Over 5,000 people globally search for ‘affordable SEO’ or ‘Affordable SEO Services’ on Google each month. It’s fair to say it’s a service in demand. But, what constitutes affordable in the digital marketing industry for SEO services, and what exactly would a small business be getting with each service offered. Effective, low cost SEO services can be hard to come by. Let’s take a look at Affordable SEO Services for Small Businesses.
Affordable SEO Services for Small Businesses
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the practice of better optimising a website to help improve ranking positions on search engines.
Why would we want to improve our position on search engines? More website traffic, more enquiries and ultimately, more sales!
SEO consists of two main areas or classes, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. We’ll go into more detail on each of these later in the article, but here’s a brief summary:
On-page SEO is improvement made on the website itself, that you can directly control and influence.
Off-page SEO is improvements made away from your website, on other channels that can affect your website indirectly.
A Brief History of SEO Services
SEO has been around as long as search engines have existed, so over 25 years. While there have been listed rankings on search engines such as Google, people and businesses have wanted to improve those positions. As we said above, generally the higher a website ranks for a given search term or phrase, the more traffic it will receive. And, more traffic usually means more enquiries and sales.
When search engines first appeared in the mid 1990s, they were a relatively basic way to rank websites in order, according to certain keywords or phrases that appear in the web page title and content. SEO was pretty straightforward, but not necessarily fair. As search engine algorithms were pretty simple compared to today, it was really just a case of stuffing keywords into a website and page title to show your website was the most relevant.
This clearly made for a, shall we say, limited user experience! As text wouldn’t read naturally, full of keywords added at every opportunity.
Thankfully, as the years have passed, search engine have made significant improvements to search algorithms. Keyword stuffing is now useless and will hurt your chances of ranking high in organic searches.
Algorithms today are able to understand what a user is wanting to find, based on what they type and how they type it into a search. In other words, search intent.
Types of SEO
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is usually categorised into two areas, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Here’s a brief description of each:
On-page SEO is the optimisation on your website. Changes that can be made directly, and will allow Google and other search engines to learn what your website and business is about. Factors included in on-page SEO include; page title tags, meta descriptions, page headings, page content, URL structure, website security, web page loading speed, technical SEO issues and optimisation.
Off-page SEO is the optimisation of sources on the web that connect to your website, indirectly affecting it’s authority and ranking potential. These backlinks (links from other websites to yours), include; links from business directories, guest blog pieces, social media channels and press releases.
2020 Search Engine Statistics
Before we dive into Affordable SEO Services in 2021, let’s take a quick look at some statistics from search in 2020.
- 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search. (Brightedge)
- 92.96% of global traffic comes from Google search, Google Images, and Google Maps. (Sparktoro)
- 69.7% of search queries contain four words or more. (Ahrefs)
- 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google. (Ahrefs)
- 66.31% of pages have no backlinks. (Ahrefs)
SEO Services in 2021
As we’ve mentioned, gone are the days of filling website pages with hundreds of the same keyword. We need to demonstrate to Google and other search engines that our small business website is relevant to the user’s query, and useful.
Google uses the E-A-T abbreviation to define what it wants to see from a website:
Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness
Does your website demonstrate all of these requirements? Solving this initial challenge will help get your on-page SEO game off to a good start.
While including your relevant keywords and phrases is necessary, they don’t need to be peppered throughout each page of your website. Google understands synonyms, abbreviations and words related to your topic or industry.
Write your content for people, not search engines.
This is a good phrase to remember. Algorithms have been to developed to a level where they can understand what is relevant and useful to what a user wants to find, also allowing for incorrect grammar or spellings.
Website Ranking Factors in 2021
Ranking factors over the past few years have been about improving the user experience for Google. Other search engines have similar goals, but ultimately, the user needs to find the answer to their query in as little time as possible, with relevant, useful and up-to-date information.
Let’s take a look at the main 2021 ranking factors that will almost certainly influence your small business website position in organic search.
High Quality, Relevant and Useful Content
We know that Google wants the user experience to be as good as it can be. And, this involves giving the user the right information. Ensure content is well written, accurate and of a good length when working on your copywriting for SEO. There’s no point upping the word count for the sake of it, but if you can add value, do so. Consider linking to relevant sources from your pages and posts. For example, I might want to send you to view Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, as they are highly relevant to this article and Google are an indisputable authoritative source of information.
Google has what is known as its RankBrain algorithm, which is capable of establishing whether pages are useful and suit the needs of the user. The algorithm analyses whether users stay on a web page or click through to other pages of the same websites. As opposed to exiting immediately to look for a better source of the information. Also known as bounce rate.
Website Structure and User Experience
Quality website content is great. But, if a user can’t navigate through your website to easily find what they are looking for, that’s no good. It can be extremely frustrating trying to find your way around a website with broken links (links that go nowhere or result in a 404 error), poorly constructed menus or web page elements blocking each other.
Keep your website clean, with a well thought out menu structure. Group pages under relevant menus and limit how many levels of links your website has (see image below). Try to keep page URLs short and relevant to the topic or keywords for that page.
Mobile Friendly Websites
Today, around 60% of searches are made from a mobile device. Clearly this can’t be ignored when optimising a website for organic search. Heading back to site structure and user experience, make sure that the mobile version of your website demonstrates the same usability and ease of navigation.
Because a website or website builder platform offers a ‘mobile friendly’ version of your website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is 100% optimised and working as it should. Physically check each and every page of your website on various mobile devices. It’s often necessary to make adjustments dependant on mobile device or browser being used to access your website.
Google now ranks websites for both desktop and mobile, with often huge ranking position differences. The search engine will prioritise mobile first indexing, if the majority of your website users are accessing it from a mobile device.
High Quality Backlinks
Backlinks, or links from other websites to yours, demonstrate authority of your website to Google. Or it can do. Let me explain, a good quality link is a genuine referral from another source on the web. If for instance a well known SEO company was to link to this article as a source of information, that would be seen as a good quality, genuine referral. Google seeing hundreds of bought or unnatural links from spammy websites, would do more harm than good. And Google is good at fishing out the genuine backlinks from the spam. Today, mass generated or bought backlinks can lead to Google penalties, also known as manual actions.
Typically a solid backlink is one earned, based on content quality, rather than one bought or requested.
Domain security is a factor affecting the trustworthiness of a website, and is demonstrated by having an SSL certificate, which is shown by the https:// prefix in a website URL.
Most websites today are secure, and with most hosting providers, it’s a simple one click task to add your SSL certificate. This is particularly important for e-commerce websites that handle customer information and card payment details.
What’s New for SEO in 2021?
As we head into 2021, the focus for Google in particular is further expanding on user experience. One of the many factors, and one we mention earlier, is site speed.
Website and page loading speed isn’t a new factor that contributes to ranking in organic search. But, in 2021 we’ll see some further page loading related metrics to focus on for SEO. Let’s take a look at Core Web Vitals:
Google’s Core Web Vitals focus on more in-depth metrics associated with page loading and how they affect the overall user experience.
As you can see from the image above, the new ranking signals to be introduced will include metrics for Loading, Interactivity and Visual Stability. Any website can be analysed for free using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This provides a comprehensive look at how a website loads, and what may need attention before the update rolls out.
Many of the issues reported in PageSpeed Insight have guidance on how to correct the various issues. WordPress websites are at an advantage here, as many of the issues can be resolved with simple updates or optimisation via plugins.
How Much does SEO Cost?
Unfortunately, this is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions. It depends.
It depends on how you want to approach the task for your small business website. If you want to do the SEO yourself, then it can be completely free, unless of course you decide to look at paid guest posts for building backlinks, as one example. A lot of UK small businesses tend to find professional and Affordable SEO Services, to have SEO handled for them.
The information on SEO and the main ranking factors for 2021 above, will give you a decent start in performing your own website SEO. And, that might just be enough, depending on your target market, keywords & phrases, and competition for these.
However, many small businesses or start-up businesses rely on the experience of an affordable SEO agency to optimise their website. The right low cost SEO package can be hard to come by for a smaller business with a limited budget, as many SEO agencies are geared towards larger companies with a considerably larger marketing budget.
The cost for SEO in the UK can range from £100 per month to over £5000 per month, depending on the scale of your online operation and the keywords, phrases or products you wish to actively target.
Now, at a first glance this may seem expensive. But, consider the time required to rank a basic website based on the factors above, and then consider a large e-commerce website with hundreds or thousands of products. It’s a time consuming and specialist task.
That said, as a smaller business, the chances are, you won’t have hundreds of pages or products to optimise, and you just want your website appearing higher up the rankings to promote your products or services. Affordable SEO Services could be the answer for your business.
Where to find Affordable SEO Services
So, we’ve given you an overview of SEO, it’s history, ranking factors and the typical cost of SEO in the UK. Where do we find these Affordable SEO Services to promote your small business website?
Now, we’re a little biased here, as we specialise in affordable SEO packages for smaller or start-up businesses based in the UK. Without going overboard on our own services, we invite you to take a look and see if we might be a fit for your business.
Not for you? No problem! Here’s what to look for in an affordable SEO agency:
- Transparent pricing – we see so many SEO agencies with cryptic messages and promises, without any actual pricing listed. Look for a clear indication of prices and what they include.
- Ongoing contracts – will you be tied into a minimum term contract for SEO services, or so you have the option to cancel if the results aren’t what you expected, ie. a rolling monthly contract.
- Testimonials – look for verified reviews and testimonials from clients. When was the last review left, and can the reviews be verified outside of the agency’s website?
- Where is the agency based? – You may believe that a search on Google UK might display UK businesses and agencies only, however they can include international results. Look also for address & contact details on the agency website. Non-genuine or new agencies may not choose to include a full address or complete set of contact information.
- Case studies – most genuine SEO agencies will either list details of client case studies or results, or will make them available on request.
One final word of advice, beware of ‘cheap SEO Services’. If the pricing is too cheap compared to other agencies viewed during your research, the chances are you’ll get very little benefit or increase in ranking positions. Inexperience in SEO can cost you, both financially and quite possibly in the long term ranking and authority of your website.
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Contact us today to see how we can boost your business online, with our Affordable SEO Services.