A lot of you have been asking “ How do I do SEO on a low budget “. There are a lot of expensive SEO tools out there. But a lot of people who are starting to do SEO can’t really afford an $89 subscription to something like Ahrefs. Alternatively, you could purchase ScreamingFrog’s pro license for $200.
So there are all these different tools you can buy online and today we’re going to show you how it is possible to start out doing SEO for free and how you can do SEO without any tools. We’re going to explain to you why you don’t necessarily have to use tools in order to be successful in doing SEO. And why tools can be a helpful thing for you and having a budget for SEO can be helpful but not completely necessary in order to do well.
Figuring Out Your Goals
With everything that we do here, we always start with our notepad or if you can have a whiteboard in the background or somewhere that’s close to your workstation so you can look at it all day. It helps to stay organized when planning low budget SEO.
We actually have a whiteboard in our office and we look at it every day and put what we have to accomplish. The first thing that you want to do is to figure out how you can draw and something that you could write your ideas out of since it actually feels better to write your ideas out to a whiteboard than to type in on your notepad.
What we always do is lay out our monthly goals, and we start with how much money we want to make every month.
Now what you can do is to figure out your goals first. We know this isn’t really SEO-related but we do want to talk about the business side of it. Because if you don’t have the vision on how much money you want to make, SEO isn’t really going to help you a lot so you want to figure out what your actual end goal is besides just ranking and you want to figure out how that ranking can actually help you.
What we do is that if we want to make 25k we want to think about what we have to do to get to that point and we make this reasonable and we try to stretch this a little bit so if we only making like 1k a month then our goal would probably to make 2k because the idea is you want to take what you are doing that’s making you money and you want to add more time into that and tweak or adjust it.
One of the big things you want to learn about when starting out doing low budget SEO, doing marketing, or doing whatever you’re doing online is how to figure out what other people are doing well and use that as an outline for something you can do but in your own unique way.
If you don’t have any rankings or if you’re brand-new and not making any money, the first thing you want to do is to build a case study, no matter what. If you could do anything right and you don’t have any money you want to get a website up that you can rank locally because it’s usually easier to rank for because of lower keyword difficulty and use it as a way to get into lead generation for whatever is the industry that you are targeting.
Let’s say you want to have iPhone repair clients or acupuncturists as your client so basically, you don’t want random clients and you want to have clients that you already know their niche or industry and you want to know how their marketing works and how they make money because then you’re going to be able to scale what you’re doing faster. The less you know about a certain niche or the industry the harder it is to scale whatever that thing is because you know less about it.
2 Ways to Gauge the Keyword Difficulty
What we do is we search. So if you don’t have money don’t use this method because what we’ll do is go to Ahrefs and actually type in the keywords that we’re going to rank for locally. This is technically part of low budget SEO, but you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend
So if you don’t have any money you can actually go to Google Keyword Planner. Now, you’re not actually going to see the keyword difficulty, so we might have to show you how we can gauge this. So you need to sign in to whatever your Google account is. Once signed in, you need to go to Tools, go to Keyword Planner, and type in whatever keyword you want to rank for.
This is the first way to gauge it.
When it says low competition on keyword planner that just means people competing on AdWords so it’s not really a great way to gauge it but it’s a kind of a good way to gauge it might not as accurate as Keyword difficulty but it is somewhat accurate. The better way to do it is – “eyeballing”. This is what you’re going to do with a lot of your SEO and with your rankings.
This actually works really well. We still do eyeballing even with these tools because we want to see that the tool isn’t lying to us. The tool is a way for you to kind of get into a faster and more accurate approach when you’re scaling. Meaning that when doing bulk tasks like finding a large list of keywords, looking at a bulk list is supposed to give you a better idea, but if you’re only looking at 5-10 keywords, it’s not always the best thing.
Tools can help you streamline what you’re doing. They’re meant to help you scale and automate. But not meant to help you rank. They might help you rank to a certain extent, but what we’re saying is that the real way to rank is to be able to understand what people are actually searching for. Look at that result, and then be able to go after that based on what you’re actually seeing.
So if we go to Google we’re going to do a “ctrl + shift + N”
You’ll see an unbiased search result as long as you’re in Google Chrome. The first thing that we’re going to see is that keyword is completely taken over the maps. You’ll see nobody else is ranking for that keyword because the way we set up this website is to completely dominate the search results by branding the keyword as the actual business name. And that’s how you can actually take over like that.
For a long time, we had a map of three people with ads showing up in search results but now because of so much authority to this business because it’s doing so well. This is actually a very hard thing to rank for because it’s dominating the search results so competition-wise it’s actually harder because we’re eyeballing.
This is another thing that you need to know about whether it’s Ahrefs whether it’s Google Keywords Planner whatever you’re using just because it says low difficulty doesn’t mean that it is true it might mean that nobody is competing for it because it’s already completely dominated by whoever is SEO-ing for it.
The Indication That A Local Search Is Easy To Rank For
Another thing you want to watch out for when planning for a low budget SEO strategy is how easy it will be to rank. One indication that a local search can be easy to rank for is if you see yelp or other aggregate sites ranking really high. Aggregate means where they have a bunch of these combined listings listed on their website like Yelp or Thumbtack or whatever these different websites are.
If you want to see what these different people are doing, what you can do is type in something called “The Exact Match Keyword”. So if you look at the image it’s 14 times this exact match is showing up on search results. And it looks like people are SEO-ing for it also because you’ll see the main keywords are pulled to the left and there’s some sort of call to action pulled to the right and you’ll see a lot of people are following this outline.
If you’re trying to rank for something very general, let’s say you’re trying to rank for the keyword “Cats” you can assume that that keyword is going to be competitive because a lot of people are looking to rank for that.
Now if you’re going for something local like let’s say “iPhone repair Sta Barbara” and based on your google keyword planner search result there’s a hundred to a thousand monthly search rate chances there’s not a ton of people competing for it. This way you can kind of gauge that your competition is not insane compared to something that would be more general.
The Point of Optimizing
The whole point of optimizing something is to find what’s already working out working well and make it better or that’s already working not so well and make it better. Either way, you’re trying to make what you’re seeing show up better than what is already out there.
You want to make it more relevant to the user, you want to make it more authoritative to the user and to the platform that you’re on so all these things are kind of hard to fake.
So if you’re using what google actually tells you and what we’re actually telling which is creating value and not worrying about how many links you have or how many keywords do you have ranking all these things are ways to measure big exports of content that you can scale.
If you have no rankings, you have no clients, no income, you can’t afford tools and you have no strategy whatsoever on what you’re going to do to generate leads or be able to market to them or be able to sell them packages because you don’t know your pricing.
All these things are very important to think about.
And that’s why our first tip to you early on was not necessarily thinking about just the SEO but it was actually thinking about what is your actual goal.
So you want to think about who you want to work with, why you want to work with them, do you know a lot in that industry, how you can scale that, who you are going to outsource, what are we going to do in order to maintain these contracts. All these things once you think about these and start to figure out what are the things that we can give to our audience as a value, what are the ways that we can build authority with these sites, that’s when you start winning.
Every single SEO success (low budget or not) that we have had has been related to finding the perfect keyword. What has happened is we will actually go and find what people are interested in.
One thing that you guys would probably see with some places that we do our marketing you’ll see that we do a lot of polls meaning that questionnaires on our group. We’ll actually ask things like “What’s the best SEO website you have ever seen”, “what is your favorite SEO course” we ask all these questions all the time not because we’re trying to engage some groups you’ll see they are just trying to create engagement so they can get more people into their groups so they can sell stuff.
The reason why we’re doing this is we’re trying to get as much information about our audience as possible because the people in marketing too are people who are trying to learn SEO that is why we sell programs, that is why we sell consultancy packages, and because we’re spending our time here trying to market the SEOs our biggest goal is to understand they want what they want.
Value Ladder Principle
A lot of people already know about this since we talk about it all the time. But ideally what you want to have is you want to have about 4 different steps and these 4 levels of value. Basically the higher the value meaning the higher the money that people have to pay the more resourceful it is the better the deal is. So if someone is paying more money the better the results.
Whether it’s Web design, whether it’s SEO, whether you’re selling clothing online doesn’t matter what you’re selling, you want to figure out the thing that you can bring people in with and what is the thing that you can capture them with.
A lot of people who are watching these videos, a lot of people are getting our checklist.
A lot of people who are talking to us started out most likely with some sort of free type of information, some type of free checklist.
What we’re trying to say here is that if you want to sell to people, let’s say you want to make a bunch of money let’s say you want to start selling $2,000 to $3,000 SEO packages like we sell them then what you want to do is you want to figure out why these people are interested in a $2,000 to $3,000 SEO package.
And the first thing to do is to figure out what they want for free, what is the thing that’s going to blow them away for free because people feel embedded in you when you give them things for free.
When you think about that from a marketing standpoint the more value you can give upfront the more you get back and it’s usually 10 fold you usually get way more back than you actually end up giving.
The reason why we spend so much time trying to give out free stuff all the time is that we’re getting it back a lot more.
How we turn this into rankings though is because when you have things that are really valuable that are free you spend most of your time front-loading the free things, for instance, a free SEO audit template ended ranking very well because all the people who actually wanted it they type the keywords in, they leave reviews on it, they leave comments they’re linking to it and that’s how we get a ton of authority for certain things like the checklist through SEO audits.
Whatever we’re trying to do and get more traffic to our site which makes it a lot easier to end up selling and bring more rankings in, keep building an audience, and then that’s when you start to get a snowball. One other thing that you need to think about is people are not going to buy from you unless you tell them to.
All of these building relationships you want to figure out SEO is a big thing that has something to with content and links and all these things but what it really has to do is it has to do building relationships.
The more relationships online you have the more people respect you and the more people want to talk to you and you want to associate themselves with you the more authority you get which is basically links or social signals or all the things that matter about SEO.
So all the things that used to be fake back in the day that were very easy to fake like links, reviews, and all these things are now getting harder to do because you want to have a real consistent value. What we mean by this is Google just doesn’t care about you getting a hundred reviews or hundred links. Google cares about you getting those consistently so consistent signals are way better than one-time signals that you can obviously fake.
Now if you really want consistent signals the way you do that is to build your audience whether it’s through MailChimp, whether it’s through ManyChat, whatever it is.
Obviously, we don’t really know a lot of low budget ways to build an SEO strategy unless you’re just getting somebody’s email directly through a form and then just feeding it into Gmail blaster so you might spend a little bit of money on generating on MailChimp or ManyChat.
All of your efforts at low budget SEO should be around this whole deal that we’re talking about like increasing your authority, building relationships, building the things that you are giving away for free, all of these things are easy to do if you spend some time thinking about them like thinking about what is already out there that is awesome but what is something that could be even better.