In a perfect world, building search engine referral traffic would be easy. Youd pull out your limitless marketing budget checkbook, call up the industrys most widely-renowned SEO firm and sign on for the companys Platinum package. Then, youd sit back and wait for your new search visitors to start flooding your site, buying more products and driving your profits higher than ever before.
Of course, very few companies are blessed with these kinds of unlimited resources. If youre a small company trying to be big on a tiny budget, dont worry! Its very possible to put together an effective SEO plan on a shoestring budget. Heres how to do it
Whether youre a big company or a small business, the best way to start a new SEO plan is by understanding where you are on the SEO continuum. Knowing whether your site is already pretty well optimized, or whether you have some major weaknesses that need to be addressed will give you a good idea on where to start your DIY SEO campaigns.
If you work with a professional SEO agency on your sites optimization, the first step theyll take is to conduct an SEO audit that uncovers these critical details. But if you dont want to (or cant afford to hire an agency), you can do something similar on your own by downloading the free Traffic Travis program.
Once youve installed the program and created a Project for your website, pay attention to the Page Warnings metric, listed in aggregate on the Dashboard tab and by individual page on the My Site tab. Clicking on any of these page warning numbers will open a pop-up screen indicating any deficiencies in your pages on-site SEO for example, the presence of too many H1 tags or the absence of image ALT tags. Fixing these issues (to the extent possible) will go a long way towards improving your on-site SEO without costing you a fortune.
SEO isnt some secret process thats carried out by brainy web developers behind closed doors. The basic principles underlying this science are widely publicized and available for anyone to reference whether youre a beginning webmaster or an advanced site owner.
As an example, whether youre running a small mom and pop website or a giant Amazon competitor, its a good idea to optimize your pages title tags and heading tags with your target keywords (which can be generated for free using the Google Adwords External Keyword Research Tool). Similarly, its good SEO practice to include at least a few internal links on your sites pages whether you do this by hand or outsource it to an expensive SEO agency.
For more on-site recommendations that you can put into practice on your own, check out the following articles:
Next up, the other half of the SEO coin is your off-site activities specifically, the number of links from other reputable websites that point back to your own. As with the on-site SEO techniques mentioned earlier, you can either pay somebody to create these backlinks for you or you can do it yourself!
One great way to find link building opportunities is to check out the sites that are linking back to your competitors. To do this on the cheap, head over to the Open Site Explorer website and enter each of your competitors URLs into the programs search bar. While you wont be able to view as many results using the Explorers free service as you would with its paid membership, you should still be able to view enough information to get your personal link building activities started.
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DIY SEO on a Shoestring Budget