SEO on a Budget: Simple Strategies that Work

Search engine optimization can have a relatively low cost for a high ROI, but sometimes there is no budget at all to spend on tools and software. Here’s four basic SEO improvements you can make to your site on your own (though they will take time and effort to do correctly).

Tip #1 Keyword Research

If you’ve researched SEO to any extent, you’ve definitely heard the importance of keyword research lecture. Though this topic has been written about to ad nauseam, it’s still an extremely vital part of SEO. Keyword research can show you what your customers are looking for. The language customers search with can give away valuable information such as the searchers’ level of expertise and how far down in the conversion funnel they are. As you are researching, you will notice how the keywords will start to naturally fall into groups. These groups will inform you of ways to organize and improve your current pages as well as identify new pages that you should create.

Keyword research tools help you quickly identify relevant search terms to target. Larger keyword research tools can come a hefty monthly or yearly price tag, but don’t fret if you are doing small business SEO on a limited marketing budget. There many free keyword research tools to out there to help you kickstart your SEO today.

Tip #2 Optimize Compelling Meta Tags

Optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions is a free and easy way to quickly improve your SEO. While your meta data doesn’t directly impact your website’s rank, it can help improve your site’s click-through rate in the search engine results. Use this opportunity to stand out from other search results because this may be the first impression many customers have of your site. Your title tags and meta description should entice searchers to click on your link and inform them what they will find if they do. Follow our guideline on how to stand out in the search results and increase click-through rate.

Tip #3 Create and Optimize Great Content

Your website’s content is what provides value to visitors. Content answers user queries, helps them discover related information, and builds trust. This can lead to the sharing of your content, lead generation, or an increase in conversions. All great things, right?

Content is also great for SEO. It would be difficult, if not impossible in most cases, to rank well for keywords that aren’t framed in informative or valuable content. Web crawlers can read your page’s content to determine if it matches search, meaning, if it would be useful to searchers. This is why it is so important to create well-written, informative, and unique content. Use your expertise and the keywords you found during your research to increase the relevancy of your content and optimize for search engines. To improve content even further, structure the content with appropriate title tags to improve user experience and help crawlers better understand the content.

Tip #4 Optimize Your Site Structure

Your site structure is the organization of your website’s content. Though organizing a site yourself is a bit of a manual task, an organized structure is valuable to your site in several ways. A well-organized site will improve your website’s user experience because a structured navigation will help customers find answers or products quickly and efficiently. Your site’s internal link structure (created by site structure) will also help show Google which pages of your site are the most important, the pages you want to rank highest in the search engines. Internal links pointing from subcategories to categories, for example, tells Google that your category pages are more important. This will help prevent your pages from competing with each other in the search results. Check out this guide from Reliablesoft on improving your site structure.

Continue to Improve

Improve your SEO today by following these tips. Continue to work to make your site more valuable to searchers and you will see your rankings improve and your organic traffic increase. Once you get the basics down, try using one of the many free SEO tools out there to further improve your site.

Why is SEO Important for Small Businesses?

As a small business owner, you often feel like a jack of all trades. You are responsible for overseeing your finances, managing your staff, and marketing your company to grow your business. Many small business owners feel overwhelmed at the realm of responsibilities they manage, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may not be on their radar as a priority. However, a well-managed SEO campaign can have long-lasting results by growing revenue and positively impacting your business’s visibility online. So, let’s dive into some of the most important reasons why SEO is beneficial for small businesses:

SEO Increases Brand Recognition

SEO is designed to make your website easily accessible to search engines while appealing to the users who are utilizing those search engines. The traffic that flows to your site from search engines is called organic traffic. By attracting organic traffic to your site, your company’s brand recognition is elevated. This is especially important for any new business working to gain visibility in front of a new customer base. SEO helps you gain visibility in front of those customers who have already determined a need for the product or service you offer but have not yet heard of your brand. 

Search Engines Generate the Most (Well-Qualified) Customers

As a business owner efficiency is key, especially on your profit & loss sheet. Think about TV advertising for a moment. TV advertising requires a large spend to reach a big audience. However, only a small segment of that audience would qualify as your potential customer. SEO is different in that it directly connects you to qualified customers without the excessive spend to reach your target audience.

In addition, organic traffic typically contributes the largest share of visitors to a company’s website. This is why it is so essential to ensure your site is optimized appropriately. Failing to do so prevents you from receiving your share of qualified visitors, along with the revenue that is associated with those visits.

SEO Evens the Playing Field

As a small business, you could be competing with another business down the block, or a global corporation. Let’s say you own a coffee shop for example. How do you compete with the international coffee chains of the world with green-haired mermaids on their cups? SEO offers that opportunity. If someone is searching online for a coffee shop nearby, having an optimized website allows your business to display within the very same search results where larger businesses are getting listed. SEO levels the playing field by giving your business online visibility to well-qualified customers, allowing you to steal market share from larger competitors. 

SEO is Relatively Inexpensive

In terms of ROI, SEO is one of the best long-term investments you can make for your growing business. Unlike other forms of digital marketing, truly good SEO can make an impact that lasts several years. If you are a new business owner, constructing a strong SEO foundation for your website is critical to building your company’s digital presence in the marketplace. You can start by creating an organized site structure, designing the site to provide a good user experience, and writing optimized title tags and meta descriptions for your web pages. But it doesn’t end there. SEO is constantly evolving. And just like Google’s algorithms, best practices are updated regularly. So as your budget allows, you will need to hire a specialist who can commit the time necessary to grow your brand.

In today’s world, businesses can no longer afford to ignore their digital presence. With a little bit of guidance, SEO empowers you to set your business apart from the competition and highlight your unique selling points in a competitive market. If you have questions about your digital marketing, we’re here to help. Leverage Marketing is built on 17 years of digital marketing experience. Contact us to learn more about our vast array of services and discover how we can tailor a strategy to meet your needs.

The Benefits of Blogging for Your Business

It seems like today there’s a blog for every type of business, hobby, fad, profession, or problem. Why is there such a growing trend in writing blogs? The answer as to why more businesses than ever have begun creating weekly or monthly blogs is simple, to increase traffic. It might not seem like it but blogging for your business can be one of the greatest marketing tactics in your company’s tool belt. Everyone wants more traffic and visitors, blogging is an easy way to get them. Take a look inside what business blogging really is and discover a new way to increase your online visibility, traffic, leads, conversions, and retention.

What Is Business Blogging?

Business blogging is a marketing tactic that uses content written into a blog structure to accumulate more online traffic and visibility for your business. A blog is an online journal with a conversational tone discussing unique topics. Blogs speak to a variety of audiences and are updated frequently. A business blog is a direct marketing channel, similar to social media or email marketing, that can help drive your company’s growth. Blogs have the opportunity to cover a range of topics and in result, can fuel tons of visitors and readership. As the popularity of your blog or blog topics grow, you’ll start to receive increased traffic from other sites, social media, and search engine results.

Best Benefits Blogs Bring to Your Business

Blogging can be the answer you’re looking for to solve your stagnant online efforts.  It simultaneously attracts more engagement while providing your site with new and fresh content. Help liven up your social media and engage with new customers from increased SEO efforts.

Increase traffic:  Even though you might have an excellent and appealing website, its pages probably haven’t been updated anytime recently. Adding a blog post gives you the advantage to add an additional indexed page to your website, resulting in the opportunity for you to show up in search engine results and drive increased consumer-connections. If you’re smart, use your blog for interesting and original social media content and engage a new audience.

Humanize your brand and establish expertise: Blogs give your company an individual way to connect with your target audience. The best business blogs answer common questions and cover topics their customers are interested in. It’s an unparalleled way to establish your brand as an expert in the field and give a personal voice and tone to connect with consumers. Share important industry-related information and trends, while gaining top-of-mind recognition and familiarity with your audience.

Convert traffic into leads: With increased traffic to your website thanks to your blog, you now have the opportunity to convert that traffic into leads and lasting customers. Include a call-to-action in your blogs to encourage engagement from the audience. Research proves the more pages a site has, the more leads it gets. It’s important to update your blog frequently to stay relevant to increase conversion rates. Each new blog post is a new page with the opportunity to generate a new lead.

Build Long-Term Results from Blogging

Blogs give your company the ability to stay relevant for weeks and months to come. Now that you have a blog ranking in search engine results, the effort you’ve already put in can transform into hundreds or thousands of views and leads in the future. An active blog sends consumers the message your business is alive, flourishing, and maintained. According to HubSpot, companies who prioritize blogging experience a 13X increase in ROI, year after year. High-quality content drives increased traffic from search results and enables a greater conversion rate. Increase traffic to your website by engaging new customers with fresh content and increase your brand loyalty at the same time. Blogs have the opportunity to make your company stand out as a leader and an expert.

The greatest benefit of blogging is the opportunity it gives your company to attract new traffic to your website by working closely with search engine optimization and social media. You are able to strengthen your website with fresh content and increase your social visibility and reach. When prospective customers find answers to their common questions on your blog page, they are much more likely to want to buy as the relationship has been founded on trust and education. Business blogging has great scalability that in return can substantially increase traffic and reach, heightened consumer engagement and industry expertise, and create long-term visibility from blogs ranking in organic searches.

The Power of Email Marketing

Perfecting your email marketing campaigns helps grow and maintain client bases. Not only is email marketing an effective digital marketing strategy for small and large local marketers (ranked as a top-three performing channel), but it’s easy to use and highly cost-effective. If you’re operating email campaigns that can see room for improvement, or you’re considering implementing campaigns for the first time, know your email efforts are not in vain – you’re headed in the right direction, my fellow content marketers. Here’s why.

It’s Cost-Effective

Compared to other digital marketing strategies, email marketing is very cost-effective – if it’s done right. Many email service providers are free, or only around $10 a month with a certain number of subscribers. MailChimp, MailerLite, and SendinBlue all fall under this category. When looking for a low-cost, high-value service offering, consider one of these affordable service providers to leverage company profits with the click of a button.

It’s Easy to Do

Email marketing is easy to facilitate because its technical components can usually be managed within one email service provider. The four main components of email marketing are:

  • capturing email addresses
  • managing lists and campaigns
  • designing email campaigns
  • delivering campaigns

Capturing and managing addresses in one place is one of the most appealing reasons to use email service providers. Keeping track of addresses in personal emails (or worse – in documents or notepads) will cause major headaches down the road. Instead, find comfort in handling all important emails in one place. It’s easy, organized, and highly effective.

Cross-promoting your services is also simple with the use of address acquisition products. Privy and MailMunch are two tools that make connecting websites, landing pages, and social campaigns to email lists as easy as pie. And who doesn’t like pie?

But, seriously – there’s a lot of thought that goes into constructing well-informed email campaigns. Make your job easier by consolidating all information and resources into one handy-dandy platform.

And let’s not forget about design. These days, the best emails are created with users in mind. Most users will open emails on phones and mobile devices, so they need to look polished to inspire a response. Email service providers make the design process easy by providing templates and design tools necessary for creating beautiful emails you can’t resist scrolling all the way through.

After you’re done creating your campaign, effortlessly send emails to target audiences with the click of a button. Email service providers make the process fast and easy by offering the tools you need to create killer campaigns.

It Doesn’t Take a Lot of Time

Emailing doesn’t require your attention 24/7. Unlike social media, email marketing can be performed periodically and when you want. Weekly or monthly newsletters may be all your business needs to stay top of mind for customers. Newsletters like these ensure customers stay informed about events happening in the area or once-in-a-lifetime deals. It only takes one nice email to remind loyal customers why they fell in love with your business in the first place.

Plus, sending out newsletters is a good way to reach customers organically. Unlike posting content to large audiences on social platforms, emails are sent to individuals with personal touches. This makes a big difference in the psyche of customers who open emails tailored to their purchasing history, their actual names, and that announces community events they’ll likely care about. Email can be personalized – and customers like that.

It Offers Concrete Feedback

Email strategy relies on sending things and getting things back. These things are 1) campaigns tailored to target audiences offering a unique service or informing audiences of events, etc. and 2) responses by customers in the form of purchases, donations, and more. Because the nature of email marketing relies on the sending and receiving of things, it’s easy to measure successes and failures. If campaigns launch without much feedback, you’re likely doing something wrong. It’s clear to know when you need to go back to the drawing board and re-think your strategy.

One common reason for low response rate is poor content. Want to avoid flat, impersonal content? We do, too – here’s how to leverage email success.

Email Personalization 101

Alongside growing subscriber lists (a topic deserving of its very own blog post), creating personalized content is key. We turned to our friends at Campaign Monitor to better understand the ins and outs of creating quality, personalized content, which can take the form of basic, medium sophistication, and advanced sophistication content creation.

Basic Personalization

From Name

This is a prominently displayed element many users rely on to know who is sending the email. Make sure to personalize your ‘from name’ with your company’s known title. 68% of Americans decide to open or ignore emails based on From Names. Names can even be personalized to show account managers and their profile pictures, allowing customers to associate emails with managers they’ve worked with in the past.

Subject Lines

This line follows the From Name and, depending on its structure, determines user engagement. Research by Campaign Monitor shows that including the individual names in subject lines increases open rates by 26%. Wow! Personalizing one-liners like these prompts customers to open emails. Email service providers make this task easy by storing names and corresponding emails so you don’t have to manually type recipients’ names into every subject line.

Medium Sophistication Personalization


Now is the time to get a little more personal (or use any personal details you can find) to tailor the content of your email to the individual. Inserting the name of the user into the first line of your message is a common strategy, extending personalization down from the Subject Line. Company names and t-shirt sizes can be stored in campaign builders, allowing for easy access when compiling them into messages.


The same strategy applies to images. Designing campaigns with pictures unique to the users’ city, for example, increased Campaign Monitors click-through rate by 29% in one study.

Dynamic Content

Demographic and geographic data can be leveraged to create dynamic content speaking to subgroups of customers. Select email service providers make this easy with tools designed to send emails to individuals identifying with a specific gender or who live in certain zip codes.


It never hurts to ask if customers want to keep hearing from you. Send them emails saying you miss them. It doesn’t get more human than that. If they haven’t visited your site in a while or purchased any of your amazing products, ask if they still want to hear from you. If your content is appealing, they’ll remember why they loved you so much in the first place and won’t be able to resist your email charms.

Advanced Sophistication Personalization

Product Recommendations

Rely on customers’ most recent purchases to better understand buying behavior. Then, send them emails with similar products they simply can’t resist. Even if they don’t buy your products, users will be tempted to click on images of apparel or products they want to wear or use. With behavior analytics, you have the key to your customer’s heart.

VIP Loyalty

Reward your best (or highest paying) customers with VIP rewards. These emails offer promotional discounts or never-before-seen products to customers who’ve proven their loyalty. Based on spending threshold and user engagement, systems like Shopify create relevant campaigns specific to the individual’s shopping and spending habits.

Purchase Abandonment

We all get a little online-shopping crazy sometimes. This happens when we fill online carts with more items than we actually want to purchase. But don’t fret. You’ll be reminded of all the items you left behind. Retailers like Birchbox gather individuals’ website behaviors and follows up with relevant emails. Remember those couple of eyeshadows you didn’t end up purchasing? They’ll appear in an email a couple days later asking if you still want them. Strategies like these tempt your most loyal customers.

Multiple Uses, Personalized Touches

Whether you’re a small business owner or a well-known retailer, email marketing helps. Email marketing is a strategy growing in strength due to developments in data analytics and email marketing systems.

In 2017 alone, 90.4% of internet users sent at least one email a day in the United States. That’s a lot of people relying on email as a form of communication. When sophisticated, well-thought-out campaigns are sent directly to individuals, expect to receive awesome results – or at least informative ones because email marketing is predictable and concrete. Really, there’s nothing to lose. Get started perfecting your email marketing strategies today and stay ahead of the game. You and your customers will be glad you did.