How to Get the Most Out of an Affordable SEO Budget

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most vital marketing strategies, but it can also be the most time-consuming and complex. Part of the problem is the scope of optimization required to generate the results you want. When talking about organic SEO marketing, it can take months to see tangible results, which is much longer than most businesses would like.

Further complicating matters is the fact that the best way to supercharge your marketing campaign is to invest in Google Ads. The search engine now favors paid ads over organic search results, with top-tier keywords generating massive bidding wars for the top spots.

Thankfully, you don’t need a ton of money to get the most out of your SEO marketing. Even with a limited budget, you can get a decent ROI without waiting months or years to see results. Here is how to get the most out of an affordable SEO budget.

Step One: Prioritize Your Marketing Goals

One of the biggest problems most businesses face when developing their marketing strategy is that they don’t have specific goals attached to their efforts. For example, a brand may waste time and money on social media advertising and then get frustrated because its bottom line hasn’t improved much.

To avoid this issue and ensure your marketing budget stays as lean and efficient as possible, you must come up with specific and quantifiable goals beforehand. Examples of these goals can include:

  • Site Traffic – How many visitors are you getting daily, weekly, and monthly? To that end, which keywords or search queries are getting you the most traffic? Once you have a baseline established (i.e., 100 visitors per day from three separate keywords), you can determine a quantifiable goal. For example, maybe you want to build to 200 visitors per day from the same keywords or add another 50 daily visitors from a new keyword.
  • Product Sales – Overall, marketing is designed to move the needle and improve your company’s bottom line. So, the best way to measure the success of a campaign is to put it into dollars earned and spent. For this goal, you need to know how many products you’re selling within a specific timeframe (i.e., per month) and how many you’d like to sell in the future. You should also look at where most of your sales originate, such as in-store, social media links, or search results. Then you can determine where to invest your time and money.
  • Email Subscribers – Email marketing is still a viable option for businesses in the modern world. However, too many brands don’t know how to leverage email marketing to get more sales. While this goal isn’t about making more money, it does allow you to generate leads by getting new subscribers. So, the objective is to collect email addresses and to ensure that new leads confirm they want to receive your messages. From there, you can dial in on how to turn those leads into customers.

As you’ll notice, each of these marketing objectives requires intimate knowledge of your current stats. After all, how can you tell if you’re moving forward or improving if you don’t know where you’re at? A substantial part of this first step is building a foundation so you can determine whether your SEO marketing tactics are working or not. Otherwise, you’ll waste money on methods that don’t work for your business.

Step Two: Develop a Comprehensive SEO Strategy

Since you’re working on a reduced budget, you don’t want to waste time and resources figuring out what you will do as you do it. Instead, creating a roadmap and then following it is better. While you might have to make slight adjustments, consistency and perseverance will generate better results than trying several methods and seeing what sticks.

When it comes to a comprehensive SEO strategy, you might have to include these elements:

Keyword Research

Before you can do anything else related to SEO, you must know which keywords are the most valuable for your brand. Otherwise, you’ll optimize for words and phrases that won’t generate much traffic or leads. Here are some tips on how to discover the best keywords:

  • Be Specific – Broad keywords will have tons of competition, meaning you need to spend more to rank higher. Instead, it’s much better to be more specific and target a unique persona or demographic. For example, instead of trying to rank for “legal services,” it’s better to rank for something like “affordable family separation legal services.” This way, users searching for this keyword are more likely to click your link.
  • Focus on Conversion, Not Numbers – You may think a keyword is better because it generates more traffic. However, there’s no point in getting 10,000 more visitors if 98 percent bounce off and go to a different site. So, pay attention to keywords that allow you to convert leads more efficiently. This way, even if you only get 1,000 visitors, you have a higher chance of converting most of them.
  • Consider User Intent – What is their state of mind if someone is typing a keyword into a search engine? What are they hoping to find with their search results? Getting into the mindset of your target audience can help you deliver better landing pages that convert leads into customers and help move the needle.

SEO Auditing

Every aspect of your website and landing page needs to be optimized for you to rank highly for specific keywords. An SEO audit allows you to pinpoint sections of your site that need improvement. Fortunately, there are free auditing tools, so you can have a list ready to go as soon as you pull the trigger.

Also, remember that specific pages may need to be optimized for different keywords. For example, your home page will need to rank for more generic keywords, while a product page might be far more targeted and niche. So, you must be auditing for the right words so you’re not wasting time updating details that will ultimately hurt your ranking.

Optimized Content

SEO and content marketing go hand-in-hand, so you should have a list of content pieces you can generate on a budget. The simplest option is a blog, but you can create videos, infographics, images, e-books, and many more. Ideally, you can create content based on target keywords to ensure it will rank as high as possible once it gets published. Also, consider where and how you will promote new pieces via social media, email, or direct contact with new leads.

Step Three: Start With the Fundamentals

Once your SEO strategy is built, you can start with the basics and go from there. For example, you can begin by optimizing your site’s main pages (i.e., the home page, about us, contact us, product categories, etc.). If you’re unsure where to start, look at the pages that get the most traffic and work outward from there.

Another fundamental element to focus on is ensuring your asset library is as optimized as possible. For example, images should have keyword-centric alt text, and the filenames should incorporate keywords whenever possible. Also, keep the file size down, so pictures don’t slow your site’s load speed and cause more users to bounce.

Once you’ve optimized your current site, you can create an SEO process for adding new pages and content. This way, you can build momentum from content marketing without worrying that you’re hampering your rankings by publishing un-optimized pages. Everything from new blog posts to product listings to landing pages needs to be optimized moving forward, so having a checklist or other similar processes can eliminate errors.

Step Four: Utilize Free SEO Tools

Fortunately, because SEO is vital for digital marketing, you can find many free tools to help you implement your strategy. These tools often focus on a specific aspect of SEO marketing, such as:

  • Auditing – Scan your entire site or individual pages and learn what it will take to optimize them for your target keywords.
  • Keyword Research – Google offers free analytical tools to tell which keywords get the most traffic and whether they’re trending up or down.
  • Demographic Data – Learn more about your target audience, including their internet habits and previous searches.
  • Related Keywords – Tools like Answer the Public let you see what questions people ask about a specific keyword or search phrase. This way, you can create supplemental content or landing pages to boost your overall brand recognition.
  • Analysis – Tools like Google Analytics are essential for determining which SEO methods are working and which are not worth your time and energy. We’ll dive more into this optimization aspect later, but it pays to incorporate these tools into your marketing plan.

Step Five: Be Strategic with Your Investments

Many businesses make a mistake by assuming that cutting costs has to be universal. However, instead of cutting expenses across the board, it’s better to limit your spending on elements that aren’t helping and spend more on those that move the needle the most.

For example, if a PPC ad for a specific keyword can generate a substantial ROI, there’s no reason to spend most of your marketing budget on that ad. This will rank higher, and you can get more traffic and boost your revenue.

The best way to ensure you’re as strategic as possible is to assign dollar amounts to each aspect of your SEO strategy and try to calculate its ROI. Those elements with a positive return are worth spending money on, while those with diminishing returns can be put on the back burner.

Step Six: Increase Your Marketing Budget Incrementally

Just because you have a limited budget right now doesn’t mean you have to keep it low for the long term. As your SEO tactics increase site traffic and boost your bottom line, you can increase your marketing budget accordingly.

Also, remember that outsourcing specific tasks can often be smarter than trying to do them yourself. While you don’t have to pay yourself to accomplish these tasks, it’s imperative to calculate how much your time is worth. Could you be doing something else that will boost your revenue faster? If so, don’t be afraid to delegate SEO duties to others. Since you have a roadmap already, it’s much easier for subordinates or consultants to follow the path and move the needle.

Step Seven: Analyze Your Results

Since you’re working with a limited budget, you must ensure that everything works as efficiently as possible. Feel free to cut costs and streamline your marketing process if necessary.

Analysis can also act as validation for your strategies since it will show results quickly, even if the changes are incremental or negligible. For example, if your goal is to increase site traffic by 50 every day, you can track your progress from one extra visitor all the way to 50.

Without this step, getting discouraged and abandoning strategies that might pay off in the long term is easy. Overall, it’s best to stay the course until you get enough data to show that something is doing more harm than good.

Get Affordable SEO with BizIQ

Having a limited marketing budget may make you think it’s impossible to hire an agency to handle SEO for you. Fortunately, BizIQ is much more affordable than you might realize, and we can handle every aspect of your campaign. If you’re ready to see how BizIQ can transform your business, contact us today!