When it comes to digital marketing, the three most important letters are “SEO.” Sure, you have social and email marketing, which bring incredible value. But it’s your SEO strategy that influences whether people discover and engage with your business. If you don’t bother with SEO, the search engines may not index your site at all.
Every SEO specialist knows about SEO solutions like SEMrush and Ahrefs. These are fantastic tools, but they don’t come cheap. For either app, plans start at $99/month—and those are the basic plans!
Even if you do find a more affordable SEO tool, you still have to go through the maze of figuring out how to use it.
There are so many different “tricks” the experts have come up with. It’s easy to forget what SEO is really all about—good content on a well-functioning website.
Do yourself a favor. Skip the $100/month tools for now and adopt some of these affordable apps to boost your search engine optimization.
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1. Optimize Your Image Size with MS Paint
It’s an era of 4K video and amazingly detailed images. As great as these are, they slow down the performance of your site.
Your website speed is an essential ranking factor. 40% of people leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Your images and media are the simplest things you can optimize to improve this speed. Remember, most web traffic is now mobile, so there’s no point in high-res photos. In general, all your images should be around 1000 pixels and about 500 kilobytes in size.
While you can spend money on optimization apps, it’s as easy to resize images in paint. Then upload them to your site. You’ll see performance enhancements almost immediately.
2. Get Local Search Results with a VPN
Organic search results are vital for ranking in your target markets. Google and other search engines, however, give you only local search results by default. And that makes sense. Why would you want restaurant listings or anything else for Iowa when you live in California?
But if you’re working on a marketing campaign outside of your location, knowing the organic results for your audience is vital. You need it both for competitor research and your strategy.
Virtual private network (VPN) services make it easy to change their server location and see what’s ranking anywhere they have a server.
All you do is choose a server in a target location and search Google for your keywords. Then integrate these results into your marketing strategy.
3. Use Pinterest for Content Inspiration
Most people either love or hate Pinterest. Yet Pinterest now has over 320 million active monthly users. But it’s not your average social media platform. Even if you plan to target solely Instagram and Facebook, Pinterest is a remarkable place to source ideas.
That’s because of how Pinterest works. Users set up Pinterest Boards with their interests and connect relevant web posts, media, and many other useful details. You can search for any topic and come up with an incredible list of related ideas and information you can use to create your posts and campaigns.
Other great places to do research also include Quora, Reddit, and other online communities.
4. Amazon Marketplace for Research and Leads
Amazon Marketplace now accounts for over 50% of all US eCommerce. Even if you do not sell on Amazon Marketplace, it is an incredible opportunity to do some research.
You can target top sellers to see what your competition is up to. While checking the usual things out like pricing, pay attention to:
- Keywords, especially long-tail products titles
- Types of media on product pages
- Customer engagement
- Brand response
- Connected profiles
- Rankings by product listing
There’s a lot you can do with this information. Even if you work in a different space, you might have an opportunity for affiliate referrals, guest posting, and other ways to build new connections.
5. Research and Influencer Marketing: Instagram
Instagram has become the hottest social media platform for marketing. That’s because of influencers. Unlike traditional advertising, influencers have a more personal connection with their followers.
When they recommend a product, it feels much more like a suggestion from a friend than an ad. Likewise, they stake their reputation on a product and wouldn’t suggest something they wouldn’t use personally.
Since Instagram is the platform of choice for influencers, do your research there. You don’t have to go after Kylie Jenner. The key is finding an up and coming influencer who can grow with your brand, so you don’t have to break the bank to get better engagement rates. You’ll get both some social links, content ideas, and influencer-generated content.
Use These Apps For Digital Marketing Success
SEO tools can provide robust and useful insights. But you don’t need them to get started. While everyone can benefit from an occasional SEO audit, you can do as much if not more with these familiar apps that you already know and love.