How to improve your SEO efforts & cut marketing spend

You don’t need to break the bank to get your business seen online. Sure, you could invest in paid social ads and sponsored content, but with a whole world of SEO at fingertips, why bother? Here’s a handy guide on cutting your marketing spend and improving your SEO.

Do your keyword research (well)

On the topic of keywords, it’s important not to forget how important they are for your brand’s SEO. Keyword research helps you move up the SERPs by targeting words and phrases that your customers use in their web searches.

Identify primary keywords that relate to your business and that your customers will most likely use if they search for your business. Once you’ve got these, establish secondary keywords that are even more specific to your business.

Once you’ve got these words and phrases, use them to create keyword-rich content that matches what your audience is searching for. Creating useful and helpful articles that caters to your customers’ demands will boost traffic to your site and let crawlers look upon your website more favourably.

Keyword research is something that brands can do themselves in-house easily and for free (or at least very affordably). There are numerous free tools available on the web such as Keyword Tool and Ubersuggest that can help you build up some good keyword research knowledge.

There are also online resources such as Moz that offer comprehensive courses for beginners to learn more about the intricacies of SEO.

Eradicate duplicate content

Duplicate content is exactly what it says it is: it’s content that appears more than once on the internet. This can happen when content is plagiarised from around the web, or due to URL structural issues. Search engines have trouble identifying which is the original piece of content, and it can therefore negatively impact your site’s SEO.

You can combat this by using the rel=canonical function in your site’s HTML to tell the search engine crawlers where the original content lies, and that they should disregard duplicate versions. And when you’re creating content, make it original and high quality. Simply rewriting articles from other sites virtually word-for-word will be picked up, so try to keep it fresh.

Do content marketing right the first time round, and you will only have to do it once….

Get mobile-ready and responsive

75% of smartphone owners use their mobile first and foremost to complete searches. As more and more people use their mobile devices to search, the importance of a website that is mobile-friendly grows. Recognising this, search engines now rank websites with a responsive, user-friendly design higher than those without. (And Google has recently also switched to a mobile-first index, meaning that mobile sites alone are used to determine rankings).

For your brand, that means ensuring that your website provides an optimum user experience (UX) for your customers. Lay out your content in such a way that it adapts to a smaller mobile-screen, and if you have lots of videos on your site, embed them with YouTube for easy viewing. Use a free online responsiveness checker to make sure your website is user-friendly.

A mobile-first site will help you stay competitive in today’s marketplace and ensures content and brand longevity online.

Spend time on content, not money

Everyone knows by the now the oft-repeated mantra that “content is king”. But are you bowing to that king, or committing high treason?

Content is one of the most important aspects of your brand’s SEO, and it’s also one of the cheapest too. Regularly creating and sharing engaging content on your business’s website or blog boosts your standing in the eyes of the search engine crawlers.

And be sure to invest in long-form content while you’re at it. While the optimum length varies depending on who you ask (some say 300 words, some say as many as 2000), creating long-form posts gives you more chance to work in relevant keywords into your text. It also gives your readers more value as they can glean much more from your content.

And content isn’t just good for SEO either. It can be used again and again through your marketing efforts, whether it’s in your email campaigns, press releases, or even in an informative ebook for customers. Find ways to make your content work harder from you, and reap the SEO rewards of traffic and sales. Content is king, and there’s plenty of reasons why!

There are plenty of marketing channels out there that you can pay for and receive a modicum of success. But when you’ve got the power to improve your SEO efforts while barely spending a penny, why bother? Do your keyword research and create compelling content, and really ramp up your SEO game.

Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

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