People will tell you that SEO is either really cheap or incredibly expensive. This is based on personal interaction and should not be the way we look at the industry. The truth is that SEO can be:
- Cheap since you can do it yourself
- Expensive because the really good companies are going to charge a lot of money for services
We cannot deny the benefits associated with SEO. When it is done right it will bring in great results. However, we should acknowledge the fact that most businesses do not have budgets of thousands of dollars to spend every single month. Since results do not appear straight away, the investment is really substantial.
The Negative Side Of Cutting SEO Budgets
The good news is that you can save money when you do SEO for your business. The bad news is that most businessmen do not know enough about the industry to actually do that.
It is completely normal for you to want to save money but there is a danger you have to be aware of. When you decrease investments made in really important SEO assets you can end up with zero real results. Never solely focus on saving money. Your goal should be to spend your available budget in an effective way.
Getting back to the main subject at hand, if you want to save money on SEO for your business, here are some simple recommendations to consider.
Write Your Own Content
Because modern SEO is quality driven, specialists have to create really good content. This does cost a lot more money than what people believe. The regular $5 articles you find on Fiverr or freelance websites will not cut it. Those articles do not get shared and almost never generate backlinks in a completely organic way simply due to quality.
SEO agencies do not want you to write your own content. They will tell you that they create a strategy and that content is a part of it. This is, of course, true. However, a proper communication with the firm can easily lead to much better content created by you, according to guidelines that agencies can easily offer. Also, content creation is expensive. Agencies make much more money from this than what many think.
One thing that few businessmen realize is that the best person to write about a company is someone actively involved in day-to-day operations. Who knows your business better than you?
SEO professionals do have access to high quality content creation opportunities but a large part of your SEO business will end up being used for that. Even professional ghostwriters have to learn more about your business first before they can create that content. This is why it is so expensive.
An alternative to consider in regards to content creation is to work on business content and allow the SEO agency to take care of content developed for link building purposes. You still save money and you gain the huge advantage of portraying the exact branding image you want.
Extra Related Tip: Create Your Own Graphics
Is there a designer that you hire to do work for the business? Use his services to aid in the SEO campaigns. This will be cheaper than how much SEO agencies charge for design since they often use freelancers or a third party service provider.
Target More Specific Niches
Everyone wants to compete with the big brands but in order to do that you need a suitable marketing budget. When you target niches that are more specific you can easily reduce budget and time requirements for SEO campaigns.
A very important business decision you have to make is what demographics or market you will target with created content. This is the basis of picking topics and even effective marketing. Most businessmen and marketers instinctively go for the really broad audience segments. The belief is that potential readership is maximized.
While there is nothing wrong with going after the broad audience, when you need to save money on SEO you should focus on a niche, specialized audience segment. Your authority is going to rise faster and you do not need as much material to do so.
As results appear in the more targeted niche you can move on to the next since your profits will grow and you have more money to invest in extra SEO work.
Do Your Own Keyword Research
Keyword research is always tedious and time-consuming. Most clients I had brought their own list of keywords that they believed would bring in a lot of traffic and sales. This is rarely the case. When you want to choose the appropriate keyword that can convert into leads or sales you need to invest time and actually check data.
Let’s say a company sells “baby powder”. When you do SEO work to rank that keyword there is a huge possibility you will not like the results you get after a number of months since the keyword is quite broad. People that search for “baby powder” are not necessarily interested in buying or the type of content you have on the site. Targeting another keyword that is much better target is a better idea.
Talking about saving money on SEO, the idea here is to invest some time and learn how to do your own keyword research. You want to investigate and provide a good list, one that can actually be used by the SEO professional. The person you hire will be more than happy to give you a discount since you helped eliminate some work that takes a lot of time.
The best thing about it all is that there are so many tools you can use. The BETA SEMRUSH Keyword Magic Tool (image above) is a great example of that. Need more? I wrote about 3 free ones some time ago and you can always just use Google to identify others, together with tutorials about how to use them.
Extra Tip: Do your own research about anything marketing related. See what works and what does not work for your competition. There is the possibility that you do not even need to invest in SEO as another marketing channel would work better at the business level you are at.
Build A Hybrid SEO Network
When you pay for SEO you almost always do one of 3 things:
- Use an SEO agency – costs a lot but offers great benefits.
- Use freelancers – they are normally cheap but reliability tends to be low.
- Hire in-house staff – costs are not as high as with the agency but higher than with freelancers.
When your goal is to get the best work done with the lowest budget, a hybrid approach is a great idea. A common approach in many businesses is to hire an SEO specialist that will manage a team of freelancers. Obviously, the smaller agency package can be considered.
Take Advantage Of Your Business Network
Networking is huge in SEO, especially for local SEO, which is a big part of modern optimization. In the past a business site needed thousands of links to rank. Nowadays, you can see numerous websites that rank with only a few backlinks. This is because Google realized the importance of relevancy.
As you do business you make friends and you network. You start to build business relationships with related companies. Those contacts are very valuable in SEO. Getting a link that is relevant and legitimate is fundamental and you can actually help with that.
As you talk with industry friends and you get the backlinks, ranking increase in an organic way. You do not need an SEO agency to do this. After some time you will have more traffic and more sales. You can then invest a larger budget into SEO from the start, thus jumpstarting your campaigns.
Saving money when you do SEO is always possible. Many other things can be said about this topic for sure as the community always finds ways to cut corners and save some cash. What is really important to understand though with search engine optimization is that quality is always the most important thing. Quantity used to be the standard but only in the early days of SEO.
If you have a limited SEO budget, the best thing you can do is to start learning some SEO yourself. There are countless resources available at the moment. As you learn you can do some work alone. Then, when you get money, look for help. Start with freelancers or in-house staff but be sure to just work with those that are very good at their job.
Eventually, as profits reach specific milestones, you need to work with SEO agencies. By that time, since you do have knowledge and you went through this learning process, you can negotiate SEO packages that are perfect for your business. Every SEO agency will be happy to negotiate when it gets rid of some of the work that is really time consuming.