If you’ve been thinking about starting a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you’ve likely run into a serious obstacle: money. Big-name agencies charge upwards of tens of thousands of dollars a month to manage a campaign, and hiring a new full-time manager and/or a suite of specialized contractors to help you execute the work could cost you just as much.
So is there a way to start an SEO campaign without a significant monetary investment?
The Three Ingredients of SEO
Let’s explore the question by first describing the three main pillars of SEO:
1. On-site optimization. On-site optimization is all about making sure search engines will index your pages, providing a functional website for users, and including enough content so that search engines will be able to present your site for the right types of queries. Most on-site optimization tactics are one-time changes with occasional tweaks and upgrades in the future.
2. Ongoing content development. Publishing new content for your site on a regular basis increases your site’s domain authority, which in turn increases your likelihood of ranking. It also provides more keyword-rich content for search engines to index, and gives you a chance to earn more inbound links.
3. Link building. Finally, you’ll want to spend time building or earning links for your site. The quality and quantity of links you have will dictate your overall authority, so it’s not something you can afford to neglect.
All three of these strategic areas, when developed over time, will cumulatively result in higher domain authority, which will lead to higher rankings for all queries relevant to your site.
What You Can Do With (Almost) No Money
Let’s say you don’t want to spend much money a campaign—or that you want to try to spend no money whatsoever. What can you do to get started in SEO?
- Choose a website builder that supports SEO. If you’re trying to save money, you probably won’t be able to afford a custom build. Instead, you’ll need to rely on a free or inexpensive website builder, using design templates to put your site together. Thankfully, most modern website builders support SEO, offering professional coding that search engines will index cleanly, and guides to help you set up your site to be found in search engines. This will help you get off to a good start.
- Choose strong keyword and topic targets. Next, you’ll need to spend some time researching which keywords and topics you want to target in your on-site optimization and ongoing content. Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool is relatively accessible to newcomers, with helpful descriptions to guide your research and final decisions. Once you have a set of keywords and topics to work with, you can make progress in other areas.
- Optimize your titles and meta descriptions. The titles and meta descriptions of your site’s pages are what will show up in searches for your site. Make sure they’re optimized with keywords relevant to the on-page content, and are phrased in an enticing way (to maximize click-throughs). Depending on the size of your site, this will likely only take a few hours.
- Write strong content on all your core pages. Every main page on your site should have at least several hundred words of content on it; this is the “meat” that Google will use to analyze the purpose of your content, and the context by which it will judge the quality of the page. Be accurate, concise, and descriptive.
- Produce new content at least once a week. You don’t need to spend money if you create your own content, but make sure you’re writing high-quality material that your audience actually wants to read. If you’re just getting started, a post a week should be enough to help you build momentum, but you’ll eventually want to scale up.
- Build your off-site presence. Spend some time building up your off-site presence; make sure you’ve claimed your brand’s social media profiles on each major social platform, and write rich content for their description sections. Start posting regularly on each channel, with occasional links to your on-site content.
- Encourage sharing and linking. Through your social media channels, off-site forums, and other outlets, try to encourage your earliest audience members to share and link to your content as much as possible. The more links you earn naturally, the higher your domain authority will grow, and the more shares you get, the more people you’ll have reading and engaging with your material.
- Start building links. Link building is usually difficult for newcomers with a small budget, but it’s not impossible. You’ll need to invest time in landing guest authorship spots on external publishers, and work to get your content featured in as many external sources as possible. You’ll also need to support your work with ongoing syndication and sharing, maximizing your chances of earning links from your audience. Without links, you can’t build authority, so make sure this is a part of even your earliest fledgling strategies. Link building is the most difficult of the SEO pillars, but I’ve written a full guide on how to do it called SEO Link Building: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide.
When You’ll Need Money
These strategies can get you started with an SEO campaign, even if you don’t have much money to spend, but alone, they probably won’t earn you the results you want. If you want to be successful in today’s highly competitive SEO market, you’ll need to invest some serious time into the quality and frequency of your published content.
You’ll need to earn links on high-authority publishers, and you’ll need to build a loyal audience, and relatively quickly. And while it’s certainly possible to do all this yourself, it’s far more efficient, especially if you’re new to the world of SEO and you’re wearing many startup hats, to pay an expert to help you out, providing direction and accomplishing the legwork.
Every dollar you spend on SEO, so long as you spend it with the right agency or contractor, will provide more than its share of returns.
These tools will help your business grow, generate leads, develop customer loyalty, and make more money – all while keeping your clients and teams happy.
Working with hundreds of clients and projects on a daily basis, digital agencies and SEO professionals with a lot of projects spend an enormous amount of time estimating, developing strategies, analyzing, and reporting.
Simultaneously, the business has to grow, generate leads, and develop customer loyalty. And, of course, make more money.
How in the world can you make all of these things happen while making your clients and teams happy at the same time?
Certainly, there are many ways for agencies and SEO pros to increase their revenue and customer loyalty regardless of whether it’s generated through new technologies or via enhanced internal processes.
Working close with agencies, though, we’ve identified five of the most common pain points they are struggling with:
- Finding solutions on how to personalize and enhance relationships with their clients,
- Finding new ways to generate leads.
- Building better value proposition.
- Accelerating strategy execution.
- Creating more accurate forecasting.
Automation, new widgets, and tools are often the cure for the problems.
Below is a collection of tools and options that can help with reaching these objectives to the best satisfaction of all parties involved.
1. Generate More Qualified Leads Using Lead Generator Widget
Lead generator is a great tool that helps attract qualified leads using instant SEO audit as an attraction.
It’s a widget (or a webform, if you will) installed on your website that provides your potential clients with a detailed report on how well their webpage is optimized for a certain search query.
In exchange, you are getting their contact information along with their report ending up with a “hot” lead and a list of their problems at hand to start the conversation going.
There are some widgets on the market to choose from.
SE Ranking offers this option within their top plans. It looks very sleek and can be customized to reflect your unique brand styling.
The popped-out form:
Here is how easily (as simple as 1-2-3) you can customize and install the webform and start generating leads today:
Step 1: Select the widget type and install it: choose the form, the color, the budget, the text and where you want to place it on a site.
Step 2: Add a small piece of the HTML code to your website pages.
Step 3: Get alerts on new leads and convert them into your potential clients.
2. Build Trust & Personalize a Client-Agency Relationship
White Label is quite a popular option in SEO platforms as it is aimed at presenting your SEO services as your own technology. Not all of the SEO platforms offer White Label as part of the subscription. So, look for services like SE Ranking that has this option within their pricing plans.
The value of White Label in building trust and credibility with your clients is indisputable. With minimum development work, you can use your domain or subdomain to provide personalized SEO services to your clients. Let’s look inside the system to see how it works, using SE Ranking as an illustration.
By employing White Label option, you can customize the system to reflect your own interface and login page, change the header and footer of your own domain and adapt the look of email templates to fit your agency styling.
The reports you’ll be sending to your clients will look like they’ve been generated via your own SEO technology. Moreover, all your SEO reports can be sent via your own SMTP server.
It is easy to add and manage users with custom access to other SEO features like rank tracking, backlink monitoring, website audit, etc. There is never a hint of connection between your agency and SE Ranking and since the platform is cloud-based, there are no hosting or maintenance issues.
3. Use Marketing Plan to Speed up Estimation & Enhance Accuracy
Regardless of how many times you’ve provided the estimation and developed a strategy for your clients, more often than not it takes an arm and a leg to create a document that’s both impressive and accurate.
What if you could automate this process and come up with a personalized plan built based on the best practices in the field – with the simple click of a mouse?
Tools like Marketing Plan from SE Ranking do just that.
Automating the estimation and preliminary strategy within the initial stages of your sales cycle effectively cuts the time it takes to execute while ensuring accuracy.
Also, the beauty of it is in how easily you can customize the plan, add your points, get a complete list of tasks, and disperse these tasks among your team members. It’s like a mini project management tool at your fingertips with an SEO twist.
4. Develop Ambassadors Using Top-Notch Reporting
Beautiful, detailed and comprehensive reports are the base of making your customers happy and thus, loyal. It’s also the most painful part for agencies since reports take so much time to develop.
Using reporting tools in an SEO platform makes this tedious task so much easier.
For example, the Report Builder from SE Ranking helps create professional reports and impress even the most demanding clients. You can add a personalized look to your reports by adding your logo and contact info in the header.
Additionally, make them easily accessible with the option to download them in different formats: .pdf, .xls, .html, .csv. You can send and get reports automatically to selected e-mails on a regular basis.
The tool works in a manual, automatic, or scheduled mode. A nice touch is the Drag and Drop. These modules help make your SEO reports look comprehensive and elegant.
5. Budgeting Is a Science – Treat It Accordingly
Forecasting and the estimation of your SEO potential is a crucial puzzle piece for generating greater revenue while simultaneously making your clients happy.
You can still use Excel files and guess how much return on investment you might get from your SEO efforts. Or, you can use tools such as SEO Potential from SE Ranking to forecast and justify your budgeting.
This feature uses a sophisticated formula to predict the results of your SEO investments.
For example, by using this tool, you can easily predict how many clicks your client can get based on their search rankings. Alternatively, assess the expected traffic volume, quantity of clients and traffic cost via Google AdWords. You can then generate the reports and export them into different formats to present them in detail to your clients.
In the modern business environment, making more money is not just about increasing your rates or advertising budget. It’s also about value proposition, business processes, and technologies. These are the factors that really affect the bottom of the funnel in the long run, as well as the overall health and business efficiency of your organization.
Using platforms such as SE Ranking, which offers basically everything that you need to successfully operate your digital agency or provide freelance services, might help eliminate unnecessary clutter and complexity while helping you grow a prosperous business and long-term client relationships in the tough field of digital marketing.
If you spend a few minutes online searching for articles about search engine optimization, you’ll find one marketing expert after another saying SEO is no longer effective.
In fact, many of them will tell you this traffic generation method is dead.
Others will tell you it’s outdated and obsolete, but the overall consensus will be SEO is no longer worth your time.
It’s on its way out and you need to focus on other ways to get traffic to your website.
Now you could look at the current landscape this way or you can recognize SEO is always changing.
Some methods which used to be really effective no longer work, and Google continues updating their algorithms while leaving search engine specialists banging their heads against a table in the dark.
On the other hand, there’s still a group of experts who believe in SEO.
They realize if you’re willing to make adjustments, you can still top the search engine rankings with enough time, patience, and attention.
These experts believe SEO is going through a period of growth, but when all’s said and done, it will come back bigger and better and be a huge winner for those who don’t give up on it.
At this time, search engine optimization is still a great approach for local businesses looking to drive targeted traffic to their sites with an investment returning a huge ROI.
We’ll take a look at the top 14 reasons why SEO is still a killer marketing tactic, hands down.