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Early in the morning on Friday 13th September I caught the train down to Brighton, ready to soak up as much SEO knowledge as I could, and the first section of the day, and the one I’m going to be focusing on in this blog, was “Small Budget SEO”, featuring a series of talks on how you can get the most out of your SEO with a limited budget.
This section was split up into three, twenty minute or so sessions from three excellent speakers; Stacey MacNaught of MacNaught Digital spoke on how you can stretch your budget when content marketing for links, Helen Pollitt’s “cash Strapped Marketers Guide to SEO” discussed strategize and implement SEO campaigns on a shoestring budget, and Carrie Rose of Rise at Seven revealed how to curate the perfect PR pitch for landing website backlinks- no matter your brand or budget.
In this talk, Helen Pollitt of Avenue Digital described how, when working with a smaller SEO budget, you come across three main problems in delivering your best work: the amount of time you have to do your job, the level of knowledge you have available to you (depending on the size of your team) and the number of resources and tools available to you. With these obstacles in mind, Helen suggested three core processes to stick to in order to get the best out of your SEO: Assessment, Strategy and Implementation.
With a smaller budget, you need to be aware of your capabilities; you need to assess what you’re working with. What are your team’s main SEO strengths, and what areas are you weak in? Does your brand or company have any particular strengths? Once you’ve figured these out, you can move on to strategising.
Helen suggested that when working with a smaller budget, your best bet is to try and think outside of the box and find niches in your marketing strategy; to give you the upper hand when competing with those with more generous budgets. Are you up against a huge competitor with the top ranking on google nailed down? Then you might be better optimising for clicks on your lower ranking, rather than wasting money trying to dislodge the top dog.
This is where implementation comes in; with a smaller budget, you should look for ways you can get results that don’t require big spending. This is where the idea of finding your niche comes into play again. Have a look at some of your competitors; are they, for example, as fully optimised as they can be when it comes to SERPs? Perhaps you can optimise even further to target rich snippets?
In this talk, Stacey MacNaught of MacNaught Digital discussed how, generally, the online campaigns and content pieces that generate the most backlinks aren’t from SEO campaigns at all, but are simply content pieces that have an interesting story to tell. And since not every client you work for is going to be the most “exciting”, you have to find ways to translate this thought process to them when doing your content marketing.
Stacey used the example of surveys and infographics, one of the most popular forms of content marketing around. If all the digital marketers are creating surveys and infographics, and sending them out to publications, how you can make yours stand out? To summarise her thoughts, the most important part of crafting these content pieces is in the story and the purpose behind them; you can have the most beautifully infographic on the web, but if it’s talking about stuff that no one cares about, how can you expect people to want to link to it? Whether it is an article, survey or graphic, your content needs to intellectually and emotionally appealing, and not just visually appealing, if you want to get those backlinks!
The final talk in this section came from Carrie Rose of Rise at Seven, who had several great insider tips and tricks to offer on how to get backlinks. Carrie pointed out that, as digital marketers, we vastly outnumber the number journalists and publications out there that are looking for content- which means there is so much competition for links!
Carrie went on to add that, when dealing with publications, editors and journalists are most interested in ready made stories and articles, preferably with a national pull; the wider the appeal your articles and content pieces have, the more interested journalists will be in using your content. This also links back to Stacey’s earlier point on content; the more exciting and well-planned-out content will always rise to the top and get the most links.
In terms of curating the perfect email to reach out to these journalists and publications, Carrie revealed several tips and tricks to getting those backlinks. From the time of day you contact these people, to the formality of your emails, my main takeaway from this talk was that these journalists are, at the end of the day, ordinary people with jobs to do- and so anything we can do when performing outreach to make their jobs easier will be rewarded with better engagement and, hopefully, more backlinks.
And that concludes my summary of just one of four sections of talks held over at Brighton SEO. I had a great time learning so much, from so many different experts in SEO, and if the opportunity arises for you to get tickets next year- take it!
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