SEO is like economics. In Economics, everything is based on the “other hand”.
Ask people for feedback on SEO and you will get two answers:
1. SEO sucks: This usually comes from webmasters who have no clue what they are talking about. People going for generic terms with a very low budget also seem to come to the same conclusion. Finally, people who use social media to get traffic, and who have never tried SEO to get traffic might also reason in this way.
2. SEO is very, very effective: This usually comes from webmasters who have spent some years trying to understand how to rightly “manipulate” the search engines into hand them cash. Once you know the game, it is very easy to understand the effectiveness.
The bottom line is: SEO is effective.
But effectiveness is all relative. If you have a USD 100 budget, you will find SEO ineffective when going for the term “mortgage refinancing”. On the other hand, if you want to rank for the term “how do you make jello”, a USD 100 budget is much more effective.
Depending on the keyword competition and 20 other factors, your perception of SEO and its results might be extremely skewed.
Here are 3 ways to lower your SEO costs by 60% (i.e. making your SEO campaigns roughly twice as powerful):
1. Build links like a madman on crack: Here is the funny part – I tell every single client that link building should be done consistently, but less than 10% follow my advice. Inconsistent link building results in lower ROI. Over the past few months, I have tried both approaches, and I clearly have a winner.
If you want to spend less money on SEO, be consistent with earning the currency of the web (i.e. links). Now remember, I do not mean get thousands of links in 2 days. I mean be CONSISTENT with your approach but start slowly.
Case in point: A website of mine in the self-improvement niche used to rank in the top 5 when I use to stay on top of link building. If I stopped link building for 3-4 weeks, it used to go down to page 2..
Lesson to be learnt here: Consistent link building IS a cost saver no matter what webmasters think.
2. Go crazy with the content: OK, don’t go crazy with it. But be consistent with content creation. It is very very simple to do.
You install a WordPress blog, add some plugins and write 2-3 posts a week. You can either write the content yourself or get someone else to do it for you.
I do not care how busy you are. This practice is a must especially if you have a commercially oriented website, which people hate sticking around. Content creation on the blog screams “More sales are nice but I want you to stick around and be interested in my content”.
If you do not write content you will spend 2X the amount on getting extra links to give you the same traction.
There is a reason why most (or all) of Technorati Top 100 blogs use content to lure the users and then make sales very subtly on the backend.
Lesson to be learnt here: Learn to write interesting content and you can leverage Facebook and Twitter to give you free, qualified, buying traffic. The catch is simple, 95% of the content out there is something no one cares about. Go here on how to write content users actually care about.
3. Go for the long-tail keywords (initially): Listen closely as this is one of the biggest reasons for failure. Most of my clients want to go for generic keyword terms with 20-40 million competition with a small budget and with a website which is 2-4 months old!
Does anyone see a problem here?
There is no way a new website will gain enough traction to rank high for such competitive terms.
The solution is simple, although a little less appealing. Go with the long tail keywords and start dominating them first. Then go for the more competitive keywords.
If you go for the competitive ones first, after spending USD 1000, you will say: “Man, I am still on page 5.. This money has gone to waste. SEO does not work! All SEOs are scammers!”
(Someone I know actually said that :D)
Lesson to be learnt here: If you are small on budget, start with using your inner pages to rank for less competitive terms and go from there.
What are some other ways that you can reduce SEO costs? Feel free to comment!