One of the great things about leveraging SEO for e-commerce websites is that it’s easy to draw a direct line between initial investment and return on investment (ROI) in terms of actual dollars.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to SEO costs for e-commerce websites:
- Website architecture
- Current rankings and search visibility
- Number of products
- Duplicate content
- E-commerce platform - they all have challenges as it relates to SEO
- Product ownership - are you a manufacturer or distributor/reseller?
SEO prices you should ignore
To be blunt, any SEO company promising you ranking, back links and massive increases in traffic for really low investment is worth skipping right past. I realize there are hundreds of companies doing this, but the harsh reality is that a true SEO strategy and execution requires real work.
At a minimum, e-commerce SEO focused on revenue generation requires the following:
- Fresh product content
- On-page optimization
- Unique and detailed product descriptions
- Conversion optimization
- Website speed optimization
My advice? If you own or manage an e-commerce website and you are serious about it, don’t take the risk associated with cheap SEO companies. They can do more harm than good.
Realistic cost expectations for e-commerce SEO
The reality is that the effort needed and the costs involved can be dramatically different based on the type of e-commerce company you run. This being said, we’re going to talk about the following types of e-commerce businesses:
In order to give you a realistic ballpark cost, we are also going to make a few assumptions as it relates to the SEO company:
- True SEO, content and web development professionals are being used
- The SEO company is located in the United States
- The SEO company will implement their strategy not just provide the tactical recommendations
SEO Pricing for manufacturer owned e-commerce websites
As a manufacturer selling direct to the consumer, you have the advantage of being able to create deep, unique content about your product. This being said, you tend to have high margins and a small competition set. That is, unless you are competing in a mass market with dozens of other manufacturers. Product sets in this scenario are usually less than 100.
In cases that fit this scenario a reasonable SEO budget that includes all on-page SEO efforts including content, conversion optimization and on-page optimization would be $25,000 - $60,000 annually. This range allows room for size and scale of the company as well as varying levels of competition.
SEO Pricing for B2B e-commerce websites
B2B e-commerce websites tend to be large, robust sites with relatively low competition. The driver for that is that they are commonly built to sell maintenance and service parts for manufactured equipment, or consumables that are aligned with particular industries. Of course, these are not absolute rules but these are the contexts in which we have seen a high degree of success for B2B companies leveraging e-commerce.
In cases like this, due to the large scale and the technical nature of the products being sold, SEO requires true professionals to learn and understand the audience for whom they will be writing. That said SEO strategies for these kinds of sites should fall in the range of $30,000 - $80,000 annually.
I realize these numbers sound high to companies who have not leveraged SEO in the past. If that’s you, I simply urge you to consider the potential ROI. More often than not, these are high dollar sales with decent margins. An SEO strategy that costs $50,000.00 per year can return that in profits very easily.
SEO Pricing for B2C e-commerce websites
This category will have a very wide range in order to accommodate everything from small, niche e-commerce websites to large scale sites with thousands of products.
I’m not going to try and cover the extremely large websites in this post. Those numbers can get out of hand just because of the vast effort needed and the opportunity it represents.
Generally, we will be talking about B2C e-commerce sites with $500,000 to $10,000,000 in annual revenue.
Small e-commerce websites
If e-commerce sites are truly in a tight night, keeping in mind that every business owner believes they are, SEO pricing could be as low as $15,000 - $30,000 annually.
The decision really becomes one of risk tolerance and commitment to getting started. That should be made partially by business experience and partially influenced by data. A good SEO company will be able to help you evaluate the stiffness of the competition and the scale of the opportunity.
Medium to large e-commerce websites
Medium to large e-commerce websites generally require more funding as they are against many competitors and in most cases selling the same exact products as those competitors.
In these situations, standing out can be difficult and SEO will require more product content to be written, preferably using unique images and video. All of this alongside great educational content so potential customers have a reason to trust your brand.
All that said, SEO for medium to large B2B e-commerce websites is going to require a budget between $25,000 and $100,000 annually. That’s a wide range, I know, but the reality is that the size and scale of these types of e-commerce sites can be quite different.
If you are established, have a good website and good conversion rates, it’s much easier to justify a significant SEO budget because it’s a reasonable assumption that higher volumes of targeted traffic (which SEO naturally brings you) will lead to more sales.
A final reminder
I don’t envy decision makers who have to wade the world of SEO without direct experience. If that person is you, I suggest you base your investment on the expected return on investment and the stage of business your e-commerce website is in.
There are so many different approaches, opinions and price points for SEO services that it can be overwhelming. Take the time to get to know the human beings that will be doing your SEO work. At the end of the day good SEO is about connecting to people, not algorithms. Google isn’t going to buy your products, people are. You might as well know and the trust the people you are hiring to help you do that.
Ready to kick your SEO strategy into high gear? Contact us to get started.