Building a winning SEO strategy on a small budget

by Katie Jones

In today's economic climate, many small businesses are struggling to make ends meet. And when it comes to finances, the marketing budget is often one of the first to be cut.

26th July 2023

Achieving ambitious goals with limited resources can feel like swimming against the current. Search engine marketing with a small budget in particular can feel like you’re a small fish in a big ocean.

But the good news is that with careful planning and execution, you can be a big fish in a small pond.

We’ve compiled a list of tips and free resources that will help elevate your SEO game without burning a hole in your wallet.

Rethink your keyword strategy

If you're only going to invest in one SEO activity, let it be keyword research.

Keyword research is a complex and time-consuming process, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your SEO. And when it's done right, it can reap big rewards in the long run. This rings especially true for long-tail keywords.

Short-tail keywords are broad, generic, and popular terms that have a high number of searches, whereas long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive. This means they're easier to rank for with a limited budget.

For example, if you’re targeting a keyword as vague as “shoes,” this means you’re likely to be competing against the likes of Nike and Adidas.

But by using three or more words (a long-tail keyword) such as "best running shoes for women," you can target a more specific audience with less competition, which then increases your chances of ranking higher in SERPs.

Although long-tail keywords will have a lower search volume, the traffic you do attract will be more focused, more committed, and closer to a point of purchase.

You can find long-tail keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.

Build backlinks to your website

Backlinks are one of the most important factors in SEO. They are essentially “votes” from other websites, and each of these tells Google and other search engines that this content is valuable, credible, and trustworthy.  This can help your website rank higher in search results, even if you don't have a large budget for SEO.

There are a number of ways to build backlinks on the cheap. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Create high-quality content that people will want to link to
  • Reach out to other bloggers and websites in your industry
  • Establish your brand as a thought leader on social media
  • Submit your website to directories
  • Target sites with high Domain Authority (DA) for links

When building backlinks, it is more important to focus on quality than quantity. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites are worth more than a bunch of low-quality backlinks from some dodgy websites that nobody’s ever heard of.

Building backlinks takes time and effort, but it is one of the most effective ways to boost your SEO for cheap. If you are patient and consistent, you will see results over time.

Use free SEO tools

Tried and true, these SEO tools make it easier for marketers and site owners to find what they need to do to stay on top of their game.

  • Moz: Provides a variety of SEO tools, including keyword research, link analysis, and site audits.
  • Ahrefs: Gives you a comprehensive overview of your website's backlink profile, including the number of backlinks, their quality, and their anchor text.
  • WooRank: Provides a comprehensive SEO audit of your website, including recommendations for improvement.
  • Answer the Public: An easy-to-use tool that can help you to discover niche subjects, unexpected keywords, and questions people are asking Google.
  • Google Search Console: Allows you to track your website's performance in Google Search, including your organic traffic, keyword rankings, and backlinks.
  • Google Analytics: Provides insights into how visitors are interacting with your website, including their demographics, interests, and behaviour.
  • PageSpeed Insights: Helps SEOs and developers understand how to improve the performance of their websites by providing insights into common optimisation opportunities.

Tip: Using Google Autocomplete (aka Google Suggest) can be a great free keyword research tool. Simply start typing relevant keywords related to your business or topic, and Google will suggest popular search queries that people are actively searching for. But remember to go in incognito mode so your search history doesn’t influence the predictions you get.

Wait! Wait! Wait!

So you've got your website up and running, you've got an SEO strategy in place, and you're starting to see some traffic and leads. Nice!

This means you can kick your feet up and relax, right?

Not quite.

The phrase “good things come to those who wait” probably wasn’t referencing the concept of search engine optimisation, but the concept still applies.

SEO is a project with no end date. It’s an ongoing process, so you’re never really ‘done’ with it. Because the algorithms are constantly changing, you need to be constantly adapting your strategy.

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to be willing to put in the work. So remember to monitor your SEO performance and make adjustments as needed.

Final thoughts

SEO on a budget is all about picking your battles. To develop a successful organic strategy on a budget, it is important to focus your efforts on the areas that will have the biggest impact. Therefore, we recommend starting small and gradually scaling up your efforts as you see results. If you focus on the right things, you can get a good return on your investment.

With everything considered, the smartest way to get the most out of your SEO budget is to leave it to the experts. Fancy a chat about how we can help to boost your website up the ranks? Get in touch with us today!