There are usually two versions of every product available on the market: an expensive option and a budget-friendly option. Most companies price their products and services based on what they believe it’s worth.

When two similar products are launched at different prices, the question consumers have is based on quality; is the less expensive product as good as the higher-priced option?

If you choose an inexpensive SEO service that does not meet your business needs, you may not actually benefit from a bargain price strategy to balance out your marketing prices if your consumers are unhappy with your product.

As business owners become more aware of the benefits of SEO services, it’s becoming more popular for digital marketing services as well to improve your visibility in search results.

If you’re considering hiring an SEO company, you’ll need to know how to find affordable, yet high-quality services and avoid low-quality outcomes.

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Why do small businesses need SEO services to begin with?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is viewed as more effective than PPC by 70% of marketers, according to Databox. This means that no matter the size of your business, SEO is something you can’t afford to ignore.

So how will it help your business in the long run?

Some businesses make the mistake of believing that SEO can’t compete with word-of-mouth marketing without realizing that SEO is the new word-of-mouth marketing.

It’s an affordable way to get more referrals to your business because search engine optimization is more scalable. You’ll find that every business that’s trying to grow is taking SEO seriously.

In today’s world, SEO has become an integral part of a successful digital marketing strategy making it no longer just an option. A business can benefit greatly from its potential and below you’ll find statistics to prove it:

  • 93% of web traffic comes from search engines.
  • 57 % of B2B marketers say SEO is the best way to generate leads.
  • 81% of consumers use search queries to conduct research before making a large purchase.

Having a well-designed website is only the first step. You also have to make sure it’s correctly structured and includes quality content.

The content on a site should appeal not only to visitors but also to search engine crawlers. You will see a direct impact on your business’ sales and leads when you improve your web pages and site’s structure and content.

Do affordable SEO services really exist?

The short answer is yes, affordable SEO services do exist. Getting quality SEO services is affordable and even on a tight budget, you can work with a reputable SEO company to make a customized plan that works for you.

As long as you work with the right SEO service provider, SEO makes sense for small businesses because it is proven to be cost-effective and has long-lasting benefits.

We all have different ideas about what “affordable” actually means, and SEO is no different. Surely, investing around $2,000 to $5,000 shouldn’t be a big deal if your business is making hundreds of thousands a year, right?

Keep in mind that if your revenue is less than what you’re paying for SEO, the service may be counterproductive. In any case, quality SEO doesn’t always come cheap and there are many ways to do it.

The question is, what types of affordable SEO services should you get?

What are the types of affordable SEO services and tools needed for small businesses?

In case you can’t spare a chunky marketing budget, here are a few affordable SEO services and tools needed for small businesses.

Here’s a rundown of affordable SEO services that you can use for your business.

1. On-Page SEO

What is it and why do you need it?

The on-page SEO process involves optimizing the content, tags, and internal links of a page to improve its search engine rankings. This type of service allows businesses to control what is used to rank their website in search engines.

What are the main factors involved here?

  • Keyword Research
  • URL Optimization
  • Title Tag and Formatting
  • Image and Alt Tags
  • Meta Description
  • Internal and External links

Some recommended tools you can use:

2. Off-Page SEO

What is it and why do you need it?

Off-page SEO consists of actions you take to influence your search engine ranking outside your website. By focusing on off-page SEO, businesses can increase the domain authority and recognition of their website.

What are the main factors involved here?

  • Setting up a Link Building strategy
  • Analyzing Competitor’s Backlinks
  • Blog Commenting
  • Guest Posting
  • Direct Outreach
  • Broken Link Reclamation
  • Disavow Spammy Backlinks
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Reviews and Ratings
  • Using Influencers for User Generated Contents

Some recommended tools you can use:

3. Local SEO

What is it and why do you need it?

Local SEO involves improving search engine visibility for brick-and-mortar businesses. For Google, that means making local businesses stand out in the Local Pack/Map Pack by ranking higher and appearing more frequently.

What are the main factors involved here?

  • Structured Location Data
  • Optimizing Website for Mobile
  • Optimizing Google My Business Listing
  • Social Media Posting
  • Building Citations
  • Directory Listing
  • Local SEO Strategy for Links and On-Page Content

Some recommended tools you can use:

4. Technical SEO

What is it and why do you need it?

Technical SEO involves optimizing a website’s infrastructure so that search engine crawlers can easily index and crawl your site. It involves technical aspects of your website – such as sitemaps, page speed, URL structure, schema, and navigation.

Technical SEO ensures that your website is easy to navigate and free of any technical issues that prevent search engines from understanding and ranking it.

What are the main factors involved here?

  • Optimizing Page Speed
  • Optimizing for Mobile and Page Speed
  • Fixing 4xx and 3xx Errors
  • Log File Analysis
  • Sitemap Integration
  • Canonical URL
  • Image Compression and Caching

Some recommended tools you can use:

5. E-commerce SEO

What is it and why do you need it?

The goal of e-commerce SEO is to get your online store ranked higher on the search engine results page(SERPs). The more traffic you get from search engine results for products you sell, the better.

What are the main factors involved here?

  • Site Structure
  • Keyword Research
  • Copywriting/ Content Marketing
  • Title Optimization
  • Setting up an Editorial Calendar
  • Product Listings

Some recommended tools you can use:

6. Video SEO

What is it and why do you need it?

The average time spent on web pages with videos is significantly higher than those without videos, according to studies. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. By using video SEO, you can build trust and drive branding.

What are the main factors involved here?

  • Keyword Research
  • Linking
  • Thumbnail Images

Some recommended tools you can use:

7. Rank tracking

What is it and why do you need it?

Rank tracking involves monitoring the ranking of your website on search engine results pages regularly. It allows you to learn which pages rank, what keywords they rank for, how high they rank, and which pages recently changed positions in the SERP.

What are the main factors involved here?

  • Data analysis
  • Creating reports

Some recommended tools you can use:

How much does SEO cost for a small business?

In order to understand the price of SEO services, carefully examine what is included in a package. Basic services may include preliminary consulting, planning, improvements to the website’s search engine ranking, and continued maintenance.

There are other factors that can affect how much SEO services cost, including:

  • The pricing model for an agency or consultant
  • Extensive experience as an agency or consultant
  • SEO campaign goals
  • SEO campaign timeline
  • Resources, tools, or software required

Understand that SEO requires constant management and a flexible strategy, which, in general, takes weeks to produce any visible results and a high ROI. This is why there are different pricing models for SEO.

Hourly SEO pricing

The hourly model of SEO pricing for small businesses may be a good idea when you need to fix less SEO issues, but don’t need constant work on your website and promotion.

For most small businesses, it is often the best option, since they do not need as many services as large businesses do. To be precise, the average hourly rate for this model is between $20 and $100.

Retainer fee per month

Most people are familiar with this model since it corresponds to a classic monthly payment scheme. In some cases, you might find it convenient to use that model, especially if you’re planning to scale your business in the near future.

As a result, you’ll always have a team of SEO pros at your disposal. However, you should expect to pay between $1,000 and $10,000+ for it. Rates vary according to the number of services offered, agency appetite, and specialist skill.

Working with an SEO apprentice under any budget

If none of these options fit your budget, why not try Acadium?

Acadium sets up remote apprenticeships for aspiring digital marketers with online business owners. Apprenticeships provide access to training for anyone to begin their careers without prior experience, and it’s the most affordable way for businesses to hire digital marketers.

If you want someone with more experience in SEO, we can also connect you with a freelance marketing specialist.

Or, you can opt for Acadium’s Tasks for Business program which lets you post small projects that require five hours or less of work, and candidates submit their bids. As a user, you have the option to choose from a wide variety of tasks, such as SEO, Web design, search marketing, and more.

How to choose an affordable SEO agency to work with

1. Plan your monthly budget

A common mistake when getting affordable SEO services for the first time is choosing the cheapest option. In the world of SEO, it’s important to know that you can’t cut corners even if your business is scrounging pennies to save.

In general, it is reasonable to look for a service that falls within a certain budget but the problem arises when the budget is set too low.

Although the amount appears reasonable, it is important to be cautious. There is a possibility that you are only paying for basic services, which won’t be enough for you to succeed online. Investigate the industry-standard prices for a specific service or product first before falling prey to ‘cheap’ offers.

2. Review previous results

Due to client confidentiality, some agencies will restrict potential customers from viewing the results of their SEO services until they agree to sign the contract. This limits your ability to access portfolios, determine what kind of services you can expect, and make the right decision for your company when you’re in need of specific content.

Acadium understands that providing business owners with this information is a good sign they’ve chosen the right SEO partner. That’s why our program ensures that you’re matched with a verified and talented apprentice that fit your business profile and marketing needs. 

Mentors and apprentices have benefited greatly from our apprenticeship program. But don’t take our word for it. Check out our testimonials and previous results from clients whose apprentices met their expectations.

“I cannot recommend Acadium enough. The value of the membership is outstanding and the work completed by my apprentices was of the highest standard. I will definitely be using their services again. As a small business owner I was trying to do everything myself, now thanks to my two wonderful apprentices I have a fully functioning customer email marketing journey, an Ambassador Program and SEO for my website.”

CottonCrab Clothing

“At Acadium, we found smart, proactive individuals who are hardworking and hungry to learn and willing to take initiative. They helped us accomplish all three of our digital marketing goals: grow our social media following; increase our email list; and improve our brand awareness.”

-Webb Knudsen, CEO and co-founder, Playper

Remember to base your decision on facts and logic rather than intuitive impulses. Acadium is proud to provide these results from our apprenticeship and freelance programs, which is a valuable resource for business owners who are considering working with us.

3. Check out their blog

Most SEO services that work with clients must have a functional blog section on their websites. By using a blog, they keep current and prospective clients informed about new opportunities and challenges. Taking a look at the blog will give you an idea of what type of company you’ll be working with.

However, it can be difficult to assess whether an SEO firm is right for you or not without basic knowledge about SEO. One thing to note is that an agency’s audience is primarily other advertising and marketing professionals. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t feel like the content is written for you.

A functional blog usually includes a more personal touch specially written for its target audience. In our Acadium blog section, you’ll find useful blogs, resources, and guides geared toward giving business owners and young apprentices valuable insights into the digital marketing space.

With these resources at your disposal, you will be equipped with the necessary information about SEO when searching for a reputable SEO company.

4. Find customer reviews online

SEO agencies can be evaluated based on their online reviews. It is normal to receive a few bad reviews, and these may serve as proof of the reviews’ legitimacy. Whenever possible, ask a firm what they have to say about the negative comments thrown their way before choosing an agency.

Acadium is dedicated to the success of your business and we’re also happy to provide reviews from our customers.

Our online reviews from Trustpilot show a string of 5-star reviews from clients who have used our apprenticeship program.  We also take customer service seriously, which is why we are committed to answering questions and addressing concerns about negative reviews.




5. Check to see if their services have been updated

Some businesses and agencies will claim that their pricing and services are the best in the industry. Claims like these are traps for small businesses, and you know it’s just marketing. If they promise you substandard services for a quick buck, you must make sure they can back it up.

However, some of those firms may once have been the best, but not any longer. Keep in mind that the SEO industry is constantly evolving. Today’s optimization technique might be obsolete a few weeks from now. Thus, this type of SEO provider should be avoided.

Unless you specialize in SEO, you won’t know if a firm actually uses relevant and effective processes. That’s why you should know current SEO trends before you hire a provider.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions

Contact the company’s SEO team. Find out what they have to offer and let them know what you’re looking for. Getting to know SEO professionals allows you to determine their skill level and experience. You may need to recommend that they disclose their company’s growth and success strategy if necessary. Keep an informed attitude no matter what the circumstances are. For your reference, here are a few common questions.

  • How many services do you provide in total?
  • How long have you been working?
  • Is there anything you can share about your past clients?
  • Could you tell me how you plan on improving my SEO ranking?
  • How well do you know algorithms?
  • “It is important for me to understand how you are proceeding. I’m hoping you’ll give me some regular updates.”
  • Hopefully, you won’t be using any black hat techniques.
  • How much does outsourcing cost and what are the terms?

7. Conduct a performance evaluation

You have completed the process once you have collaborated with your shortlisted and preferred affordable SEO company. When the SEO company is on board and you have completed a cycle of SEO management, you will need to evaluate its performance against agreed-upon key performance indicators (KPIs).

Find the right talent for your business with Acadium

In today’s competitive environment, it can be challenging to find the right SEO agencies and freelancers for your company.

If you are looking for an experienced freelancer, check out our pool of vetted freelancer candidates, but if you want to work with an apprentice, explore our pool of vetted marketing apprentices.

Acadium offers rewarding apprenticeships. The apprentice will work with you for 10 hours per week over the course of 3 months to help you build your online presence through SEO, while you mentor them and provide guidance along the way.

Let your apprentice handle your SEO tasks and grow your business. The best part? It is even possible to hire your SEO apprentice full-time if you are happy with the experience!