One of the main issues faced by business owners is figuring out how much to spend on marketing, especially small businesses on a tight budget. When it comes to SEO it is sometimes regarded as a dark art with no defined, one size fits all, solution to getting page one rankings, extra traffic and ultimately more business. So if you are asking yourself “how much should I pay for SEO?” then read on.
So is it possible to do SEO well for £50 and achieve page one rankings? Well I think anything is possible, but you should remember that any given project will require a certain amount of work and if you are not paying for it you will need to put in the time yourself.
The first thing to do is realise, NO SEO company is going to get you results by you simply handing this amount of money over to them. If you are getting anything at all for your money it is most likely freely available to you anyway – like a Google Places listing.
You have undoubtedly seen cheap SEO companies touting their services at this price, or you maybe paying your web designer around this much, but what are they actually doing? I don’t know any good SEO’s who do web design so why is your web designer doing SEO?
How To Start Your Own SEO
If you follow the below points you will be on your way to getting some traffic for your website and you will add far more value to your site than an unscrupulous SEO company (and I use the term SEO company loosely) might.
1. Keywords – you need to figure out which keywords you want to target. You will need to pick ones which are going to generate traffic but are also relevant to the product you are selling. Focus your keywords like a laser, remember you are on a tight budget, spread it too thinly and you will get no results at all. For example if you are a plumber in Harrow, then use the Google Adwords Keyword tool to check out how many potential hits you could get from ‘plumber in Harrow’ and see what the competition is like.
2. On-page SEO – this refers to the work done on your website to ensure it is well optimised for Google. Now if you already have a website, hopefully your website designer created it with a good Content Management System like WordPress. If so you should be able to do the core tasks, like adding great content, internal links and Meta tags very easily. If you do use WordPress then take a look at the Yoast blog by Joost who is a WordPress superstar.
If you do not have a good CMS you will most likely need to learn some HTML or find a cheap developer who can do this for you. However most SEO developers worth their salt will charge around £40-100 per hour if they know what they are doing, and you will need to check they are doing things correctly and make sure they have the appropriate experience.
Without a good CMS you will also find future changes difficult and expensive so I would suggest moving your site to another platform now to save money long term.
There are a lot more things you should consider such as improving your website architecture and URL structure but these will involve work from a developer or a SEO company, so should probably be looked at once you have more money to invest.
3. Link Building is the next step. Presuming you have not spent a penny yet you still have your £50 in the bank earning interest.
Now you need to get this bit right, get it wrong and not only will you waste time and money but you risk having your website penalised. DO NOT USE cheap link building services you find online that promise hundreds of links through cheap submissions, link buying and comment spamming.
DO USE white hat techniques like:
- Writing great content for your readers to link back to.
- Joining relevant forums and engaging the community (you must really engage and not comment spam).
- Create your own social media profile by joining SM sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and share that great content you are creating.
- Become vocal in your industry and approach relevant blogs and news sites to see if they will accept content from you in return for a link back to your website.
4. Use Google Places – if you haven’t been ripped off by a cheap SEO company yet then well done, unfortunately there are so many out there I find a new one everyday. They promise page one results for next to nothing and all many of them do is create a free Google Local Business Listing. Do this yourself as it is free and easy.
So where do you spend the £50? Well it depends on you, perhaps you need to hire a developer to complete core tasks, or hire a content writer to do some good articles. It is your call.
Of course this will all take time, you just need to weigh up what your time is worth and if it would be better spent developing your business.
Please do remember that in my opinion you would be much better served working with an experienced SEO company with case studies who will take care of all of the above plus much more. If you can’t afford to pay someone however then follow the above steps as a starting point.
Posted by Hitesh Patel, Managing Director at Bullseye Media