Affordable SEO Services for Small Businesses: How Not to Burn Your Pocket
By: Dileep Thekkethil
August 26, 2022
Table of Contents
The pandemic has been a real eye-opener for many offline small businesses.
When people stayed back at home and made the majority of their purchases online, small businesses that procrastinated digital transformation found themselves in a tight spot.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the e-commerce’s share of global retail trade increased from 14% in 2019 to about 17% in 2020 and should be even higher in 2021.
However, the beneficiaries of this unprecedented growth were all established ecommerce giants such as Amazon and other country-specific ones like Flipkart in India.
Are you a small business owner who made the switch recently by starting a website or ecommerce store?
Then these are the same giants stealing your prospective customers away just by ranking on the top of Google.
Though paid marketing, the most effective on being PPC, is an option to gain quick results, sustained results can be achieved only through SEO optimization.
With small businesses already battered by multiple waves of COVID 19, choosing an affordable SEO service is the key.
Basically, you cannot end up spending more than what you earn just on assumptions that you will one day make it to the top position of Google. That’s not how it works.
No agency can guarantee SEO results within a stipulated time because it’s a combination of multiple factors that decides where you will rank on Google.
Besides all that, Google’s algorithms, unlike before, can’t be tricked. If someone does manage to, there is always the fear of getting busted and demoted in search.
We have come across disastrous stories of small business owners who made massive SEO investments expecting quick results, stopping it mid-way as their funds dried up.
SEO is a long-term strategy, and you need to drip feed your budget to get the best results out of it. Stopping it overnight can do more harm than good for your website.
If you are a small business owner, consider that SEO is about setting the right strategy for your website on a budget of your choice.
All you have to do is find the right affordable SEO service provider who understands your goals and is prepared to go the extra mile to deliver you the results you seek.
Keep in mind that the budget should be selected judiciously and shouldn’t harm your business. After all, if there is no business, what’s the whole purpose of doing SEO?
SEO Agencies are mushrooming in every nook and cranny, which may have caused a dilemma.
You might be left thinking which one out of these is the best SEO company for your small businesses?
This blog will discuss various ways to help you double down on an SEO agency that offers everything vital to rank your website on Google’s first page at an affordable price.
Why Affordable SEO Matters for Small /Startup Businesses
By choosing an affordable SEO service for your small business, you can:
- Save almost 50% of your spending
- Get all benefits of SEO best practices
It’s as simple as that.
The best example that I have for you is Stan Ventures.
We are an Indo-American SEO agency offering bespoke SEO solutions for small businesses.
Our aim is to help businesses like yours rank on Google without worrying about their marketing budget.
Here is the thing:
You don’t need tons of backlinks and hundreds of pages to rank higher on search.
For small businesses, the traffic is secondary, but the quality of people who visit the site is the most critical factor.
The reason being, they are the ones who determine your ROI.
We implement the right SEO strategies for you.
This means we don’t implement everything found in the glossary of SEO.
Because you don’t need most of it.
We are not a yet-another-agency that makes you show up with the Visa card every other month.
You might be thinking:
“This doesn’t mean that we skip critical steps to keep the pricing affordable.”
We understand your business requirements first.
This helps us to come up with a tailored strategy to rank you higher on SERP.
Do you know that small businesses with an interest in ranking only for a particular location need only a Local SEO strategy to rank higher?
Most agencies try to ignore this aspect because there is a lot of money in implementing national and international SEO strategies.
It takes a while for small businesses to understand that their hard-earned money was being spent on things that added little value to the business.
Why would a real estate business owner based in DC want his backlink to be placed on a site in India?
At Stan, we come up with custom SEO strategies for small business owners.
That’s why we have been listed as one of the top SEO services providers for small businesses.
Cheap SEO vs Affordable SEO – A Sea of Difference
Open Google and Search for SEO agencies.
You are flooded with the results of agencies that offer “cheap” services.
Hmm, cheap is quite an ambiguous term here.
When you sign up, the pricing may seem “cheap,” and when you ask for results, the excuses these agencies make may seem cheap.
In both ways, a business like yours can’t choose a cheap SEO service because your ambitions and ROI goals are way superior.
90% of agencies that offer the so-called low-cost or cheap SEO services depend on substandard link-building strategies and optimization methods quite antediluvian.
On the flip side, there are these agencies that do a lot of haughtiness and list services at very high pricing.
Please don’t fall prey to them either.
Nowhere in the rule books of SEO has anyone mentioned that the higher the pricing you pay, the more quality you get.
That is a myth that has been around in the industry for too long.
According to our analysis, we found that the average monthly SEO spending of businesses in the US is steadily increasing, and so are the SEO plans and pricing offered by native SEO agencies.
So what’s the alternative?
Choose affordable SEO Services for your small businesses after considering the merits of the agency.
We will discuss finding the merits in the next section. But before that, what’s this concept of Affordable SEO Services?
How Much Will an Affordable SEO Company Charge Small Business Owners?
One of the main advantages of SEO companies that offer Affordable SEO Services is that small businesses can choose what services they need and allocate a specific budget to them.
This gives the marketers and executives visibility on where their money is getting invested.
Many times, a small business may not require a premium SEO service as the target keyword could be associated with a niche group of people from a specific location.
A basic local SEO package might do the work.
Unfortunately, SEO agencies who approach potential small businesses try to rope them around the most premium package to get an increased revenue share.
Here is what Maile Ohye of Google says about things to consider while hiring an affordable SEO company for small businesses.
Here are some of the key findings:
Comparing the 500 top SEO agencies across the US, we found that SEO client is billed an average $100/hour to $200/hour depending on the SEO task entrusted.
Small and medium businesses in the US spend $1,000 to $2,000 every month for search engine optimization services
It may be overwhelming for small businesses as there are no fixed SEO pricing packages or guides that SEO agencies in the US follow.
However, since you are well aware of the end goals of running an SEO campaign, you can set a clear roadmap for your SEO agency to achieve specific goals.
Small business owners can also ask them to follow the same roadmap for both on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
Since US-based SEO agencies hire native experts, the cost of their service is always on the higher side.
On the other hand, there are SEO agencies in Asia and especially in India, that offer low-cost SEO plans for small businesses.
However, these companies cannot promise quality, and keeping a tab of their SEO efforts may be difficult.
What you need is a balance of quality and affordability.
Affordable SEO services for small businesses should not focus on your search engine ranking alone but also think of how they can help your business grow.
If the agency doesn’t take an interest in learning how your business works, consider getting another service provider.
It is difficult for any SEO agency to help you grow if they don’t know your customers, business goals, and other existing marketing efforts.
You can get more insight on how to hire an SEO agency or a specialist in the video below.
So, how can you get quality, affordable small business SEO packages so that you can simultaneously save and earn from SEO services?
Here is where Indo-American SEO service providers come to your rescue.
These SEO companies can offer small businesses the best of both worlds – quality and affordability.
Stan Ventures, being an SEO service provider in the Indo-American realm, can be a touchstone for you before selecting an SEO company.
How to Choose an SEO Budget for Your Website?
As said before, your SEO campaign budget shouldn’t put your business in a precarious position.
SEO IS FOCUSED ON SUSTAINABILITY, unlike PPC, which delivers quick results as you pump in more money.
What matters in SEO is the actions you take over time, which means consistency is the key to SEO success.
So, if you decide to spend 80% of your annual SEO budget within a span of 2-3 months, there are chances that the strategy might backfire.
This simply means that whatever your annual budget for SEO is, split it judiciously across monthly or quarterly bases. You should bear in mind that it might take upto six months for the first results to show up.
We hear website owners asking which strategy worked best for them when they see a sudden spike in ranking improvements.
In fact, we give them the example of the old man who broke the big rock using his hand chisels. It took him over six months to shatter the rock, but he didn’t attribute all the success to the final few smashes he delivered. So the same goes with SEO.
What we recommend is to start with a small budget. However, we cannot give you an exact number because businesses’ capital and budget allocation vary significantly based on the industry.
But if I put Stan Ventures into perspective, our managed SEO package for small businesses starts at $649/per month, wherein you get everything required to get the initial boost. For most businesses, this would fall under the small budget category.
When you see the organic traction increasing and your website gaining significant revenue from SEO strategies implemented, you can upgrade to a higher package.
Types of Affordable SEO Services for Small Businesses and Startups
On-Page SEO Services
On-Page SEO services include optimization of a slew of on-page factors on your website.
This includes the meta title, meta description, URL, and images.
Google and other search engines have confirmed that on-page factors are key ranking factors for its algorithms.
Please read our blog about On-Page optimization techniques to know more about the strategies used by top SEO agencies, including Stan Ventures, to optimize websites.
Major factors involved in On-Page SEO:
- Keyword Research
- URL Optimization
- Title Tag Optimization
- Optimizing Content
- Optimizing Heading Tags
- Optimizing Internal and External links.
Link Building Services
Links are one of the most important ranking factors for Google.
However, a wrong link-building strategy can ruin all your SEO efforts.
This is why you should make sure that the link-building practices followed by the agency that you have selected follow the guidelines set by Google.
Some small business SEO companies might approach you to build PBN links for a cheap price.
Signing up with such low-cost SEO services for your small business can do permanent harm to your website as PBNs, Link Farms, and Blog Commenting are strategies of the past.
Google now considers these link-building strategies as spammy practices.
Indulging in such Blackhat activities can lead to permanent removal of the website from Google search.
It’s recommended to check the credentials of the business SEO service provider to avoid such untoward circumstances.
Major factors involved in Off-page SEO (Link Building)
- Setting up a link building strategy
- Competitor Analysis
- Manual Blogger Outreach
- Broken Link Reclamation
- Disavow Spammy Backlinks
Technical SEO Services
Think of a scenario wherein your website has high-quality content and backlinks, pointing to a page that cannot be indexed by Google.
Such cases are not uncommon among small business websites.
Technical SEO issues can make a huge impact on whether your business website will rank on Google or get pushed into the inner pages.
Check out our blog on technical SEO to know more about its importance in ranking your small business website.
Major factors involved in Technical SEO
- Page Speed Optimization
- Fixing 4xx and 3xx Errors
- Log File Analysis
- Sitemap Integration
Local SEO Services
Search engines, including Google, now focus more on local search results to help the users get the best results for their queries.
Due to this, optimizing your small business website for local search is of utmost importance.
Getting enlisted in Google My Business with proper NAP and other local SEO optimization practices have to be put in place to ensure your business gets featured for the local search queries entered by the target audience.
To do all the optimization mentioned above requires a higher level of expertise.
Since you are a small business owner, investing in hiring in-house resources cannot get you the ROI.
This is why you have to filter out the best affordable SEO services for fulfilling these local SEO requirements.
Major factors involved in Local SEO
- Local SEO Strategy for Links and On-Page Content
- Google My Business Listing
- Building Citations
- Directory Listing
Content Writing Services
Getting the best content on your website remains critical as search engines have reiterated that only content that satisfies the user intent will rank higher.
Small businesses have to get their website content written by experts who know about the local culture and the thought process of the people they are targeting.
This is why native content writers are employed here at Stan Ventures to get you the best content that speaks directly to your target audience.
We provide different options for our users to choose the level of the writer’s expertise.
This doesn’t mean that some of our writers are bad.
How to Hire the Best Affordable SEO Services for Small Business?
As we said earlier, the SEO industry has reached a saturation point, and many service providers will engage in a lot of chest-thumping about getting you top positions.
Thus, you have more options to try and evaluate before making the final decision and obtaining affordable SEO Services.
Ensure you explain your requirements to the agencies you reach out to and make the decision by comparing their merits.
To get more Search Engine Optimization tips for small businesses, and to know about the standard average cost of SEO for small businesses, read our White Label SEO pricing Guide.
In this article, we have done an in-depth analysis by comparing the pricing of affordable SEO services and the ones provided by native companies.
Now that you know how to find affordable SEO services for your business, let me give you an overview of the services that you can choose to get the maximum ROI for your business.
If you search Google, you will find articles with tips and tricks to rank high on Google.
Tips and tricks might work short term, but your small business needs a concrete SEO strategy that can drive results.
There are a handful of optimization methods to rank your small business on Google, but the results of these methods are not quantifiable.
You have to ensure that the SEO services that you choose are result-oriented.
Look for the following factors when considering hiring affordable SEO services for your small business.
Check the SEO Agency’s Credibility
Almost all agencies boast about how they help websites to rank higher.
However, you want to know specifically about websites in your niche.
Ask the affordable SEO service provider for a niche-specific case study.
Check Their Blog Section
This might seem trivial, but most of the SEO agencies that are doing business for clients ensure that they have a robust blog section.
They update about new challenges and opportunities in the blog to engage more with their existing clients and new ones.
This is a good indication that they have specialists in-house who know what’s in-vogue in SEO.
Check Online Reviews
Online reviews are a great way to judge the competency of an SEO agency.
A few negative reviews are common and sometimes are also an approval for the genuineness of the published reviews.
Do a detailed analysis of the reviews and check for bottlenecks that other clients faced before zeroing down on the agency.
Ask Them Which Tools They Use
Before you sign up, ask them for a quick analysis of your website or even your competitors’ if you are yet to build one.
Just don’t give the Analysis and Webmaster credentials yet.
Ask them to do an in-depth analysis using SEO tools.
This way, you can assess how the agency strategizes your campaign and analyzes the data before coming up with suggestions and conclusions.
Check the Quality of Content
The quality of the content cannot be compromised, as it is the pillar that holds SEO strong.
Make sure to ask for the content samples and the websites for which the agency has already supplied the content.
This helps you to evaluate the quality of the content being delivered.
Check the In-House Team Capabilities
Go through the agency’s website thoroughly and find the people behind the scene who are implementing SEO for you.
Ensure that the agency has in-house capability because agencies act only as mediators while the complete task is getting outsourced.
There are a handful of optimization methods to rank your small business on Google.
But the results of these methods are not quantifiable.
You have to ensure that the SEO services that you choose are result-oriented.
Now you are equipped with the vital knowledge to choose the best affordable SEO services for your small business.
By the way, you can choose Stan Ventures as your SEO partner as we have been helping businesses of all sizes to rank higher on the search.
Just hit us up in the live chat, and our team will walk through the whole process we follow to rank business websites above their competitors.
DIY SEO Tips for Small Businesses
So, now, what if you want to give SEO a try by doing it yourself? Here are some quirky tips from Itamar Gero, of SEO Reseller on how small businesses can implement SEO without burning your pockets using four unique approaches.
Focus On Your Target Market
SEO services can be very broad. If small businesses will emulate the biggest players in their industry, they could end up spending a huge amount of money and getting very little returns.
This is why strategy is important in search engine optimization for small businesses. You can start by asking these questions:
- Who is your target audience (buyer persona)?
- Where are they from (geographic location)?
- Which social media sites or online platforms do they use (Internet habits)?
- What do you want to get from your SEO campaign (SMART goals)?
Notice that these questions focus on your business and customers. Yes, you need to be aware of your status in the industry, who your biggest competitors are, what they are doing, etc., but frankly, strategies that seek to beat the competition use up so much time and resources. You may get better results if you focus on ranking for keywords your target customers actually use (the long-tail keywords with high click-through and conversion rates) than the ones for which your competitors are already on the top spot.
Online domination for small businesses is not always about who’s Number 1. If local customers click on a business regardless of its position on the SERPs, that business will have dominated everyone else.
When you change your perspective from competitor-focused to customer-centric, your strategy will follow. Here’s where Local SEO comes in.
Start with Local SEO
Frankly, it can be difficult for small businesses to rank organically if they belong to industries where there’s a lot of competition and many of whom already have an established strong, online presence. Tenure matters in Internet marketing. Essentially, brands that have been optimizing their websites for years have an advantage over those who are just starting now. But don’t be discouraged if you are the latter.
SEO is an equalizer. Strategy matters more than brand names. If you have a good strategy and don’t violate Google’s guidelines, you can end up right next to the biggest names in your industry.
This is the logic of Local SEO for small businesses. Instead of betting your resources on strategies targeting a broad market, you need to narrow it down to the people with the highest potential of becoming paying customers. Many factors come into play, but for the sake of simplicity, Local SEO uses geo-targeted and intent-focused keywords instead of broad searches. An example would be “24/7 plumber in Spokane” instead of “plumbing services in Washington state.”
Use the Local SEO approach for your paid advertisements (PPC) as well. If you are a CPA offering accounting and tax filing services to solopreneurs and fellow small business owners, and you have no intention of serving clients more than two cities away, there’s no need to advertise to audiences on the east coast when your business is based in San Francisco.
Local SEO is an advantageous move for small businesses:
- Your online marketing goals are realistic and achievable. Not to say that aiming for loftier goals is a long shot, but you need to lay a strong foundation first before you can launch a more ambitious campaign.
- Your resources are better optimized. You don’t battle mindlessly with national brands (and spending more than you need to) when you sell mainly to customers from your local community.
- The leads and traffic you earn are of higher quality. This is the best reward when you rank for narrowed-down, long-tail keywords (e.g., brown sugar boba milk tea for takeout in the Bronx instead of broad search entries. Casual researchers or customers looking for similar products and services in a different city are all filtered out. What’s left are high-quality leads who are interested in what you offer.
Local SEO, therefore, is best for small businesses that want to increase the foot traffic in their stores or receive more email inquiries and calls from potential clients.
Establish Your Authority On and Off the Internet
One of Google’s most important ranking factors is domain authority. It is the perceived authority of a website based on the quality of its inbound links. The more authoritative websites (e.g., known publications and official websites of government offices, schools, universities, hospitals, and research organizations) link back to your site, the more authoritative it appears to the search engine. Establishing authority is, essentially, the main goal of link building.
This technique works slightly differently in Local SEO. For search engines to recognize your site’s authority in your community, you need to earn inbound links from authoritative sites in your area as well.
Earning a backlink from a local government office or your state university, however, is not easy. Since all parties are from the same area and face-to-face interactions are possible, you might be expected to personally reach out as a form of courtesy.
Here are examples of outreach tactics that can increase your website authority:
- Allow your suppliers and business partners to list your business as one of their clients or affiliates.
- Participate in industry events organized by the local government and established organizations.
- Sponsor charities, civic events, and other similar programs.
- Participate in city- or state-wide events, especially if they are organized specifically for your industry.
- Apply for membership in exclusive groups or local civic organizations.
- Get published on highly rated online publications and websites.
In Local SEO, link building often needs more work than writing a compelling outreach email. But you reap what you sow: your active participation in the local community could eventually win you dot-edu or dot-gov backlinks, which are powerful, top-level links and are considered to be the Holy Grail in link building. Just one of these high quality backlinks can make a dot-com website soar on the SERPs.
Relevance is also crucial to building authority, so you may get the same link value from a dot-info or dot-biz website, provided they are highly rated and relevant to your industry. So if it gets too difficult to get backlinks from government offices and organizations and educational institutions, you may have a better chance with local newspapers and industry magazines.
Use Insights from Keyword Research
Keyword research is essential in SEO, but it can serve a greater purpose than simply showing what words and phrases to include in your on-page content.
Keyword lists can give you valuable insight into your target audience’s current wants and needs. The information can enrich your business strategy, not just your online marketing.
For example, if you own a cafe, you would assume that customers will use the keywords like “coffee shop”, “cafe,” and “coffee delivery” when they search for nearby establishments. After your SEO team conducts keyword research and gives you the complete keyword list, however, you discover that people are also looking for “free wifi cafe,” “cakes for sale,” and “dalgona coffee.” These keywords have high daily search volumes. Unfortunately, you can’t incorporate them into your on-page SEO because you don’t offer them in your cafe.
What you can do is take this information and run with it. You can study the feasibility of offering free Wi-Fi in your cafe and updating the menu to include cakes, pastries, and new coffee flavors that are popular today. This is just one example of how SEO can help your small business dominate your market — both online and offline.
SEO for small businesses can be challenging, even among the most experienced in the online community. Success also takes time to achieve. But you can get good results faster if you focus on your customers, do local SEO, build valuable business partnerships, and use hard data to refine your online marketing strategy.