Running a search engine optimization campaign with no or little investments is almost impossible in modern day. Large brands invest heavily to establish their authority, and so the most of search space belongs to them. Such brands even showing in top positions without targeting many such keywords. To be like them, you have to hire an agency, which may demand tens of thousands of dollars each month.
This is why the management of new companies asks questions like, “is there any way to execute SEO campaigns without significant spending?”
To answer this question, first you should understand that Search Engine Optimization is largely based upon three pillars, and a new player will get a straight-forward reply to the question asked – simply by exploring his strengths within scope of each of three pillars.
First Pillar: On-Page Optimization (The Most Basic)
Understanding how search engines read and index your website’s information, and then optimizing your website accordingly will set the base of an optimization campaign. You will get a well-functional website simply by capturing the intent of users. On-Page Optimization of a website are one-time changes that rarely get revised in the future, so there is no to very little space for making big mistakes in this area, or you will see delays in the speed of improvement. Afterwards, you will think of revising the on-page once more. So, why not to do it accurately the first time?
Second Pillar: Content Development (The Most Critical)
An industry leading forward-thinker cannot stay silent when something interesting happens. So, creating content around the ongoing hot topics makes you somewhat authentic. You can boost your search visibility by creating fresh and purposeful content on a regular basis. It will be even better that your fresh content gets popular on social media, but this happens only when some percentage of your readers share it.
Third Pillar: Link Building (The Most Important)
Reputation and authority of other relevant sites that refer to you from within their content is the key to determine the authority of your domain with respect to your competition. A higher domain authority will give a bigger visibility in organic search. That’s why link building counts among the most important and expensive part of every search engine optimization campaign. It is an on-going part as well.
A search engine optimization campaign gives you the best returns on investment after you brainstorm on each of these pillars to define your motives precisely. As an administrator, you should think search strategy in terms of marketing, in which you will apply SEO as a whole (instead of just performing simple keyword optimization). It will build a true solid foundation that will server your web presence far into the future.
Afterwards, come the most important question.
How to Start Search Engine Optimization with Almost No Budget?
A business head thinks like an investor, and will always ask for a proof and you have to prove that making sales is possible with SEO. And you need to give this proof so that he can make an investment. In case that you are a marketing manager of him, and getting almost no funds for this, still many things are that you can do to generate customers with SEO. This is how you will be able to run a successful SEO campaign with a little to no budget.
1. Adopt an Attacking Keyword Strategy:
Keywords play the most significant role in success of an SEO campaign. Ranking high for a high traffic keyword makes no sense if the traffic it brings to your website does not covert. So, you need to spend time to define whereabouts of your keyword strategy. What you should go after is to capture your customers’ intent, because this gives an idea for selection of keywords. The final keywords list should base upon your user’s intent and not simply the search volumes will actually define it. You will actually start ranking for related keywords when your Keyword Strategy is intent-oriented – which means that it should not base upon search volume and your rankings for those keywords.
2. Create More Landing Pages:
No attacking SEO strategy is complete without an intelligent creation of landing pages, because this is how you represent your business to customers and search engines. Landing pages are the pages we create to land search traffic of a specific category on your website. You build these pages according to the intent of users. Like, if you are a local heating, cooling and plumbing company, your website must have a different section for each of the three different categories. And, if there is further classification in any three service areas, then you need to decide which of them can be combined and which will need a separate page under the main landing page of its category. This is how you will take the first step towards a search friendly website.
3. Get Professional Content for Landing Pages:
The content on your landing pages must be creative enough to inspire a potential customer. Keyword stuffing does not help anymore, while Sky scrapper technique does a lot better. Still, it does not mean you can compromise on keyword research data. However, your service pages must have at least 400-500 words of content, and this space is enough to target your stats gathered in keyword research. If you have little to no ideas, then borrowing ideas from competitors will do the job, but you must recreate those ideas in your own words. I repeat that you should never copy the words of another because violating this rule will penalize your website in search results.
4. Give a Marketing Touch to Your Meta Tags:
Other than the URL of a page, the next two things to show in organic search results are page title and meta description. These two are also called meta tags. You use these to bridge gap between your website content and targeted keywords.
While your website content focuses on user-intent, the meta tags need to be keyword focused. It does not mean that you can stuff your meta tags unnecessarily. You should go after the high-volume keywords and still give a local touch. You must not exceed the character limits for Meta Tags.
5. Hire Web Development Agencies that Support SEO:
First, you should ensure that website will be built with professional level coding and search engines will be able to read it. Second, most web development agencies do not hire specialized SEO experts and rather make things work with basic level research and reporting. So, you need to ensure that your hired development agency works with SEO specialized workforce. Making such investigations before actually committing to a contract will enforce a long-term focused approach, right from the start. Data that you have collected in earlier steps can be transferred and discussed with your agency.
6. Write Quality Content for Your Own Blog:
Your blog is the voice of your business to the world, and it should be attractive enough to create waves of popularity. There is no general set of rules to be followed in this regard. Different sites compete in different landscapes.
Your aim should be to write focused content for the education and betterment of customers. More importantly, you should always write in the context of ongoing issues. And, there must be some 3-5 long posts of every-green content covering at least 2000 words. These posts act like link bait, i.e. we use these posts to get links from authority sites. Other than ever-green content, your blog should frequently get fresh content. The regular posts can be of variable lengths. The more you write, more connected you will be, and so the burden on link building team will reduce significantly.
7. Establish a Powerful Presence on Social Media:
When you create content for support of your audience, it gets popular on social media. Your website gets social strength as a result of it.
That’s why your blog posts must be shared on social profiles representing your business. Needless to say, that your social pages should link back to your website and your website should link to your social pages as well. Afterwards, you should try to make your social profiles as complete as possible.
When your content gets shared between ordinary people using social media, your pages where it appeared first would start to gain visibility in organic search results. It will double the chances of creating leads for you.
8. Engage Bloggers That Write on Similar Topics:
Those who have already written enough content on related topics to your field of work, their opinion can influence Google search results and bring these in your favor. In general, the authority of a blog grows up when it gets good quality content regularly. The authority grows also when other quality blogs link to its content. This is exactly what you should want to do with your blog. Most of the bloggers understand your purpose of engaging them. That’s where you would need to be a bit tricky so they cannot resist your content contribution offers. Even if they do not get ready to link back to your website, you should ask them to share your posts with their audience. Actually, response rate gets high when your own blog features high quality content.
9. Claim Citations on Business Directories:
You will verify that you own and run an authentic business by simply claiming your citations. This will get you authorized with local business directories and you will get the power of local search on your back. In this regard, a service like Yext may look like an easier way to claim your citations, but it should be avoided to the maximum even if you have enough funds available. And when you are already short of budget, how can you use it? Problem with Yext is that your citations will not be yours once you stop paying them.
The best way to build and claim your citations is that you follow the citation building and claiming procedure of each directory listing. They may send you mail cards, or text your or even call on your given phone numbers. Whatever option they use, you should follow.
10. Guard Your Online Reputation:
This is a search-oriented world where clients and customers Google your name to learn more about you before the actual engagement. That’s why hiding behind curtains does not help. If you have very little content published around your business, or you are not sharing your activities on social media, or you fix privacy setting to try to disappear, then anything negative about you will take the top spot. A jealous competitor can write a negative review. An angry client can post negative comments. And, if you have nothing good to defend you online, then such negative activities will become your face on the web. The only path to avoid such a chaos is that you share your business activities on social media. When you have so many good things about you, the negative content will be harder to get visible in Google search results. And if someone says something negative then clear your position by engaging that person into a chat.
11. Engage with Press & Local Journalists:
Press release is an affordable way to get coverage from local and niche media. It can help in search engine optimization to a much greater extent than you would think generally. You can use press release as the backbone of your link building campaign when funds are not enough to get some regular blogposts created and published on high quality blogs. All you need is some good story-telling and creativity to make your normal business meetings, events and service upgradation news look like an interesting event for local journalists, trade journals, and niche magazines. This helps especially when your stories reach the eyes of local journalists and get covered on local newspapers, news websites and radio networks. You should never forget to refer to your own blogposts, landing pages and past press releases from within your own press releases. It will give more power to your backlinking structures.
12. Frequent Updates to Local Event Calendars and Discount Directories:
Whenever you organize an after-season clearance sale, a community engagement event or anything similar that is of importance for you, the details should display directly on relevant event calendars, discount directories, and social media pages. Particularly, when your services are focused on a specific area, the link building from event calendar directories will give an upward push to your search rankings. In addition to this, you will get a new source of links to drive targeted traffic to your website. If you operate an e-commerce website that deals online only, you would not want anyone to appear at your warehouse. This is when your aim would be to cover discount offer directories instead of event calendars.
As more businesses looking forward to sell online, the way how suggested strategies get applied will change over time. Your niche, target locations and competitors will together influence the impact of these strategies for you. Reading an article will not make you a master in SEO. What you should aim is to apply these strategies to reach somewhere closer to generating a sales funnel. Once you prove that SEO can make your website sell, the owners will get the confidence required to dedicate regular funds. At that level, you will need an expert’s help.