Every business owner knows the importance and popularity of Google. It’s one of the most used web based tools on the planet and its influence continues to grow as more and more people use it for everything. Right from finding the nearest restaurant to discovering tutorials that teach high-end skills.
The big G is where the traffic is, so if your business site is not ranking for your targeted keywords on it, you are losing customers. And in the long run, you are also losing out to your competition who are giving more importance to SEO.
Whether it is solving a simple problem or learning more about a particular industry, Google is people’s first choice. Moreover, if you look at the stats, you will notice that not only 81% of online shoppers use Google to research products, but a whopping 80% of B2B clients/buyers also count on it when it comes to learning more more about a solution before investing in it.
What’s more, when someone visits your website via search, there is a higher chance of them converting into a paying customer or client.
However, the truth is, with so many websites competing for the top spot on Google, the competition has become fierce across all industries. For a small business that is yet to invest in SEO, it can prove to be time consuming and expensive to effectively optimize a website and rank it higher unless you work with a digital marketing company like ours that specializes in SEO.
Also, Google is known to update its algorithm from time to time, so the tactics that worked for you in the past may not be relevant today. The whole SEO game can be fast paced and difficult for your small business if you don’t take the right steps.
While SEO is an amazing way to generate more sales and get higher quality leads, the fact is, you can end up wasting your time and money in the wrong place if you’re not careful and don’t have a professional guiding you in this adventure.
Gone are the days when you could simply outsource your SEO to someone in Philippines and have them create a spammy linking strategy to rank your pages for your targeted keywords. That is not the kind of cheap SEO you should be aiming for. Instead, you need to use cheap SEO strategies that are easy on your wallet and at the same time help you get in the good books of Google.
Luckily, in the following article we will be looking into some highly effective yet cheap SEO tactics that you can apply today to increase your site’s ranking in Google and other search engines like Bing.
Cheap SEO Tactic #1: Create Long Form Blog Content
Google loves blog content. Why? Because it can deliver exceptional value to readers when done right. If you can create good quality, relevant content for your blog, then you can drive back laser targeted organic search traffic to your website and convert it into leads or sales. No wonder blogging is one of the most sought after content marketing best practices out there.
If you are thinking of creating content for your site, then you should focus on moving beyond the typical 500 – 800 word count.
By working on creating and publishing long form content, you achieve two important goals:
- You directly impress Google by providing in-depth, keyword-rich content that it wants to show to its users so that they derive the maximum value.
- You impress your visitors and get them to spend more time on your website, which decreases your bounce rate and increases the page duration. And indirectly tells Google your page is relevant and worthy.
According to a 2012 study, where over 20,000 keywords were analyzed, it was discovered that the average length of the pages in the top 10 search results was 2,000 words. They even studied the top three ranking websites and found out that the average word count was 2,400+.
This just goes on to show that long form content delivers value and gives people the information they are looking for. And Google knows this.
Even though many search users tend to use Google for finding quick answers and solutions, a good percentage of them use it to learn more about broad topics and delve deeper. Which is why the search engines are trying to help users find and use detailed, in-depth content.
The idea is to think from the end users point of view and create highly informative content that touches a topic from multiple angles. Because that’s how you get to increase your organic traffic over time and also answer many of your visitor’s questions.
While this is a cheap SEO tactic that almost always works when done consistently, you should never sacrifice quality for quantity. In other words, inflating an article just for the sake of increasing word count will definitely backfire. It not only makes a bad impression on your visitors, but also on Google. So when creating long form content, just say no to fluff and yes to quality.
Keep in mind that your readers need to derive real value from your content, which can only be possible if you keep quality in the forefront. It’s alright even if your publishing frequency isn’t high. As long as you are able to create long form content that lives up to the promise, you should see an improvement in your SEO traffic.
Cheap SEO Tactic #2: Update Your Old Content
When it comes to cheap SEO tactics, updating your old content is easy and free to apply. And it can give great results in terms of helping you improve your rankings. The best part about doing this is you can keep updating your content over the years to maintain your rank.
While creating and publishing original content is necessary, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of the “updating your old content” tactic. Because it is a known fact that original content becomes less fresh with time, and freshness is a factor that Google uses to determine if your website is relevant and high quality.
When Google finds out that you have new content updated on your site, you’ll see more organic search traffic coming your way. Which makes this simple and cheap SEO tactic totally worth it.
What Content Should You Update?
There may be a lot of content on your website, but you should start with articles that are already receiving high traffic. Which means old and informative blog posts that you created a long time ago can prove to be a goldmine.
However, if your website is new and doesn’t have a lot of content, then you may want to skip this tactic and focus on other important things such as creating more original content and building backlinks. As you move forward and your website matures, you can take advantage of it in the future.
Tips to Update Your Content the Right Way
Once you have a list of pages that you want to update, you can apply the following tips to get going:
Switch to Last Updated Timestamp
Your blog posts have a timestamp that can be changed from “published on” to “last updated” once certain changes have been made to the content. This little move shows that your content is up-to-date and is fresher. However, make sure you’ve actually made significant changes to the content before taking this step. Your readers should be able to derive more value out of it and not see it as filler content.
Add More Useful Content
One of the most efficient ways to add value to your old content is to thicken it with even more useful content. This not only makes your content more trustworthy in the eyes of your readers, but also increases the chances of getting long tail search traffic.
So what kind of additional, sub-sections can you add to your content? For starters, you can look at your other recent, shorter content pieces to get ideas. Or you can also get ideas from Google’s “people also ask” feature:
All you need to do is enter your query and Google will show you these terms that are highly relevant to your topic. You may find some gold nuggets with this feature alone. Ideas that will take your content to the next level.
Update the Title Tag
Updating the title of your post may not seem like a big deal, but it can definitely help you get more traffic. Changing your title so that it is a lot more clickable can make a difference. But see to it that it doesn’t come at the cost of your current rankings. If you can work on your title without changing the keyword placement and make it more attention grabbing, go for it.
If you need help with tweaking your title tag for the best, you may want to look in your Google Search Console to get an idea of the keywords that are getting you the most impressions. Not sure what we’re talking about? Ask us a question in the comments about where you’re stuck, and we’ll help.
Cheap SEO Tactic #3: Leverage the Power of Internal Linking
There’s zero doubt that publishing quality content on a regular basis can and will help you improve your search engine ranking. It can help you attract relevant links and fetch you more brownie points from Google.
However, a cheap SEO tactic that many seem to ignore is proper internal linking. Your content and external links may be helping your SEO, but so will your internal links when done carefully.
Yes, external links matter to a great extent, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the importance of internal links on your site.
Here are a few reasons as to why you need to focus on internal linking:
Help Search Crawlers
Now, internal links are known to help readers find more relevant content, spend quality time on your site and basically decrease your bounce rate. But did you know that carefully done internal linking can give the search engines a better picture of your website? That’s right, internal links help search engines like Google know what your site stands for and what exactly it is about.
For example, let’s say that you have a super-informative guide that you published, which you try to link out to from your other smaller blog posts. Google understands that this page of yours is important because of the many internal links that lead to it. Which boosts the chances of your “guide” ranking for your targeted keywords.
Direct link equity
Link equity, which used to be called “link juice”, happens to be a search engine ranking factor that shouldn’t be ignored. The idea behind link equity is that certain links on your site pass their authority/value to other pages.
Now, the overall linking structure of your website plays a key role in how link equity is to be distributed throughout your website. Any off-page SEO efforts that you may be putting into your site will fetch you even better results when you focus on proper internal linking.
Every digital marketer knows that building quality external links to a page is not a walk in the park. It’s a challenging part of SEO that many don’t get right. Which in a way makes backlinks a strong ranking factor.
The equity that you earn by attracting links to your valuable pages such as your cornerstone content can be effectively distributed to other pages with the help of internal links.
Also, there are times when you’ll find it difficult to gain external backlinks to certain pages because they are not link-worthy. For example, you will not find websites linking to blog archives or category pages. Why? Because there is little to no reward/incentive for linking. Unless you are giving people a commission on products sold through a page, it will not be easy getting others to link to your product pages without paying a lot of money for it.
However, if you want to stick to the cheap SEO tactics route then you can use the power of internal links and distribute link equity to such pages and help them rank better.
Conduct Regular Audits
When you add internal links, you’ll find that they require regular maintenance. And the only way to ensure they are consistently maintained is through site audits done from time to time.
Given that you are constantly adding value to your site, the pages will keep changing. And as new pages are added, and old ones removed, you’ll occasionally find broken internal links. And these can have a direct impact on your SEO and the user experience of your website. Which you don’t want.
So whenever you delete a page or migrate one, you also need to update the links that were one pointing to it. Redirect them to a new page or to another existing page that can serve the purpose.
Remember, if you want link equity to flow properly throughout your site from relevant external links, then it is important that you take care of any broken internal links right away. After all, it’s a cheap SEO tactic that doesn’t cost you much, but can help you immensely.
Cheap SEO Tactic #4: Improve Site Page Speed
Visiting a slow website is not a good experience for anyone. The Internet used to be slow and websites used to be heavy, but not anymore. Today, in the age of broadband, if your website doesn’t load on time, you’re losing more than just visitors. You’re losing business.
Also, people do not have patience to wait for a page to completely load, especially if they are visiting for the first time. It has been found that close to 55% of web users will leave a page if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less. What’s more, according to surveys conducted, 47% of consumers want the page to load in 2 seconds.
So the idea is to not make the visitor wait. Because longer page wait times equal more people exiting your site. In order to understand better why page speed is so important to focus on and how it can help your SEO efforts, let’s look into three main reasons:
- User Experience Cannot be Ignored
SEO and user experience go hand in hand. It wasn’t case in the early days of the search engines, but now, there is a real connection between the two. Google is known to analyze the relevancy of a website from different angles, many of them not known. And it continues to update its algorithm from time to time. And then there are other things such as machine learning, voice search, etc. All of this so that users have the best experience on Google.
Even the browsing experience gets affected due to a slow loading website. If your pages are loading lightening fast, you are going to be years behind your competition. And this can have an adverse effect on how Google sees your site.
Because if you’re offering a bad user experience to your visitors, then he or she will not think twice before hitting the back button and returning to the search results. And since Google keeps track of how many people are coming back to the search results, this can earn you positive or negative points in terms of SEO.
- Engagement Metrics Matter
There are many different engagement metrics that help you understand what kind of a user experience your website is giving visitors. Everything from click-through rate to the time spent on site to pages per visit, they all come under engagement metrics that you need to pay attention to.
If your website appears in the top 10 search results, it can end up getting more clicks than other sites ranking below you. And with more clicks coming your way, the CTR increases. This can in turn improve the relevancy of your site in the eyes of Google and other search engines. So by simply getting more people to click on your site in the SERPs, it can make a difference to your results.
Similarly, if your site’s bounce rate is fairly higher (referring to people who visit just one page of your site and leave), then you’re not giving to your readers what they want. Or the page that they visited is not relevant enough. If your site really meets the expectations of its users, you will have less people bouncing and going back to the search engine result pages.
Here’s the harm one second delay in your page load time does:
- It leads to 11% fewer page views (meaning decreased traffic)
- It causes an 8% loss in conversions (meaning less sales)
- It decreases customer satisfaction by 16% (meaning less repeat business)
The slower your site is, the more loss it experiences. So putting in a little effort to improve the speed can help you gain more business in the long run.
- Slow Page Speed Affects Crawl Budget
Google is the biggest search engine out there, and it got so big because it follows certain principles and has specific rules. It has many things already defined and allocated well in advance, and your “crawl budget” one such factor.
So what exactly is crawl budget?
We all know how Google has its own search bots also known as spiders or crawlers that help in indexing pages. The crawl budget is defined by Google as “the number of URLs Googlebot can and wants to crawl” for each site.
Can your website be found in the search engines if it doesn’t get crawled? Of course not. Crawling is the first step to indexing. When and if your pages load slow, your crawl budget may get exhausted before your whole website is crawled. Which means new pages on your site may get indexed at a slower pace, and any changes you make are processed late.
Successful SEO is about getting found by your target audience when they are searching for keywords related to your product or industry. However, that can only happen when your pages get crawled and are indexed on a regular basis.
No wonder the search engine giant is penalizing mobile sites that are slow. So the more you focus on having a lighter, speedier website, the better results you will see from your SEO efforts.
Remember, page speed is important not because Google thinks fast pages are cool. No, page speed matters to the search engines because it helps give users a better experience.
And a better experience is what we are all really looking for, right? Exactly. So if you need help improving your site in a cost effective way, consider using these cheap SEO tactics we just shared. Remember, even with these tactics, you’ll still need to continuously update and maintain your website in order for your SEO to be in good standing with search engines. If doing so is too much of a time commitment, take a few minutes to fill out this contact form, and we discuss some SEO services that will benefit you and save you time.