Are you a small business owner that recently started your own website or an e-commerce store? It’s possible that the online retail giants, like Amazon, are stealing potential customers from your small business because they rank at the top of search engines like Google.
In the wake of a looming recession, many small business owners are feeling the crux of financial pressure, making it necessary to seek affordable SEO services for small businesses.
As a small business owner, you probably know what SEO does but don’t exactly understand how it works. If you’re searching for “affordable small business SEO services,” you realize, at this point, that you need to spend money on it, but you’re not quite sure how much.
When we reference SEO or search engine optimization, we want our listeners to understand–it can mean the difference between getting tons of website traffic and your target audience not finding your website at all.
Yes, you do get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean that expensive SEO services are good SEO services.
Furthermore, all ‘affordable SEO services for small business’ are expensive if they don’t work.
What do we mean by this?
Affordable SEO Services that Work
If you spend $500 a month on low-cost SEO services to get rankings, and after six months to a year, they don’t come, then that SEO package is expensive at $500.
But, if you’re in a competitive market, and you outrank your competitors on Google for one of your main product’s search terms, how much is that worth, in your opinion? $1,000 a month, $5,000 a month?
How much could you afford to increase your marketing budget when you’re ranking higher on the search engine results pages?
Online marketing agencies that specialize in search engine optimization services for small business know how to get organic search results for small businesses without costing the business so much that it handicaps them.
If your business is in a niche that we don’t think we can help you without taking the farm, we’ll tell you that upfront.
As a small business ourselves, we aren’t in the business of losing–losing money, losing customers, or losing our good reputation.
So, we’ve put together this post to help you understand affordable SEO services for small businesses and if hiring a professional SEO agency is the right decision for your company.
What are Affordable SEO Services for Small Business?
Now, everyone looking for a local online marketing agency for digital marketing services has their own perception of what “affordable” means. And affordable SEO is certainly no exception.
For example, if your business is generating hundreds of thousands of revenue a year, then $5k a month for a marketing budget is nothing. In contrast, for small business owners whose company makes well below 6 figures, then $5k seems insane.
What is paid to an ‘affordable SEO company’ is subjective. There’s no easy way around that.
But either way, good SEO from reputable SEO providers is not cheap.
There are only so many actions you can take on a low SEO budget. The only actions you can take are those that are time-dependent and not capital-dependent.
And, even there, it’s a slippery slope. As with any profession, businesses that employ talented SEO professionals must pay them according to their talents.
Time-Dependent Search Engine Optimization Actions
What do we mean by time-dependent SEO service actions?
The best SEO services that are time-dependant include:
Technical SEO Services
Some, if not most, technical optimization requires a developer. Web developers also cost money.
Depending on where your website is hosted, many times, to fix technical SEO issues, you’ll need a website developer to help out with the coding aspects. Web design and developers cost more money than you’d be able to afford with a cheap SEO service.
Now, this isn’t to say that you would need a developer for all aspects of technical SEO strategy, but it’s important to note that if you invest in cheap services from an independent SEO consultant if there is a point where your website has an error in the coding (which happens more than you’d think) then, your online marketing strategy will struggle because of the unaddressed issue on your website.
Eventually, the search engine algorithms will start “punishing” your website’s search engine rankings because of this.
On-Page SEO Services
While on-page SEO can certainly hurt your SEO ranking if they aren’t done correctly, ensuring that your pages have the right headings, meta information, etc., won’t drastically improve your rankings in the search results by themselves.
In order to consistently rank well on search engines, you’ll need an SEO partner who understands link-building strategies for small businesses in your industry, local search strategies, content creation strategies, as well as URL and site structure strategies.
Keyword Research and Keyword Optimization
When you invest in keyword research from a reputable SEO provider, even if they offer the research as an affordable SEO service, your online business will have a better chance of ranking well on search engines because reputable SEO companies can afford to invest in professional keyword research tools that a cheap SEO company could not.
Professional keyword planner and research tools are not cheap. So, when you’re looking into affordable SEO services for small businesses, ask what kind of keyword tools the company uses for its clients.
From here, do your own research into the keyword planner or research tool. See if other reputable SEO companies review the tool before you hire a digital marketing agency or independent contractor for professional SEO services.
Remember, affordable SEO services that don’t work are not affordable at all.
You won’t get too far with keyword research, optimizing pages, and doing tidbits of technical SEO.
Sure, it will help your website rank some, but that’s not where the bulk of your success will come from. These just simply aren’t the high-impact activities that drive your organic search growth.
The two biggest drivers for organic traffic on search engines are content and backlinks.
Guess what? Both of these activities are the most capital-intensive.
The Affordable SEO Company Struggle
It’s not to say that every affordable SEO company provides cheap services that don’t work. But, if your SEO package doesn’t provide your digital marketing company with the capital they need to correctly optimize your website for search engines, they can’t complete the following tasks:
- pay for placement on quality sites,
- create quality content, and
- spend much time doing link building or outreach for quality backlinks.
So, what does that mean?
It results in this outcome: when companies offer low-cost SEO services that don’t provide enough revenue, they must penny-pinch on SEO content.
Using cheap content service providers will ultimately end up embarrassing your brand in the long run.
Furthermore, if the services don’t justify the SEO provider’s time, they will more than likely have to use black-hat techniques to acquire backlinks to your website. A wrong link-building strategy will get your site penalized, and these search engine algorithm penalties are often very difficult to recover from.
How to Spot Cheap SEO Packages
What is a good price when it comes to SEO services for small business? It’s tricky.
We understand. Trust us, we really do.
We’re a small business, too! You want to squeeze as much profit out of your business as you possibly can. However, there are some things that you simply cannot skimp on. You will lose every single time when you go with cheap SEO marketing.
Now, affordable small business SEO services are a little different.
Choosing an affordable SEO agency is tricky because the “cost” isn’t necessarily immediate. Neither is the profit that comes from ranking well on local search results.
You can spend months working with a bad SEO company before you realize they offered cheap, not affordable services for small business.
You won’t realize the “cost” of your “affordable SEO services” until you’ve already wasted a lot of money.
It’s also important to note that local SEO for local businesses is a lot different than e-commerce SEO. Affordable local SEO services are much less labor and capital-intensive than e-commerce services for small business.
Affordable SEO Packages vs. Cheap SEO Packages
Although they may be synonymous, there’s a big difference between “cheap” and “affordable” when it comes to low-cost SEO services. Within the SEO industry, you have several options for improving the online visibility and ROI of your small business website.
There are many US-based SEO agencies that can help with this.
Improving your search engine ranking quickly and affordably is a must for any small business. However, it’s important to avoid cheap, dime-a-dozen SEO strategies. Many agencies claim to offer “affordable” SEO services, but what they really do is give you a quick fix that won’t provide your company with long-term results.
Cheap SEO services are very easy to recognize. They almost always leave small businesses dissatisfied.
Your SEO strategy should be as unique as your small business.
In the following sections, we outline the red flags that may signal a “cheap” rather than an “affordable” SEO service.
Cheap SEO Problems
First of all, cheap SEO services will land your website site with a penalty from major search engines like Google.
So, even if the SEO agency’s black hat, low-quality tactics work short-term, your website is sure to get nailed from algorithm updates later on.
Google doesn’t like to be fooled. And, if your site gets penalized, more than likely, you’ll have to hire another search engine optimization agency just to get that penalty removed. Once your site gets a penalty, it’s a very long road to recovery.
Then, you need to calculate the account opportunities and time costs. If and when your site gets penalized, you will have wasted time and capital.
Time, money, and business assets… you know, the three most valuable points for business success.
…and here’s the real kicker…
Cheap SEO Doesn’t Provide Assets
What does this mean?
It means that these things will continue to bring your business value via your website. They’re in it for the long haul. Your website will be worth more money if you ever wish to sell it if you have built up a steady stream of organic visitors because of your content and quality backlinking strategy.
Here’s the bad news:
Businesses that claim to offer super affordable SEO services for small businesses typically won’t give you any tangible assets.
Because they do not have the capital to create quality content assets or acquire quality link placements. When you finally decide to go with another SEO company, they will redirect those links and content elsewhere.
Many companies will even hold your domain hostage so that you have to change your URL completely when you leave.
When interviewing affordable SEO agencies, make sure that you have a good understanding of who owns your website domain, content, and backlinks.
Cookie Cutter SEO Doesn't Provide Longterm Solutions
Most affordable search engine optimization companies have to use cookie-cutter strategies. They aren’t able to scale if they, ya know, think outside the box to help you grow your small business using local SEO or even varying off-page SEO strategies.
SEO is a dynamic skill. Period.
Sure, the principles of quality SEO services don’t change, even when you’re only investing in local SEO campaigns.
However, even every single local SEO campaign is different. Every client is at a different point in their online marketing journey. And every client has different needs for organic visibility and online reputation management.
Furthermore, cheap SEO agencies will also be unresponsive for the most part. They don’t have time to communicate about industry changes or your desire to change the SEO strategy that isn’t working for your company.Most of the time, cookie-cutter SEO providers allocate most of their resources to front-end sales.
They understand that after a few months, their clients will realize that the cheap search engine optimization services they are paying for are not working and discontinue payment for services.
Therefore, it’s a constant cycle of clients.
Client Retention for Reputable SEO Agencies
Want to know if an SEO company is good? Ask how long most of their clients stay.
If they give you past numbers, for how long they have kept a client “in the past,” or, even if they say a couple of years, run.
We can tell you that most of our clients we’ve had from day one when we started, and they’re still our clients. We don’t know how long our clients will stay with us because they’re still with us.
So, unlike scale-based digital marketing agencies, good SEO agencies value client retention over new leads.
We allocate time and resources to the testing and improvement of our SEO services. We go back and tweak our content when we see that our target keywords are shifting. We update our client’s graphics when we see they’re starting to look a little dated.
Once our clients start receiving the value of our SEO services, they want to spend more in order to get even better results.
We will tell our clients when they have reached their maximum return on investment. We do this for both our PPC management services as well as our SEO services.
SEO Experience is Priceless
Companies that offer extremely affordable SEO services for small businesses and aren’t honest with clients upfront must employ cheap labor.
There’s just no way around this.
Businesses must make money to survive. Cheap labor in the digital marketing industry almost always equals inexperience.
Good agencies aren’t cheap because they employ legitimate, proven SEO experts. Or, they employ super-promising candidates and then invest resources into training them.
SEO training is not a 2-week course, we can promise you that!
SEO experts realize that they have a rare talent, and they’re confident in their ability to get your business results. So, they’re never going to work for entry-level pay.
How do you know if an SEO agency hires inexperienced workers? Look for an affordable SEO agency that brags about how large its staff is.
Experience and skill are what get SEO results–not a large staff of entry-level employees.
A single SEO expert can run circles around entire companies of inexperienced, entry-level employees all day, every day.
What Do Cheap SEO Packages Look Like?
When you’re in the business of content writing or even selling SEO services, it’s pretty easy to identify low-quality SEO services, in contrast to affordable SEO packages, once you know the basics of SEO.
Here are a few things to look for:
Fluffy SEO Proposals
Cheap SEO agencies will take advantage of business owners by injecting a ton of technical jargon into their proposals. This is to make it seem like they’re doing a ton of work while providing you with affordable SEO packages.
In reality, 80% of the tasks they list either take little time to complete and will have little or no impact on your marketing campaign.
If you’re interviewing different internet marketing agencies, there is no shame in showing one proposal to another vendor.
It is business.
If a business owner or marketing professional is conducting themself honestly, they shouldn’t mind.
Low Budget for Content or Link Acquisition
If you don’t see a whopping section for content and link acquisition on your SEO proposal, just stop reading it.
The proposal and, therefore, the search engine optimization strategy is garbage.
Content and backlinks are undeniably the two most important elements of a successful SEO campaign. Literally, ask anyone who is successful in SEO strategy. If the agency doesn’t know this basic principle, they have no business taking your money.
Is Marketing on Search Engines a Waste of Money?
Just remember, the lower the price, the less they can do for you. When we’re talking affordability for SEO services, you have to consider pricing models.
Some small business SEO agencies are a little “cloak and dagger” about their pricing. Pricing should always be transparent.
SEO encompasses a wide range of services, both on and off-page SEO.
Put simply, technical, on-page SEO services focus on keyword research and optimizing the content on your website. Off-page SEO services focus on activities like link-building and citation-building.
So, as with any marketing service, you’ll want to make sure of what the pricing includes and excludes before committing.
How Much Should I Spend on SEO per Month?
According to most online studies, SEO experts charge anywhere from $100-$200 per hour. $2,501-$5,000 is the standard per month/per project charge.
Most reputable SEO professionals charge a monthly SEO retainer. It’s just easier for everyone, and with a good SEO company, you’ll get more from them this way, anyways.
Also, the cost of one single backlink is at least $400 if you’re paying to have backlinks added to your website, and if you’re in a competitive industry, you will need a LOT in order to get your site ranked.
So, as we said, in the United States, most agencies charge at least $2,500 to $5,000 a month for SEO services, depending on your industry. These rates are also pretty typical for our law firm SEO services. This is a fair price when the SEO service works.
Solutions for a Limited SEO Budget
Are you a small business owner who wants to see the benefits of SEO, but you don’t have the budget to hire a big SEO service provider? Here are a few solutions for the time being.
Try Basic SEO Techniques Yourself
Believe it or not, doing some of the SEO basics is much safer than hiring a cheap SEO agency. This will give you control, and you are responsible for the success or failure.
Your business is your baby, and you will always want to do what’s best for it. So, you will use the safest and most effective strategies you can.
You won’t set your business up to be penalized because you won’t engage in any risky black-hat SEO tactics.
Wait Until You Can Afford Quality SEO Services
Don’t make a rash decision and hire the cheap agency that promises super affordable SEO services for small businesses.
If your budget is under $2,500 a month, and the company takes you on as a client, be very wary. You’re more than likely receiving cheap SEO services that won’t help you longterm.
If your budget is tight, then build up the funds and wait to hire a quality SEO agency down the road.
You would rather start off at point zero than start off in the negative. And this is what will happen if you have to hire an agency to get you out once your website has been penalized.
Invest in Technical SEO Services
At first glance, technical SEO sounds much more complicated than it actually is, at least in many ways.
Simply speaking, technical SEO services target the back end of your website that an end user won’t see. It involves fixing errors within the website, making your site more appealing to Google, and much more.
Search engine optimization is all in the details, so technical SEO isn’t something you can afford to skip out on.
You can take a DIY approach or work with a digital marketing company that offers affordable technical SEO services. Either way, technical SEO will help your site work properly, load quickly, and deliver an overall positive user experience.
Work On Content Marketing
Content is not only the backbone of your website, but it is also an integral piece of your business’s search engine strategy. The content on your website serves multiple purposes for both search engines and potential clients or customers.
Optimized, keyword-rich content is what search engines prioritize, while consumers look for the helpful content. So, what’s the solution?To create valuable, helpful content for your small business website, you should start by conducting keyword research.
Once you determine the keywords you want to rank for, it’s time to optimize the content on your website for those keywords. Include several different types of content, including blog posts, videos, images, or even helpful infographics.
Work On Building Internal and External Links
Link building is another must-have SEO strategy for businesses of all sizes. You should incorporate both internal and external links.
- Internal links are those that point from one spot on your website to another.
- External links are those that point from another website back to yours (or from yours to another website).
There are many ways to build internal and external links in your SEO efforts.
We recommend developing a strategy that is multi-faceted and continuous. Link building is a long but very rewarding process.
Some of our favorite methods of building and optimizing website links include the following:
When you write and publish content for another website, this is referred to as guest posting. This is a great way to get high-quality backlinks from other websites.
You can write articles for another website, then have them add your name and a link to your website. This will bring attention and traffic to your website from other sources.
When you link to content outside of your website, be sure to link to high-quality, reliable websites.
Research your competitors and see what works for them. What are they linking to? Where do they get quality backlinks from? Use this information to improve your own search engine results ranking.
Internally Link Your Website's Content
Always remember to internally link to other content on your website whenever possible. This not only helps potential customers find helpful information on your website, but it also helps Google fully index and understand your site.
Utilize Short-Form Video Marketing SEO
In today’s world, video content is one of the most effective and popular ways to market your business. After you’ve done your keyword research, make video content based on those keywords. Show off your products and services related to those keywords in the videos.
Remember the following tips for optimizing your videos:
- Add eye-catching thumbnails that hint at the content of your videos.
- If you have popular blogs or other content, consider turning them into videos.
- Add descriptions and titles, including relevant keywords.
Take Advantage of Social Media Marketing
Social media is also crucial for small business SEO strategies. Billions of consumers across the globe are using social media in many different forms, so you definitely don’t want to leave it out of your marketing strategy.
All of your social media profiles should be as detailed as possible, and you should create social media posts consistently.
Try to create engaging, informative, and entertaining content while also connecting with your followers by responding to their comments and messages.
Improve Local SEO and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Optimizing your website, content, and profiles for local SEO will almost always help your online business and traffic.
Start by claiming your free Google My Business Profile. Fill out all the information as fully and accurately as possible, including all the information that potential customers might want to know. Keep your contact information, services, and hours updated so that customers know how to reach you.
Also, ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB profile. Reviews are a surefire way to get Google to notice your business, especially if those reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
Consult with Small Business SEO Companies
As a successful digital marketing firm, we understand that it can be difficult, time-consuming, and confusing to handle all aspects of your business’s marketing on your own.
That’s why working with an affordable SEO firm is always a great option. You can take the guesswork out of marketing your small business and leave the heavy lifting to the professionals.
When trying to find the right SEO service provider, it’s important to take a few things into consideration.
First, take a look at their case studies and the work they’ve already done. Are their current clients successful and happy with their results? Reviews are another great way to determine if a particular SEO company is a good fit for your business.
Remember that SEO services that are effective in the long term will take time. Nobody can promise fast, easy, or guaranteed results.
Ask as many questions as you want, and make sure the answers you’re given are satisfactory.
An experienced SEO firm should be able to put your mind at ease and explain everything to you in plain English, not leave you with more questions than you originally asked.
When you start to see results from an SEO company, make sure they’re not just showing you graphs and numbers with no meaning.
For you to determine whether or not their strategy is truly working for your business, you need to understand what you’re seeing. Ask them to interpret the data for you in a way that’s easily digestible, and make sure they fully answer all your questions.
Best SEO Companies for Small Businesses
Most business owners don’t have the time, technical skills, or patience to handle SEO by themselves. You do realize that your business needs it.
A solid SEO campaign is really a necessary investment for your small business. You can’t expect instant results, but you will see long-term effects on your business’s organic traffic.
In all honesty, the best SEO companies for small businesses are the few SEO agencies that will tell someone “no.” There are a few of us out there that have a moral compass and will let a prospect know that we can’t deliver what they want on his or her budget if that’s the case.
We don’t take any money unless we’re sure we can make a difference!
Our successful digital marketing company is also a small business, so we fully believe that small businesses must stick together and support each other.
If you’re looking for an affordable SEO agency to help get your small business off the ground AND a business owner who doesn’t mind telling you, “no, we can’t help you on that budget,” then give us a call.
We offer free proposals, free SEO audit services, and affordable SEO packages. Furthermore, we’ll tell you if we aren’t fit!
As a top SEO company, we’ve earned our reputation for success, and we’ve done that with honesty and 100% transparency!