time. Usually it makes 200 USD per article.
Creative submissions, roundups, news, press releases, infographics, influencers, reviews, etc – you’ll find that later, impossible to calculate roughly.
In the previous post, a rough estimation suggested that to be ranked more or less high in the topic associated with the keyword “wordpress maintenance service”, one will need links from 357 domains. Depending on the strategy (which implies link quality as well), and taken the approximate cost of 50 to 200 USD per link (including the content creation, submission, etc), it may mean the budget anywhere between 17850 USD to 71400 USD. 🙂
However, looking at some websites one can observe very few refferring domains: from 20 to 72. And these sites are also in the top. Thus, if everything else is done properly, a good and average package of 50 backlinks of different type and quality may cost you (minimum numbers are provided):
Total backlinks = 20 (20 citations) + 50 X 20 (20 guest posts) + 150 X 10 (10 sponsored posts) = 2520 USD at the very least.
How Long Will It Take? (White Hat Only)
Look again at the SERP for your keywords. If there are no new or fresh sites there, if all the websites in the top are more than 3-5 years old (or anything similar), if they are large, their content is enormous, they have a large social following, lots of backlinks, etc – it will, probably, take you no less than a year or even more to get to the top if ever. You should add your expenses for this period of time and / or look for another channel to attract clients or visitors. Your initial spending will be much greater of course as well.
In all other cases, you have good chances. In some niches, for long tail keywords you’d be able to get ranked in the first 1-3 months. But it’s better to expect for 6-9 months for a brand new website.
Total Expenses = Total Content + Total Backlinks + Additional Expenses (for SMM, videos, Adwords to test the keywords, website developing, etc).
You will have your number and if you are not going to make everything by yourself, it will be much more than those 3970 USD for content and basic backlinks. Yes, SEO is becoming pretty expensive!