Cheap SEO: SEO Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

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If you’ve ever been involved in SEO, you’ll know that sometimes SEO specialists seem to be charging an arm and a leg for their services. SEO doesn’t have to break the bank.

I founded Aperitif Agency to provide an alternative to overly expensive SEO. Our search engine optimisation agency provides affordable SEO services in Melbourne and Australia-wide for small-scale, local SEO operations and some of the city’s largest businesses, like the Ritz-Carleton Melbourne or Deakin University.

Based on my 10 years of SEO experience, I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of search engine optimisation costs and how to tell the difference between cheap SEO companies and affordable SEO

Let’s explore what SEO is, compare the pricing of cheap and expensive options, and discover the benefits it can have for your business.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation.’ SEO is a process of identifying areas of a website to improve its organic search rankings to increase website traffic, and grow a business’s sales and online presence. 

SEO elements venn diagram

Image credit: WordStream

SEO helps brands rank higher in search engines by creating better content and website experiences, and it can be broken down into 2 main categories, these being:

1. On-page SEO 

On-page SEO is often thought of as technical SEO, but there are some non-technical SEO aspects involved with on-page SEO. On-page SEO consists of things like:

Content optimisation: There are several critical elements to this: 

  1. Optimising content such as product, service and blog pages for latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords
  2. Optimising a website to demonstrate and show E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority and trust). This can include adding reviews and ratings to a page, having detailed author profiles, plus many other things.
  3. Improving blog content to make it more helpful for readers, which is in relation to Google’s recent Helpful Content core algorithm update, which prioritises helpful and fresh content.
  4. Creating better page experiences. For example, Core Web Vitals can be improved by improving page loading speeds and other things like website accessibility (font size) and making a page easier to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices.


Internal links: Optimising pages by adding internal links to drive link juice to key pages across a website, which helps to improve rankings.

Complex website migrations: For example, a website uses WordPress and wants to change to Shopify. A skilled technical SEO professional can organise and restructure a website’s architecture for such changes.

Content creation: Using keyword research to identify keywords that a brand should target and create content to target these keywords. This also involves creating linkable assets and evergreen content and constantly reviewing, updating and improving content.

Schema markup: Creating schema markup improves search engine visibility by helping search engines like Google understand the content on your website better.

Local SEO: This involves structuring a website to target local keywords. For example, if your business only services Melbourne, then you may want to have individual service pages for key areas and suburbs of Melbourne. If your business is Australia-wide, you could have location pages for each capital city in Australia.


2. Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to SEO activities that SEO professionals do externally for a website to help it perform better in search engines. Mostly, it’s associated with content marketing, influencer marketing, and link building.

Link building: Acquiring high-quality backlinks to pages to increase a page’s and website’s overall rankings. This can include directory listings on reputable reviews and directory sites like Google Business Profile, TrustPilot, Yellow Pages, and many more.

There are plenty of link building strategies an SEO agency will use, like broken link building, guest posting, niche edits, etc. 

Digital PR: Securing brand mentions, quotes, and links to content. This is a specific type of a link building tactic that focuses on acquiring editorial links.

It is important to note that there is some overlap between on-page and off-page SEO. For example, directory listings (local citations) are more commonly associated with off-page SEO (link building). 

However, there is a technical SEO component involved with directory listing information, this being ‘NAP’ (name, address, phone number) to ensure that all directory listings contain the same information (I.e. for accuracy).

Related: 8 Tips On How To Grow Organic Traffic


Dispelling the myth of expensive SEO

There is a persistent myth around search engine optimisation and digital marketing that SEO is incredibly expensive. Setting aside that ‘expensive’ is relative to the size of your business and how much you’re willing to spend on it, you’ll likely save money by outsourcing your SEO.


Image credit: Search Logistics

Professional SEO services provide a wide range of technical SEO knowledge and capabilities that can be customised to meet your business needs. As a provider of SEO services in Melbourne, we strive to create customisable SEO that can match every budget and business. 

Local SEO is where businesses target location search queries, which help to increase organic website traffic, generate more leads, and improve their online sales.

SEO can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be and certainly isn’t as expensive as keeping an SEO team on staff when you factor in salaries, benefits, equipment and other costs.

Related: E-Commerce SEO Agency: 5 Steps To Hire The Best Agency

Identifying cost-effective SEO solutions

The key to properly investing in SEO is identifying what cost-effective SEO solutions will work best for your business. By allowing Aperitif to perform an SEO audit, we can tell you which areas of your website need work and which can be improved.

This may also not be limited to just SEO alone. It can touch on other marketing activities, like creating a marketing strategy to increase brand awareness. Or conversion rate optimisation (CRO) to increase leads and help them convert better from all pages on your website.

Quality SEO increases a brand’s website traffic by improving the technical elements of a website, creating quality content, conducting keyword research and acquiring quality white hat backlinks to your website. 

1. Prioritise on-page SEO

On-page SEO is an optimisation process of the content on your web pages. When Google’s algorithm looks at your website, it checks whether that content matches a user’s search queries. Then, it ranks your website based on the content that may match the user’s search query.

By prioritising on-page SEO over off-page SEO, you can increase citation building within Google’s algorithm and increase organic traffic. Quality content writing, photographs with captions and alternative text, and creating an easily navigable website design are fantastic ways to improve your on-page SEO game.

2. Leverage free and low-cost tools

If you don’t have the money to outsource all or parts of your search engine optimisation, several free and low-cost SEO tools are available. These include Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Google Trends. 

There are also other free SEO tools available, like Website SEO Checker, which shows things like:

  • Domain authority (DA).
  • Page authority (PA).
  • Spam score (SS).

Each of these tools gives you insight into how your website performs in Google’s search engine and provides you with keyword research (Google Trends) and how many conversions are being made on your website. 

Ahrefs is a paid tool you may consider utilising if your SEO strategy involves a lot of link building. This tool tracks how many websites are linking to your website. Ahrefs also shows other key insights like organic traffic (OT), domain rating (DR), keyword growth, your current rankings, plus a lot more.

Backlinks are a critical part of an off-page SEO strategy that acts as a vote of confidence and sends positive signals to search engines when reputable brands link to your website.

3. Embrace DIY SEO

While outsourcing SEO is sometimes your best bet to achieve the best results, that isn’t always the case. Particularly for a really small business just starting in the SEO world, your most cost-effective SEO strategy might be to learn a thing or two about basic SEO principles and how you might apply them to your website and business.

By embracing do-it-yourself SEO in the short-term, you can save money and hopefully someday hand off your search engine optimisation efforts to industry professionals.

Related: Shopify SEO: Is It Worth Hiring An Expert?

When is SEO outsourcing cost-effective?

Outsourcing your SEO projects to a reputable SEO service provider like myself. Let’s explore when you may reach that tipping point and decide to hand off your SEO efforts.

1. Lack of in-house SEO expertise

You may need to hand over the reins of your SEO plan if you lack qualified in-house professionals in the field. A lack of in-house expertise or trying to do too much yourself could hurt your business and, therefore, your bottom line. 

2. Time constraints and resource limitations

There are never enough hours in a day when you’re a small business owner. Building a brand requires a great deal of time and effort. It requires website design know-how and execution, social media knowledge and online marketing know-how. 

This is where SEO professionals can be beneficial instead of tying up precious time you could spend making money for your business.

3. Complex SEO requirements

While performing an SEO audit, it may be discovered by your chosen SEO team or yourself that your SEO project is a little more complicated than you had first thought. 

There could be broken links on your website, duplicate content, keyword cannibalisation, or your rankings have dropped due to recent Google Algorithm core updates. In short, even the best websites always have SEO issues with much room for improvement.

If you’ve encountered an SEO problem you’re unsure how you got there or don’t know how to fix, it’s time to call a professional SEO team to help.

4. Access to advanced SEO tools and technologies

Another reason to outsource your SEO might be that you don’t have sufficient resources, knowledge, or capabilities to use the best SEO tools. 

Outsourcing SEO to a dedicated team gives business owners peace of mind, knowing they can rely on an experienced SEO to improve their business through various SEO techniques.

For example, most SEO agencies will use SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz and Screaming Frog to analyse a website’s performance. Then, they’ll look for ways to improve it and report these results so a brand knows exactly what is happening, why, and what is being fixed.

5. Measurable results and ROI

It can be challenging for DIY-SEO folk to understand how their site metrics match their sales figures (or if they don’t.). 

Still, SEO professionals live and breathe data points and analysis. Viewing these results at a glance gives you a better idea of exactly how your SEO investment pays off. 

Related: The Best SEO Consultant: Top 5 Things To Look For In 2023

Summing up 

Finding a reputable, experienced SEO agency with the expertise to improve your SEO at a reasonable price is challenging. But it doesn’t have to be.

Get in touch with Apertif Agency today to find out how we can improve your SEO, transform your online presence, and drive more online sales.



What is the difference between cheap SEO and affordable SEO?

When first entering the world of search engine optimisation, you may think that the cheaper the SEO, the better. Quality is a key difference between cheap SEO solutions and affordable SEO services in Melbourne.

Cheap SEO that doesn’t break the bank might also not provide you with nearly as many data points as you need to gauge success properly. On the other hand, affordable SEO services offer flexibility in pricing based on your business needs. 

How can I know if I’m getting good value for money with my SEO service?

While good value for money in SEO can be difficult to quantify because of the variables at play, the general rule is that businesses that spend money on search engine optimisation should make $2.75 back for every dollar they spend. 

By using tracking tools, we can gauge how much of your website traffic is translating into sales and give you a figure to let you know whether you’re getting the best value for money with your SEO strategy. 

What are some benefits of outsourcing SEO to Aperitif? 

By outsourcing your SEO to an SEO consultant like Aperitif, you’ll take that side of your business off your mind. We’ll handle as much of your digital marketing platform as you desire and can even take over your whole website development with compelling content writing and an engaging, fast-paced website that gets customers where they need to be.