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Planning to expand your business online is the smartest thing you can do right now. Your business website holds the potential to attract highly motivated customers to your products and services.

But, if your online presence needs improvement, an affordable SEO company can help you to outrank your competition. Unfortunately, small business owners can spend a large amount of money on SEO if they're not careful. That can be devastating if the results fall short of their expectations.

The local SEO experts at Digital Authority Partners have the following advice for small business owners to get the most out of their SEO dollars.

Low-Cost vs Premium-Priced SEO Services

Many of the SEO agencies that offer “low-cost SEO” too often rely on substandard optimization and link-building strategies. However, paying for a high-priced agency doesn't guarantee results either. Plus, you can easily blow your budget.

Rather than simply going with the lowest-priced SEO service you can find, choose an affordable SEO agency with a good track record. By choosing an affordable SEO service rather than a cheap or premium service, you'll stay within your budget and get good results.

First of all, you don’t need hundreds of pages and thousands of backlinks to rank higher on search engines. That's what cheap SEO services place their focus on. Traffic should come second to the quality of visitors to your site. What you need are visitors eager to purchase your products and services. Quality traffic is what will determine your ROI.

A good, affordable SEO service will first assess your current SEO strategy. Then, they'll create a plan that addresses the weak points; it's not a one-size-fits-all approach, but one that is tailored to your business. If you don't need any more backlinks, they won't do that. They'll only concentrate on what you really need.

What Small, Local Businesses Need is Local SEO

Generally, small, local businesses only need to rank for local SEO to make a difference in their bottom line. For example, if you run a neighborhood hardware store, you don't need to rank #1 for all hardware stores across the web. You only need to make it into the top few results for your local area. The people who matter most to you are the ones in your town.

Many SEO agencies ignore this, and, instead, implement the same national and international strategies for everyone. Your hard-earned money doesn't need to be wasted trying to attract customers from halfway around the world. You only need to get listed on the first page of results for your town.

The Most Affordable SEO Services for Startups and Small Businesses

By first determining exactly where your site needs improvement, SEO efforts can be focused there. You can waste a lot of money on things you don't need. By streamlining the process, you can make SEO more affordable.

On-Page SEO

This is what often comes to mind when people think about SEO. On-Page SEO includes optimizing the elements of your website's pages including the title, meta description, content, and images.

Google and other search engine algorithms use on-page factors to rank pages. These page elements include:

· Keyword usage

· Title tags

· Heading tags

· Content

· Internal and external links

By optimizing each important page on your website, you can rank better with the search engines.

Links are a very important factor when ranking with the search engines. However, bad links can have the opposite effect. The SEO service that you work with must follow the linking guidelines set by Google. Otherwise, the search engines might view your links as spam.

You want to avoid having your website linked in blog comments or on “link farms.” Getting quality backlinks isn't easy, and it's often not cheap. That's why it's important to partner with high-quality link builders and place quality over quantity when it comes to a backlink strategy.

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Your SEO specialist must be able to reach out and get you links to legitimate, well-ranked websites. They'll also need to disavow spam backlinks and try to fix broken links.

Technical SEO

If internal issues are preventing the search engines from crawling and indexing your site, your on-page optimization and linking strategy won't matter. This is where technical SEO comes in.

Technical SEO fixes the back-end and internal issues that might be harming your website. This includes your page’s load speed, whether it's mobile-friendly, site maps, and much more. This type of SEO work is best left to a professional, but it can quickly make a huge difference.

Local SEO

Search engines are focusing more and more on local search results; there is no reason to show a person searching for hardware stores in Winnemucca search results that include hardware stores in Las Vegas. This makes local SEO optimization critical for small local businesses.

The first thing to do is to get listed on Google My Business; this is free, and you can do this yourself. Just make sure to use your keywords and post a few nice pictures. Accurately fill out all of the details to make sure your business is featured for local searches.

Other factors of effective local SEO include:

· Locally focused content

· Local links

· Local directory listings

· Citations

Local SEO can be the most cost-effective way for land-based businesses to improve their search performance.

Content Services

Great content remains at the heart of SEO. Small businesses can benefit by having their website content written by professionals who not only know how to write for the search engines, but also real people. Also, writing content for the local population is a big plus.

Overseas writers might be much cheaper, but a native English-speaking content writer is much more effective. Native English speakers can write in a smoother, more readable style that engages readers instead of confusing them. You want to make a professional impression on your readers; poorly written English defeats that purpose.

The Best Affordable SEO for Small Businesses

The SEO industry is filled with low-cost providers that use shady SEO practices. Choosing a reputable agency and carefully choosing what needs to be done is the best and most affordable approach.

Make sure you research the reputation of each SEO agency you have under consideration. This can take time, but, in the end, it will be worth it. Handing over your money to an SEO agency that will simply spam links will hurt you in the end. Likewise, poorly written content will only leave your visitors with a bad impression.

Checking an SEO Agency’s Reputation

· Ask to see a niche-specific case study

· Look at their blog

· Check online reviews

· Ask what tools they use

· Check the quality of their content

Just like anything else, you get what you pay for with SEO. Often, the cheapest price will only get you an inferior product. Working with a quality SEO agency on just the things you really need is often the most affordable option. You don't need fly-by-night SEO results, but rather results that stick.