The internet is more than an information highway. It is now a marketing and sales field where large and small companies are competing for the attention of billions of users worldwide. The main strategy for many companies on the web has been to use search engine optimization (SEO) so they can have high visibility, improve web traffic and appear at the top of search engine listings.
However, SEO rates vary, and not every SEO company that offers affordable search engine optimization rates could give you the kind of service you expect or want to achieve. The average monthly retainer fee for SEO services ranges from $500 to $10,000 or more, which for some small businesses can be too much. Is there a way you could receive excellent SEO without spending too much? The answer is yes!
What Is SEO?
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of increasing a website’s traffic either through organic, free, or natural results on search engine queries. It uses keywords to improve a website’s ranking. And the more accurate the keyword use and placement on the website, the higher the website’s ranking. A higher ranking means the website appears at the top of search results. Why is this a great thing? Statistics show that 90 percent of traffic goes to the first page of the search results, and 33 percent of traffic goes to the top-ranked website. If you want to be relevant and visible, you have to be up there in the rankings, it’s as simple as that.
Linking to other sites that are related to your industry, niche, or field of study also works towards improving the trustworthiness and authority of your website. Linking will also improve your ranking in search engines, as your information would be considered accurate and trustworthy.
The Advantages of SEO
SEO is relevant and vital for any company which is pursuing growth, visibility, and relevancy in a dynamic business environment- no matter its size or volume of business. The main advantages SEO offers are listed below.
Increases Website Traffic
Organic visibility can increase website traffic, which is one of the main reasons SEO is valuable to companies in any industry or domain. An effective SEO strategy will focus and rely on keywords that the target audience will use to look for services or products that a company could offer. The right combination will improve your website’s ranking as more people visit your site. These visits will become leads that could eventually result in conversions and revenue.
A site that ranks high is generally considered trustworthy and of high quality by search engines, and this boosts the credibility of the site and business. It is therefore important to spend some time and effort on improving or adding to your website content, increasing website loading speed, and enhancing platform mobility and usability- all of which will help in ranking your site higher.
The right SEO strategy and keyword use could improve a website’s visibility. This means that your users will easily find you when they use certain keywords related to your website. Once you are visible, your target audience is now aware of your web presence, and could easily consider your services.
24/7 Service & Product Promotion
A website that has an effective SEO strategy will serve as a company’s continuous promotion, without the need for an active advertising campaign for its services or products. Anyone can visit the website once they enter a search engine query using the keywords, and if a company’s ranking is high enough, then it will be the only site they visit.
Improves a Company’s ROI
A company’s return on investment (ROI) can significantly increase when they have an effective SEO strategy. In one study, SEO’s contribution to revenue share reached 44.6%, significantly higher than any other channel. Since increased visitors to a website can increase leads, your sales team simply needs to follow up on these leads and convert them to sales. Search engine marketing leads also offer a higher closing rate than traditional marketing, and as long as you receive a first-page ranking, your site is more likely to receive more leads and higher ROIs.
Improves User Experience
Optimizing a website can do wonders to improve user experience, and search engines know how to interpret and incorporate positive user experiences into their ranking. User experience is now a vital component of a website’s success in impressing targets and ranking in search engines.
Any website that gives visitors the information they need or provides a summary of the services they are offering will be seen as providing a positive user experience. Loading times will also matter, as visitors will often leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load.
Reaches Your Target Audience
An effective SEO strategy will help a company or organization reach its target audience. Through the use of keywords and combining them in ways that make them unique and precise to their target markets, SEO helps your target audience find your business easily.
SEO fits in perfectly with a long-term business strategy. Although website design and content trends will continue evolving, SEO can easily be adjusted to fit current trends and mediums. Be it social media or pay-per-click advertising, SEO can be part of the company’s overall marketing strategy to efficiently reach and communicate with its target audience.
SEO on a Budget
Given all these benefits, it is understandable why SEO could be expensive, especially for smaller businesses that may not necessarily have the personnel or equipment to handle the large volumes of leads or sales that it promises.
But SEO doesn’t have to cost you buckets of money. There are ways you can cut costs and improve your website traffic. If you can’t afford professional SEO services for now, here are five ways you can improve your SEO, without spending too much.
Publish High-Quality Long-Form Content
Content is the most important thing when it comes to SEO and optimizing a website. Articles, blog posts, and other website content should go beyond the 500-word mark to ensure you have the keyword density you need to rank higher in search engine queries.
Your long-form articles should reach at least the 2,000-word mark because the average length of content that reaches the number one spot organically has approximately 2,416 words.
Users also want to find more helpful and insightful information in long-form content, so providing in-depth and detailed information which answers the questions of your target audience, will improve your website’s SEO.
Write for People
The increasing use of artificial intelligence in almost all tasks has made it seem acceptable for companies to use articles created by AI software. However, search engines value content that is humane, engaging, interesting, and provides information that answers people’s queries about certain topics. Search engines such as Google do not only value keywords, but also look at how those keywords are used in context and the overall information presented within the article.
Write articles that would genuinely respond and provide answers to human queries, and you will reach a higher position in the search engines.
Improve On-Page SEO
Part of optimizing a website is improving on-page SEO. On-page SEO is improving individual pages of your website such as the content and source coding so they could rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
It might seem complicated at first, but you only need to review four elements on each page to optimize it:
- Keyword frequency
When optimizing a title, you should include the target keyword and use a maximum of 70 characters.
For meta-descriptions, give a relevant and interesting description of the page so that it works like a tidbit when it appears in search results- enticing users to visit your site, wanting to know more.
You need to have user-friendly URLs that are short and easy to read. The primary keyword should be included so that readers, as well as the search engine, can easily recognize what the main content is all about.
Keyword density may not matter much, but search engines will check how many times you use a keyword on your page and see how many times you use it in a post.
Improve Internal Linking
Internal linking is when you add a link on your page to another page on your site. Doing this can attract users and search engines to that particular page and give them more reason to navigate your website. They will explore more of your pages and decrease the bounce rate, or the number of people who leave your site.
Once you add more internal links, search engines like Google can index pages more accurately and improve your ranking through other keywords found in those internally linked pages.
Use a Responsive, User-Friendly Design
Accessibility and flexibility are now the hallmarks of user-friendly design. This means the more accessible your website is on other platforms such as mobile devices, gadgets, and PCs, the more your website will be considered useful by users.
The website should also have a high responsiveness rate with fast page loading speeds. The images and content should automatically adjust and optimize for the platform and layout being used, giving users a great experience across all devices and platforms. One Google survey found that 76% of people use their phones to search for something online, which they subsequently visit. Of these visits, 28% result in a purchase.
Improve Site Speed
The faster a website’s loading speed, the higher Google ranks it in its site speed ranking signal. Users value time and the quicker your page loads the more you are improving users’ experience. Visitors will welcome the quick switch to a page they are looking for and the speed at which information is presented.
The slower the page loads, the fewer time users will spend there. Once a page takes more than three seconds to load, a user will jump to the next site.
Other Options for Finding Affordable SEO
All of the above is great if you have time to work on your SEO. But what if you don’t have the time you need to invest in doing your own SEO? Or you are not confident to build up an SEO strategy that would be effective and produce the results you want?
In such situations, one option would be to hire an SEO company such as ELK Marketing to focus on the key area that you think you are weakest. It could be on-page SEO, internal linking, or improving the navigational speed of your site; but focusing only on one area could lessen the rates you would need to pay for SEO services.
But before you look for affordable search engine optimization marketing services or agencies that would get you cheap SEO rates, do the following things to understand your weakest area and what is needed to improve that aspect.
Understand How Your Target Market Uses Keywords
Understanding how your target audience uses keywords and applying them accordingly to your content will improve your ranking organically and naturally. Google looks at click volume and the length of time visitors spend on your website, so work towards content that keeps them engaged and offers opportunities to keep them coming back to your site.
You should also ask yourself what your potential target market wants to find in your website, related to that keyword. This has to be the first thing to address when creating your content. You need to offer all the information to the target audience, in detail, and in-depth. Let your audience see that you are an authority on the subject matter and that you can answer any questions they may have. Be the fountain of knowledge they come back to again and again.
Knowing your target market’s needs is only the first part of understanding them. You can drive more visitors to your site by creating personas that serve as the model of your ideal client or buyer. You can create several personas to address the different kinds or types of services or products you offer, thus aligning your SEO strategy to suit the ideal model of your target audience.
Value User Experience
User experience (UX) is what users go through when visiting your website, and it involves website design, navigation, loading times, and helpful content. If the navigation is clear, not confusing, and offers quick loading images and pages, the users will cite it as a positive experience. If you provide information that is relevant and useful to the keywords and their industry, then user experience becomes a vital tool in your company’s ranking.
Study Your Competitors
Identify your direct competitors and see which keywords they are ranking for. Know which similar keywords work better for you and which keywords they do not use. Capitalize on these so you could build your own following or niche in that particular topic.
Remove Duplicate Content
If you use content that is copied or is a duplicate of another page, Google will penalize your website by dropping it in the rankings. Google suppresses duplicate content because it considers them non-valuable and unoriginal. If you want to use content from another site, it’s better to cite them through a link within the content or use a 301 redirect to go to the original content.
Share & Distribute Your Page or Site
Share and distribute your content to other sites especially if you create white papers, guides, resources, and blog posts that present original and useful information. This establishes your brand and business as a thought leader, and an expert, and serves to increase brand awareness and trust. When third-party sites share your content it is considered earned distribution.
Explore Affordable SEO Services
Once you have considered all these and have identified the areas that you might need help with, you could choose which SEO services work for you. Focus on other areas while you let the professionals such as ELK Marketing do their work. These affordable search engine optimization services are great for startups and small businesses.
On-Page SEO Services
You can optimize your web pages so Google could rank your site according to its algorithm. This includes your page title, metadata, description, image names, and URL.
Link Building Services
Work with an SEO company that provides high-quality link-building strategies. Using private blog network (PBN) links, joining link farms, and commenting on blog posts are now considered outdated and spammy strategies for building links, so choose an SEO company that uses genuine blogger outreach to link back to your site.
Technical SEO Services
If it is the technical part of SEO that confuses you, you could hire a search engine optimization company to focus on technicalities such as the crawlability and indexability of your website.
Crawlability is how much search engines could access or “crawl” through the content of your site, letting Google’s web crawlers check the content and follow the links from one page to the next link.
Indexability refers to a web page’s ability to be included or indexed by a search engine. Only websites that can be indexed will appear in search results, so your URL and your content should be downloadable, crawled through, and discoverable.
Technical SEO also includes page loading speeds, navigation, and site mapping improvements.
Local SEO is particularly beneficial for businesses that serve specific geographical locations. Using local search engine optimization strategies helps such businesses appear on ‘local’ listings.
Your website should be listed on Google My Business and directory listings so it can appear in the list of places where certain products or services could be obtained when your target market uses a keyword related to your website.
When it comes to digital marketing, content is king. Websites need to have original and interesting content that will engage their target audience. Any website should have content that satisfies user intent such that they would be satisfied with the information on a website.
One way you could do this is to work on the content that fits the local custom and culture of your target audience. Content that reflects the thoughts, ideas, and needs of your target audience will receive more engagement.
Hiring a content creation team will also ensure that your blogs and posts will be regular, which means that search engines will rank you higher for the content you regularly produce.
Finding the Best but Affordable SEO Agency
Even after identifying the area in which you need professional help, you might still be at a loss as to which search engine optimization agency could offer you the best but most affordable SEO service options.
Here are some ways to review an SEO company’s service record and know how much they could help your small business or startup with affordable SEO packages.
Many SEO agencies boast of how their strategy could put you right at the top of search engine results, but if you want to check their credibility, ask for studies or white papers on their specific niche. This will show if their work backs up their claims.
Read Their Blog
Any website that claims it can produce content that is original and interesting needs to have a robust blog section. The blog needs to be regularly updated, presenting new and interesting information to its clients and website visitors. An active blog is a good indication of content creators who have a strategic plan for creating content for their clients.
Check Online Reviews
These days, online reviews are the best way to gauge the services and products of a company. Whether it’s a restaurant or an SEO agency, clients who are satisfied (or unsatisfied) will flock to the online review section to give their comments. Check for the highest and lowest reviews so you could see what are the pros and cons of the SEO agency.
Ask About Their SEO Tools
Digital search engine optimization tools are the best equipment an SEO agency could have to audit, analyze and optimize a website. You could ask for a quick analysis test of your website to assess how they work and which tools are used to check for web traffic, lead generation, crawlability, and any other data. This will help you understand their capabilities.
Check the Quality of Their Content
Always ask for samples of previous work or services for other companies, especially when it comes to their content. Ask for website samples, long-form articles, and even blog posts for other campaigns that produced similar results you would want for your small business.
Consider Free & Affordable SEO Tools You Can Use
Once you find an SEO agency that can help you in one area, you could consider using free and affordable search engine optimization tools available for managing your other SEO needs. However, make sure that your strategy and the strategy of the SEO agency hired to share the same keywords and goals.
Here are some of the most affordable SEO services and free tools you could use for a cheap SEO strategy.
This is a free tool that could help you analyze how your website is doing in search engine rankings, clicks, conversions, signups, and downloads. It can even track emails sent directly to your website.
If you want to know how fast your website loads, then Google Pagespeed can help you see how fast each page loads on every platform, whether it is a desktop, mobile phone, or tablet.
Google Keyword Planner
If you want to advertise your website and sign up for Google Ads, you could access Google’s Keyword Planner which can help you discover terms or keywords that are highly searched and would be easier to rank.
This tool will also suggest keywords based on your current list of keywords, giving you the options of several keyword combinations that could improve your website ranking.
Google Search Console
This tool can help you measure website traffic and performance. You can also find and fix issues on your page which are affecting its performance on search results. Though not strictly an SEO tool, the Search Console can help you improve your website’s performance on SERPs.
This is software that covers all steps in your SEO campaign. Though there is a paid version, the free version is still a good SEO tool that small businesses can employ for all kinds of SEO services.
More Affordable SEO Tools & Agencies Await You
These are only a few ways to incorporate affordable search engine optimization strategies into your business. Stay open to the possibilities that SEO can offer to your business and focus on the areas that you could work on for now. You could soon be successful enough to afford the most expensive of SEO service providers, but in reality, SEO is an art anyone can work towards mastering with some key, affordable strategies.
Contact us at ELK Marketing today to see how we can help grow your business organically.