The answer: Local SEO can be free if you stick to Google applications
There are hundreds of SEO applications that promise they’ll help you get better rankings, more customers and more revenue. Some of these apps are free; many offer a free trial with a fairly hefty financial commitment when that trial ends. Do your research, but if you stick with Google’s suite of SEO applications, SEO can be free.
Local SEO strategy
It’s up to you to do some research and decide which application(s) best meets your needs. Most of us don’t have the bandwidth or budget to manage our clients, our lives and also be ramping up to multiple applications—there’s always a learning curve. Choose one or two apps that will deliver the most functionality. Read reviews and check with friends and colleagues who may be using these apps.
To start with: You may want to invest in a website checker—an app that will scan your site and identify issues that are impeding good SEO—missing H tags on headings, broken links, missing alt descriptions on your images and even unique metadescriptions for each page. These are the things that your web guy isn’t going to do. Small things, yes, but collectively these add up.
Best local SEO tools
While Google makes us all crazy, it does offer powerful free tools. This is not out of a spirit of generosity; rather, we need these tools if we’re going to be doing Google ads—that uber-lucrative business from which Google rakes in an estimated $100K/day.
You’ll find that the big enterprise SEO apps get expensive–Moz, HubSpot, SemRush, Ahrefs, etc. These applications are excellent, with great customer support.
Can I do SEO for free?
Yes. You can go a long ways toward managing SEO, including online ads, with Google’s free suite of tools. The following list includes descriptions of Google’s tools.
Local SEO for small businesses
- Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool lets you can track page speed on both mobile and desktop devices. Page speed is fundamental. If your site takes too long to load, you’ll lose your audience and everything else is irrelevant.
- Google Analytics monitors activity and data. This is all the data you need about your site–tracking traffic, drilldown and conversions.
- Google Keyword Planner. Conduct keyword research that’s fundamental to your content marketing strategy. Google’s keyword planner may be the best, consistent SEO keyword tool for both beginners and experts. Other apps provide this service, but they come with a pricetag. Frankly, Google owns the search space. It makes sense to be using its keyword tools.
- Google Business Profile. A recent article suggested that one of the very best things you can do for SEO is to get reviews on your GBP. Reach out to current and former clients and colleagues and ask them to give you a review—make it easy and send them a link. Anyone can access your GBP from Google’s apps—Google Maps, etc. Keep this page updated with new business information; upload blogs and images. You really want to be taking advantage of Google’s free tools.
- Google Search Console. This Google tool gives users a snapshot of their site’s performance, including organic search traffic, link data, and issues impacting the site’s performance. While any marketer can benefit from using it, this tool is really for those who are SEOs—those who are dedicated to improving search results. Which, really, should be all of us. Why have a website if you don’t want people to find it?
- Google Trends. Another free Google tool. How to use this one? Use Trend Predictions. This can be a simple way to help with your keyword research. Google has added forecasting and trend data for existing keywords to the Google Trends tool. If your keyword is expected to rise in search volume in the next few months to a year, go for it and target that keyword. A good example: Let’s say you’re writing a blog post on “baking croissants.” If you’re using the pillar/cluster model for content (which we are), you can use the related queries section in Google Trends to generate ideas for cluster topics. I’ve just started to use this app.
“Can I do SEO for free?” When this question comes up, the answer is “yes”. Google owns the search space. Using its search tools makes a lot of sense—that they’re all free is a very nice feature.
Contact Top of Mind Marketing to evaluate and build your SEO strategy.