SEO: Useful for companies despite high costs?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is becoming increasingly important, but is it really worth the cost?

SEO is becoming more and more important for companies. The website becomes a central component for the success of any business. However, when it comes to the cost of SEO, you also have to be clear about what you want to achieve. Because SEO ensures long-term success.

To be found well with Google is for entrepreneurs nowadays almost a must. But the competition is strong and professional search engine optimization is supposedly expensive. So is the trip to a professional SEO service provider still worthwhile or are there viable alternatives? We take a look at the actual costs of SEO measures and their efficiency.

No website visitors, no customers

The times when the majority of people search for companies in yellow pages made of still genuine cardboard and paper are over. The Internet has long since gained the upper hand in the search for the right service provider or product. So if a company can’t show an Internet presence these days, it has already lost in a digital world.

Above all Google is considered the most important traffic supplier of all. But competition on the Internet is now very strong – and rankings on the first results page of the search engine are rare. But a homepage that cannot be found is like a book that nobody buys: It becomes a flop. Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is considered the solution to this problem.

SEO: Selbst machen oder Profi beauftragen?

If a company wants to reach its customers online, know-how in the field of search engine optimization is indispensable. However, the complexity of SEO has increased dramatically over the last 10 years: While it used to be relatively easy to manipulate search results in favor of your own website, manipulation is only possible to a limited extent nowadays. Instead, technology and content of the site must be perfectly aligned with the user in order to land on the first page of Google with the desired search terms.

Due to the increased demands on search engine optimization, a layman can only rarely perform SEO independently. If you still want to try it, we recommend a look at Google’s “Introduction to Search Engine Optimization“. Google’s manual describes the most important points around SEO, so that at least the basic measures in website creation can be implemented like SSL and much more.

However, if you consider the Internet to be your main sales channel, it is indeed advisable to hire a professional for this work. Often the classic web designers who take care of the implementation of websites also offer complementary SEO measures. In this case, onpage measures, i.e. technical adjustments within your own website, are usually carried out more or less successfully. However, if you would like to develop a holistic SEO strategy, you will usually not be able to avoid service providers specialized in search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization can cost this much

When looking for a competent agency, you will probably sometimes be put off when your chosen SEO specialist provides you with an estimate for the optimization of your website: Search engine optimization seems very cost-intensive at first sight.

The costs for search engine optimization can often be divided into two different areas:

  • One-time analysis costs
  • Ongoing care costs

The one-off analysis costs are incurred for services that serve to determine the status quo of your website. After all, this is the basis for the definition of further SEO measures that are to be implemented in the future to improve Google rankings.

The ongoing support costs, in turn, serve to implement precisely those measures that were defined in the analysis. These include, for example:

  • Onpage optimization
  • Content creation
  • Link building

But now butter up the fish – what is the fun actually supposed to cost? Basically, the cost calculation is very different, since many factors play a role here. For example, do you hire a freelancer or a large SEO agency? Do you want to rank for one or 10 different keywords? And above all: How strong is the competition?

The one-time costs for the SEO analysis can therefore be in the range of between 1,000 and approx. 3,000 USD, depending on the scope of the analysis. The expenses for the ongoing support, on the other hand, are very variable: Small companies with a small budget and manageable goals can make a difference from as little as 500 USD per month, whereas large companies can quickly reach 5,000 USD per month or more. The duration of such SEO campaigns should be at least 6 to 12 months.

Why SEO pays off despite high costs

Such sums naturally deter small companies in particular for the time being, especially if the SEO agency does not offer any concrete prospect of success for the future. But rightly so?

In order to be able to evaluate the efficiency of a measure correctly at all, the marketing costs should of course always be compared with the achieved results or at least with similar marketing measures. Here is a calculation example:

SEO one-time costs: 2.000 USD
Running costs: 1.500 USD for 6 months
Total cost: 11.000 USD

The measures lead to a significant ranking improvement of 3 important keywords, so that a monthly traffic increase of about 1,000 visitors could be achieved. With an exemplary conversion rate of 1% in the corresponding online store, this would correspond to 10 new customers per month – in the year 120 new customers. If the average shopping basket is 200 USD, an additional 24,000 USD in sales would be generated in the first year through search engine optimization alone.

If one now compares the cost structure with that of Google AdWords, i.e. the paid advertising of the search engine giant, the following picture emerges:

Costs per click: 1 USD
Costs for 12,000 visitors: 12.000 USD

If one were to place Google AdWords ads instead of the SEO measures, the costs would be higher than those of search engine optimization after only one year. Even if these are hypothetical numbers: In the long term, the cost difference would be much greater, since SEO costs would tend to fall, whereas AdWords would remain at the same high level throughout.


Even if the costs of search engine optimization may unsettle one or the other entrepreneur at the beginning – if you are sustainably active in business, you should trust a serious SEO agency despite a certain residual risk. After all, ultimately the website visitor also benefits from good search engine optimization: with a clear Internet presence and great content.

Alexander Walz beschäftigt sich tagtäglich mit Themen rund um die Suchmaschinenoptimierung und betreibt mit das größte Vergleichsportal der SEO-Branche.

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