How to budget for SEO in Malta in 2018 – A guide to calculating SEO costs.
So how do you budget for SEO services in Malta?
According to Internet Live stats Google averages over 69,000 searches per SECOND.
With billions of people searching on Google every single day – you know that your business in Malta can’t afford to miss out on such a huge number of potential visitors to your site.
Why top ranking is important.
You have a website, you’re online. Now here comes the tricky part – so are your competitors – and they are ranking higher than you are.
A recent article on Forbes explains that the further back you’re listing appears on Google, the less likely you are to receive clicks.
Back in 2014 Moz confirmed that the first page of Google’s results captured 71% of all traffic links. Today that’s reported to have increased up to a huge 92%. What it means is that second page results only count for about 8% of links and less.
And don’t include ads or searches into that either. Firstly, banner-blindness really is a thing, and secondly only a measly 15% of users ever bother to click on ads.
Wait for it. You can break it down even further.
Let’s look at the first 10 results on the first page. The top 5 get 67.7% of clicks – whereas the bottom 5 results – they only get 3.73%.
By this point you know you need get your business to rank high to start seeing some results.
But then there’s that ever-elusive question…
A question that hounds CEOs, CMOs and business owners across all types of industries.
What portion of your annual budget needs to be dedicated to SEO in Malta?
Here’s the deal.
If you’re reading this and expecting a simple figure – I’m sorry to disappoint you. There isn’t a one size fits all answer.
It’s entirely dependent on the objectives that you have for your campaign or website, which influence the requirements, and therefore how much money to inject into SEO.
Let’s try this another way.
Have a look at where your competitors rank and then compare that to your own site’s position.
You might be happy and simply want to retain that position or you might be on a mission to rise-up the ranks and to do so quickly. In either case, it’s those two goals which greatly influence the overall spend you need to allocate.
So how much is that exactly?
First let’s manage a few expectations.
What is every other small to medium sized business spending on SEO in Malta?
Based on my contacts within the SEO field and from the requests I receive from companies looking for SEO services in Malta, most businesses think that a budget anywhere around €50 to €100 a month is enough.
And that’s only from those that even think of working SEO into their annual figures.
So, either they think SEO costs nothing and don’t need any budget for it. Or they think that anything over €100 budgeted towards SEO is too much.
This is an exact replica of what 71% of small businesses in America think as well. Putting aside a spend of less than $100 a month for SEO.
There’s a sort of strange assumption that their website will come out on top, even though they are not putting anything into it to make it happen.
The false promises, we just love to believe.
Fact is, small to medium sized business owners in Malta just don’t have the time to figure out how SEO works.
And even if they conduct a quick google search on ‘average costs for SEO’ and perhaps download a guide or two – next thing they know they’re being spammed with emails about SEO ‘miracle offers’.
‘Spend just €50 a month and watch your website get to the top’.
Sounds too good to be true right? Well – that’s because it is.
If only the universe worked that simply. Or that cheaply for that matter.
Let’s take a deeper look into the mind of the business owner.
Say this person considers an investment in SEO in Malta the equivalent of ordering a taxi for their company. I’m here (point G) and I want to get here (point A).
Why take a super-fast deluxe SUV with all the extras, when a smaller sedan, at a lower price, promises to do the same thing?
And SEO spammers know the demand. Offering SEO in Malta at a price that good, well it’s kind of hard to resist.
But please do.
Cheap SEO is more dangerous in the long run. (And possibly more expensive too).
Damage from poorly conducted and obtained SEO goes deep.
Here are a few of the worst culprits the SEO vultures like to use:
Duplicate content – if search engines already indexed your page, they won’t index another page with the same information.
Keyword stuffing – Let’s give you an example of this. ‘It’s important to correctly budget your SEO in Malta, because through budgeting for your SEO in Malta, you’ll know that your SEO in Malta will improve.’
- You can’t read it. 2. Google bots will think you’re trying to trick their algorithm. (Which you are.)
Link schemes – This is a total violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. In summary they place external links through PBNs (private blog networks) without ever explaining how Google could come down hard and black list your site by doing this.
Black-hat SEO tactics could mean you end up with Google penalties, in turn effectively wiping out your sites visibility.
Can you imagine the cost of starting all over again?
Keep your focus
According to Google there are 200 ranking factors in their algorithms that influence your sites position on their search engine. It’s likely that there are many more.
Trying to ensure you tick all the boxes is exhausting.
Keep your focus down to four main areas.
- Make sure your site is designed for your target audiences.
The key is here is attractive design, functional and easy to use navigation and features that really help your audiences find what they are looking for as quickly as possible.
Design thinking of the people who are accessing your site and how they would want to interact with it. Don’t design for yourself or your management team. Design for them and google will reward you for it.
If you’re concerned about design mistakes, check out this earlier post where we cover 10 of the most common design mistakes.
- Make sure your site has great content architecture.
Let’s break this down into bite-size pieces. Make sure your site:
- Loads cleanly and is fully optimised for different devices.
- Has a fast page load-speed. You can test yours here.
- Follows Google Webmasters Guidelines for SEO best practices.
- Is fully accessible (i.e. crawlable) for search engines.
- Good backlinks.
Natural is the name of the game when it comes to links. As opposed to paying someone to guest post on your site or using the big no-no’s via PBNs – natural, high quality links are the best way to optimise for SEO.
Have a quick look at these 5 effective strategies to get quality backlinks.
- Content is king.
Did you know that Google hires over 10,000 people to conduct search quality rates, essentially evaluating its search results? These guys and gals have to refer to guidelines that are around 200 pages long. If you have the time and you really want to nail your content, try and adhere to the best practices listed or talk to an SEO specialist.
Specifically, you should look at:
- Making sure your content is of the highest quality possible.
- That your content specifically answers search queries.
- That it is unique to your site and offers your readers value.
- That it can satisfy user intent.
If you’re still feeling a little confused have a look at what we define as the three pillars of successful SEO.
Eye on the ball, always.
Before you start thinking costs, put your mind onto the objectives. What goals you want to achieve from your activity and how you will measure success.
I like to follow SMART rules.
Here’s an example: ‘I want to increase organic traffic by 10% from October to December.’
S (Specific) – Don’t make your goals too vague. You want to increase traffic by 10% – it’s clear.
M (Measurable) – Make sure you can easily monitor your results. Stats via Google Analytics.
A (Actionable) – Don’t be too farfetched on your goals. It’s achievable.
R (Relevant) – Make sure your goal is in line with the activity your conducting. SEO activity.
T (Time-based) – Give the goal a timeframe so you can measure the difference within that time.
One of the most important metrics to measure is how your efforts have improved your business’ bottom line. A few outline goals that fall under that metric would be: looking for a specific percentage increase in your organic sessions, your conversions and how much your revenue has increased by.
There are loads of tools to help you monitor and measure the success of your SEO project.
And remember, be patient. Give your SEO time to work its magic.
And finally, we’re here – Budgeting for SEO in Malta.
(Quick hello to those of you that jumped right to the end of this blog! Don’t worry, we’ve all done it.)
Once you know your goals, you can determine your tools and strategy and, in turn, directly understand how to plot out your budget.
Truth be told the formula tends to be the same, especially if you centre on the four focus areas mentioned earlier – your site’s design, information architecture, content and backlink profile – all in relation to your competition.
Whilst the formula and process are the same, depending on your priorities (weakest area usually requiring the most investment of time), the volume is what tends to change.
The higher the budget, the more time spent on the focus areas, the faster the results.
The lower the budget, the less time is dedicated, the slower the process.
How much should you spend on SEO in Malta?
Some of the local firms offer trial-packages at low fees and without any contracts. So potential clients can test their services. This might be an option you want to consider.
If you’re trying to reach international audiences with a specific campaign and you’re competing against some large-scale players you’d easily be looking at around €2,500 to €5,000 a month.
Alternatively, you can turn to a company like ours where our recommendations usually start at around €300 to €500 a month.
There are alternatives – you might just want a one-time SEO audit of your site with a fixed cost that results in actionable recommendations. Fixing your site can mean you’ll see a lot more organic traffic.
SEO specialists also offer you one-time fees for content development and keyword analysis.
But we’re in Malta.
The argument has arisen from time to time that if your targeting a small audience like Malta, then the budget would be proportionately lower.
The facts are that competition, even for the Maltese market, has moved predominately online.
If a consumer knows your brand and wants your brand they’ll probably enter your company name and conduct a direct search – which is great.
But if they are unsure, or they have never heard of you, they are more likely to search for keywords like ‘best restaurant in Malta’ – which is where you want to be sure you come up on top. And that’s where elements like local SEO really kick in.
From Google My Business to location pages, to specific locally targeted content – optimised local SEO puts your brand on the search engine at exactly the point when your target market is searching. The benefits to increase hits and possible revenue are extensive. We’ll be talking about this in a separate blog soon.
On the other hand maybe, you’re targeting tourists who start their holiday searches well before they land in the country or even you’re considering expanding your product and services into the EU.
Again, it always comes down to your objectives and preparing your game plan to make it happen. Positioning yourself to be at the beginning of the race is always an advantage.
ROI Calculator – (Lifetime Value)
Do not look at a customer you obtain through online channels as a one-time client. Brands that are present online thrive on repeat business.
Have a look at the below cost calculator to work out some figures.
|New customers gained from SEO during the month||20|
|Average Net Profit on these products||€50|
|Total net profit (20 x €50)||€1000|
|Average repeat purchases from each of the same 20 customers||5|
|Total projected lifetime profit (5 x €1000)||€5000|
|Monthly SEO budget (expense)||€2500|
|Projected lifetime profits from new customers (€5000 / spend)||ROI – 200%|
Happy customers. Happy you.
Change the terminology.
Instead of asking how much SEO costs, or how much you should budget towards it – ask yourself how much you want to invest in SEO – because with a measurable ROI for SEO, the proof is there.
It’s not as immediate as a PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign, but it will yield far better results in the long run. And it will give your brand a stronger digital footprint.
Great SEO includes all elements of technical SEO, content development and marketing, as well as link building.
It will take time, but who doesn’t want to be first in anything they do?
Let us know if you’d like to get your business to the top of Google.