How to Do SEO for Free: Strategies for Small Businesses

Last Updated: 9 Feb, 2023

Small business owners often struggle with limited budgets and resources, making it challenging to allocate money toward content marketing and SEO. While investing in professional SEO services can be unaffordable for small businesses, you can perform search engine optimization (SEO) for free and improve your website’s visibility in search engines such as Google, Bing, and Baidu with the right strategies and techniques. 

Although doing SEO yourself for free may not achieve the same results as outsourcing the work to a professional, it’s still a viable alternative for small businesses looking to improve their online presence while saving their budget. In this article, we’ll explore how small businesses can effectively do SEO for free and drive more organic traffic to their website.

Define the Right Goal and Target Audience

Before starting any SEO efforts, it’s crucial for small businesses first to define their business goals and target audience. For example, a small bakery may want to increase online orders for their baked goods. Their target audience may be busy working professionals in the local area looking for convenient, high-quality food options. 

By clearly understanding its goals and target audience, the bakery can apply a local SEO strategy that targets keywords related to online food ordering and delivery and focuses on reaching busy working professionals in their local area, which helps create touchpoints with their target audience. By having a clear direction for their SEO strategy, small businesses can ensure that their efforts are aligned with their overall marketing goals and avoid wasting their budget.

Build a Simple Website

Website UX and SEO have a strong connection. A website with a good user experience is critical for small businesses to succeed in their SEO efforts. It can lead to increasing engagement, such as longer visit duration and lower bounce rates. Search engines like Google consider these metrics when ranking websites, making your website more likely to be favored in search results.

Small businesses may not have the budget to build a highly sophisticated website with excellent UX, but they can still create a functional and user-friendly website on a low budget. Platforms such as WordPress and other cheap website builders offer a range of templates and tools that make it easier for small businesses to create a website with a low budget. By setting the foundation with a well-designed and user-friendly website, small businesses can improve their chances of success in their SEO campaign.

Conduct Keyword Research

One of the most important aspects of SEO is choosing the right keywords to target. Keyword research involves finding the keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for and optimizing your website around those keywords. This helps you attract more visitors to your website and improve your search engine ranking.

To start your keyword research, use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to check the average monthly search volume for different keywords and the competition level for each keyword. Using this information, you can choose keywords relevant to your business and have a relatively low level of competition, making it easier for you to rank for those keywords.

SEO Keyword Research How to Do SEO for Free: Strategies for Small Businesses
Keyword research is crucial to SEO as it helps determine the most relevant and profitable keywords to target.

Optimize Your Website for On-Page SEO

On-page optimization is the process of making changes to your website to improve its search engine ranking. It includes optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and images. Here are some key on-page optimization techniques you can use:

  • Page Titles: Your page titles should be descriptive, concise, and contain your target keywords.
  • Meta Descriptions: Your meta descriptions should provide a summary of what each page is about and contain your target keywords.
  • Header Tags: Header tags, such as H1, H2, and H3 tags, help structure your content and make it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your pages. Using header tags also helps break your content into sections, increasing the readability and highlighting your target keywords.
  • Image Optimization: Optimize your images using descriptive file names and alt tags containing your target keywords. This help improves your website’s search engine ranking and provides a better user experience for those using screen readers.

Create High-Quality Quality Content

Creating high-quality and relevant content is essential for effective SEO. By providing value to your audience, you can attract organic traffic to your website and establish yourself as an authority in your industry. When creating content, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Focus on your target audience: Your content should be created with your target audience in mind. By understanding their needs, wants, and interests, you can write something relevant, valuable, and customized to your target audience.
  • Provide unique, in-depth information: Your content should provide unique, in-depth knowledge that is not readily available elsewhere. This helps you establish yourself as an authority in your industry and engage with visitors to your website.
  • Use keywords strategically: Use your target keywords throughout your content to improve your search engine ranking and help search engines understand the relevance of your content. But remember not to overuse keywords to ensure the content is easy to read. 

Build Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites that lead to your site. High-quality backlinks from reputable websites can help improve your search engine ranking and attract more organic traffic. Here are some strategies you can use to build backlinks:

  • Reach out to other website owners: Reach out to other website owners in your industry and ask them to link to your site. Offer to provide them with valuable content in exchange for a backlink.
  • Participate in online forums and communities: Participate in online forums and communities related to your niche and provide valuable information and insights. You can also include a link to your website in your forum signature or profile.
  • Create shareable content: Create shareable and valuable content for your target audience by doing exclusive research or sharing unique and insightful opinions on some hot topics. Encourage your visitors to share your website’s link on their websites and social media platforms.

Utilize Social Media to Boost your SEO

Social media can play a crucial role in helping small businesses improve their SEO efforts. Small businesses can drive traffic to their website, increase online visibility, reach their target audience, and build customer relationships by establishing a solid social media presence. 

Although Google does not directly consider social media as a ranking factor, a well-executed social media strategy can positively impact a small business’s website performance and help them gain valuable backlinks. Here are some tips for effectively using social media to boost your SEO efforts:

  • Choose the right platforms: Choose the social media platforms that are most relevant to your target audience and focus your efforts there.
  • Consistently post valuable content: Consistently post valuable content relevant to your target audience to attract followers and drive traffic to your site.
  • Engage with your followers: Engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages to build strong and healthy relationships, which help generate stable and recurring traffic to your website. 
social media SEO How to Do SEO for Free: Strategies for Small Businesses
Social media can positively impact SEO by driving traffic to a website and building relationships with target audiences, eventually helping to improve search engine rankings.

Monitor Your Website’s Performance

Finally, it’s essential to monitor your website’s performance to see how your SEO efforts impact your search engine ranking and traffic. You can use free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track your website’s performance. These tools provide valuable insights into your website’s traffic, search engine ranking, and other key metrics, allowing you to make informed decisions about your SEO strategy.

DIY SEO vs. Hiring a Freelance Professional: Which is the Better Option for Small Businesses? 

Using the strategies outlined in this article, you can effectively perform SEO for free and drive more traffic to your site. Remember, SEO is a long-term process, so be patient and consistently apply these strategies to see the best results. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and adjust your plan as needed based on your website’s performance. Also, Keep in mind that SEO is constantly evolving, and it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

While it is possible to perform SEO for free, small businesses can also consider hiring a freelance SEO specialist to help them achieve their SEO goals. Freelancers often have the expertise and knowledge needed to perform SEO effectively and can provide a range of services to help small businesses improve their search engine ranking and drive more organic traffic to their websites.

Hiring an SEO freelancer can be a cost-effective option for small businesses looking to improve their SEO, as they can provide their services for a relatively low budget compared to a full-service agency. Freelancers can also offer a more personalized approach to SEO, allowing small businesses to target their specific goals and needs. When hiring a freelancer, choosing someone with experience in SEO and a proven track record of success is important. Look for a freelancer who understands the latest SEO trends and techniques and is willing to work closely with you to achieve your goals.

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