SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a valuable and powerful tool to reach your customers and generate traffic to your website, but it isn’t free. Fortunately, there are several ways to cut costs when SEO’ing a site. Here are 5 cost-effective SEO ideas for small businesses.

1.) Internal Linking and Backlinks

This is an oldie but a goodie. Internal linking (linking within the website to other relevant pages) is important for both SEO and user experience since it helps users navigate your site. It’s very simple to do with most blogging platforms like WordPress or Tumblr; simply make sure that each page has links to at least 2 or 3 other pages on the site and Google will index those pages more effectively. Creating links to your site that point directly to a page with relevant content will help Google recognize that page’s relevance. Scour forums, blogs, social networks, and other sites for relevant blog posts and articles related to your industry. Then reach out to the site’s owners or authors and ask if they would like to exchange links. This is also a good time to ask them if you may leave a comment with a link pointing back to your website. If they’re open to this, include at least 1 quality, not promotional, link in your comment, and let it sit for at least a week. If their site is relevant enough to make it into your own blog post or article then you can send them an email or reach out on social media and ask if they would like to exchange links.

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2.) Images and Videos

Every business has a website these days, but do they have images? They should! Adding relevant pictures to your blog posts will help drive traffic from search engines, but they’ll also boost sharing on social networks like Facebook or Twitter. In fact, adding an image to a Facebook post can increase engagement by 25%!

3.) Content Strategy

Adding fresh content to your website is essential for SEO. If you’re not creating new blog posts regularly then go back into your archive and update old posts. You should always have more than one page targeting each keyword since Google likes variety; changing up your content every few months will also help drive traffic to your site.

4.) Localized Search

By localizing search terms in the title, in the URL, in the content, in H1 tags, and within image ALT text you can improve your site’s ranking for local searches. This means you should have your business name in the title, an existing city in the URL, mention the location within the content and create pages for each specific location.

5.) Local Directories

Getting listed in local directories can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort to build more inbound links for your site. Google counts directory listings as “no-follow” links, so they don’t hurt your overall rank. But these listings can bring in business so it’s worth the effort to get listed!

Search Engine Optimization is an important part of any online marketing strategy, but there are lots of cost-effective ways to boost SEO that won’t break the bank. If you’re not currently taking advantage of SEO check out these 5 cost-effective ways to grow your small business.

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