Driving traffic to your website is essential. But how do you do that? How do you improve SEO on a budget for your website? Can you improve SEO on a budget at all?
Although SEO is a complicated topic, here are some basics you should know about improving SEO, no matter your budget.
SEO Services aren’t always necessary
Every single month, ya’ll.
Every single month one of my web design clients forwards me an email from some company promising to make them rank on top of Google, for a hefty price. My response is always the same:
“Google said in their most recent hangout on the topic they want to see content-rich, relevant websites, and they don’t want to see people trying to skirt the system by paying for better SEO!”
Google offers free (FREE!!!) workshops, called Hangouts, on a fairly regular basis in which they try to drill this into everyone’s head, and yet, everyone still runs around looking for a shortcut, or even trying to sell someone a shortcut for thousands of dollars.
There are no shortcuts in Search Engine Optimization.There are no short cuts in Search Engine Optimization. #SEO #homebusiness Click To Tweet
That’s not to say it wouldn’t be helpful to have a legit SEO expert look over your website to help you see where you might improve things, especially if this is all Greek to you.
Having a neutral third party look at your “baby” with a fresh pair of eyes and no emotional connection to your business is never a bad thing, if you’re up for some tough love (I did it, myself). However, there are some simple things website owners can try on their own which Google recommends. Other search engines do too.
What is SEO anyway?
You might wonder, what on earth is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
Basically, it means optimizing your website so search engines notice it. And thus rank higher when someone Googles keywords relating to your website. I discussed keywords for your website in more detail in another article on the topic here.
The higher you rank on Google for the topic your website covers, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website organically.
SEO on a Budget: Bouncy or Sticky?
However, we don’t just want people to find the website which might happen with some of these search engine optimization services.
We want them to stay there.
Website owners want regular visitors who come back.
We want them to interact with your content, right? Leave comments, share content on their social media, tell their friends, book mark your site, maybe even click an ad or buy something in your online store?
That’s the point, isn’t it?
You can get people to show up, but you also want them to stick around.
The technical terms here really are sticky and bounce rate.
The Bounce Rate is the percentage of your visitors that leave without visiting over one page on your website. You can find this out by installing Google Analytics on your website (a free service) and observing the details in your Google Analytics dashboard. Not only will you see how many people leave after one page, but you will also see how long the average person stays at your site.
A website is “sticky” if it’s done so well that people want to stick around. Usually you can help make the website stickier by linking your content together, offering related content leads, and helping your visitors find their way around.A website is described as “sticky” if it’s done so well that people want to stick around. Click To Tweet
I’m reformatting my website, and the information architecture, to make my website stickier. I want people to stick around. After a few minor adjustments, my bounce rate dropped by 10% and the time people spent on my website increased by 5 minutes on average. The larger changes I’m planning will hopefully improve this even more.
What does Google say about improving SEO on a budget?
It’s all about the content, honey. I like to think of it as the CURE. Say it with me. Content Rich. Useful to my Visitors. Relevant. Easy to use.
This is the heart of improving your SEO on a budget. These suggestions may take some time but they will improve your user experience. And they will improve SEO on a budget.It’s all about the content, honey. #SEO Click To Tweet
Create great content. Google and other search engines cannot “read” pictures and videos the same way it reads words on a page. By indexing your words, it gets a sense of what your website is about, and decides if they should point the searcher to your website. Think about this as you create your content.
Avoid jargon, cutesy words for things that others may not know to use when searching, and uncommon phrases. Think about what someone would type into a search engine to look for this exact content if they didn’t know about your site. Use that word or phrase at least once in the content.
Useful to my Visitors
It’s not enough to create lots of great content. You need content that others find useful. People share useful content, and they link to it from their own sites and social media profiles, which only helps your SEO. The more relevant incoming links you have pointing at your content from related sites, the more search engines like Google will see you as useful to visitors.
Create content relevant to your website’s purpose and goal. A website may have a broad scope (think Buzzfeed) but if it gets way too random, it becomes chaos. There should be some kind of common thread throughout the whole site, beyond the design.
Easy to Use
Make sure they can easily find your content once on your website. Your visitors should easily find their way around. A well design website makes sense to your average visitor. Link within posts to related content for more information.
Some of this involves the design of the site’s template or theme. Part of this is to interlink your posts and planning out your information architecture.
Again, the book Letting Go of the Words, Second Edition: Writing Web Content that Works is a great resource for this, as are the video courses on for SEO and Creating Content.