We’ve read the blogs, we’ve heard the talks, we’ve seen the case studies.
Big brands are winning at SEO.
- A team of experts working on fine-tuning their tech.
- A world-class agency planning their next digital PR campaign.
- A fund for stationery that rivals your entire year’s marketing budget.
It can feel demoralizing as a marketer with a small SEO budget to hear those stories. Their success can feel completely out of reach.
That doesn’t have to be the case.
If you are working with a small SEO budget for your brand or your agency’s client you can still have success.
The key to building a winning SEO strategy when you are low on funds is learning to prioritize.
Read on to learn the top 12 ways you can prioritize, structure, and run SEO campaigns that will bring exceptional ROI from your small budget.
1. Identify How Your Budget Limits You
This is a crucial first step. A small budget often means you are having to compromise in some areas. Regardless of whether you are working in-house, in an agency or as a freelancer, small budgets often mean:
Lack of Time
If your client has a small marketing budget then you are likely to be very limited in how much time you can dedicate to their SEO each month.
Similarly, if you work in-house for a brand with a small budget then your time is probably shared amongst other channels, too.
A small budget often means you are not given enough time to do all of the work you want to.
If you are working with a small SEO budget you might not have access to all the fancy tools you think you need. Extensive keyword trackers, backlink identifiers and log-file analyzers can be quite expensive.
If you are working for an agency you may have access to these, but in-house marketers on a small budget are unlikely to.
If you have a limited SEO budget as a brand marketer, chances are you don’t have an array of SEO experts at your fingertips.
Even as an agency marketer working with clients who don’t have much budget means your SEO team is probably not highly specialized. This can leave serious gaps in your knowledge that could be hampering your SEO efforts.
Money for Assets
A lack of money often means that you don’t have the budget for work outside of your skill-set. If you want to plan an outreach campaign, for example, you may feel blocked by the cost of asset creation.
For instance, you might have felt a designer, media producer and content manager would be crucial to get your idea off the ground.
Identifying what your SEO budget is, and is not, translating to in terms of your resources and knowledge gives you a good idea of what you should be prioritizing. It also helps you to stop wandering down paths that aren’t going to yield results.
2. Fill Those Gaps
If you know your budget means you cannot afford the best tools you may need to look at cheap or free alternatives.
There are ways to track rank, identify backlinks, and analyze log files without spending a fortune.
The options are usually just a little less shiny and require a bit more manual labor to get the same level of intel.
If it is time that you are short on then you may need to have a conversation with your team or your client about getting more.
I’ve heard of agencies who will sell SEO packages in at 3 or 4 hours a month. This is, in my opinion, hard to work with.
You may need to speak to your client about the limitations such a small commitment to SEO gives and perhaps show the possible increase were they to invest more.
Some in-house bosses are also unaware of how much time SEO analysis and implementation takes to carry out well.
If there is really no option to increase the time you have allocated to spend on SEO then you will need to be laser-focused on the work you do. See point 5 for more advice on that.
If it is a knowledge gap that you feel is holding you back then you need to know what your weaker areas are.
It may be that you are an excellent copywriter and feel that digital PR is your jam, but the technical side of SEO is still a bit baffling to you. This can be your opportunity to develop your skills. – Read more