1 month on a $3,000 budget for SEO for a local business

There are few things that are more frustrating to an SEO marketer than a client or business owner who wants instant results on a tight budget.

After all, SEO is a long game.

It requires patience and strategy.

However, this scenario happens all the time.

Therefore, as marketers, we have to know how to adapt and achieve good results quickly and on a small budget, especially if the client or our boss gives us one chance to prove our value.

Achieving good SEO – no, great SEO – is definitely possible in a short amount of time. I did it. My team did it.

The key is knowing which SEO tasks to prioritize.

To make my point, I’d like to introduce you to my favorite virtual client, Voltage: The Salon.

This salon wants to market Millennial and Gen Z products by offering upscale, modern services.

Planning an initial SEO budget for 1 month of AUD3,000

This salon wanted to work with me because it is new.

They don’t rank well right now [salon near me] Or any other related keywords.

They also don’t have a Google Business profile list.

We are really starting from scratch.

$3,000 doesn’t sound like a lot, but it falls squarely in the $1,000 to $5,000 range identified as the most popular average budget in SEJ’s State of SEO report.

This is what 26.8% of respondents said they work with; Another 23% are asked to get results of only $500-$1,000 per month.

Back to the salon: Their business goal is to get more clients and increase revenue.

To do this, they need more conversions, which they measure in two ways:

  • Telephone contacts.
  • And appointments booked on their site.

They decided the way to do this was to “appear on Google”.

I convinced them that SEO is the best way to rank well on Google in the long run.

They gave me $3000 and a month trial period.

At the end of that month, we’ll see where the website is located and decide how to proceed.

You know as I do, I’d better be able to show results or they won’t be putting another $3000 into SEO next month.

Key details

  • industry: Beauty.
  • a job: hair salon.
  • Monthly SEO Budget: 3000 Dollars.
  • My hourly wages: $100 dollars.
  • Total allotted hours: 30.
  • timetable: 1 month.
  • location: Kansas City Metro.
  • KPI: Increase your booked calls or appointments using the form on their website.

SEO week by week

The best SEO work often starts with a technical audit, especially in cases like these where it’s a completely new post.

We don’t know the history of the site and need to uncover any potential issues that could sabotage our best SEO efforts.

first week

If you’re short on money and time, don’t use the little you have trying to improve a website that won’t perform well due to technical bugs. This would be a waste.

A technically sound website provides a solid foundation for excellent SEO results in the future.

With this in mind, I use my SEO tools to do a thorough technical edit on Voltage: The Salon’s website.

It only takes an hour or two to crawl this site because it’s not very powerful.

After my SEO tool finished crawling the site, I reviewed the list of errors to find that it was longer than I expected.

embarked on Prioritize the most important mistakes to an address. I make a list.

We are now down three hours.

Next, I divide my list into errors that are easy to solve in a short amount of time and others that are not. Standard practice is to fix bugs marked as ‘critical’ or ‘mistake’ first, so I start from there.

The most pressing errors I notice are:

  • Pages that didn’t pass the mobile site test.
  • Several pages are blocked for indexing.
  • redirection loop.
  • Pages with very slow page load times.

I estimate that these repairs will take about five hours of work to process, and I plan to complete them this week.

Unfortunately, things did not go as I had hoped.

While I was fixing bugs, I had to do extra work adjusting server settings and searching my hosting account to find the easiest and most sustainable areas to improve page speed.

On top of that, some administrator functions weren’t working as expected, which made usually quick tweaks turn into research and troubleshooting.

The five hours I expected to fix these bugs turned into seven.

This leaves me about 20 hours for the rest of the month.

  • Hours used this week: 10.
  • Estimated amount of remaining hours: 20.

Two weeks

I fixed the technical bugs, but it took longer than I expected.

This set me back a bit, but it was necessary to set up the site for success.

Regardless, my priority for this week is setting up my client’s site on Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Business Profiles.

I start with low fruit and set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

I submit the sitemap and move on.

Next, the Google Business Profile.

I dedicate more time to this task because I realize its importance and I need to do some work to improve “hair salon near me” and “best hair salon near me.”

This takes about an hour.

I thought before and asked the owner of Voltage: The Salon to claim their listing and now I need to make sure the information listed is correct.

This includes the NAP (name, address, and phone number) and services that my client provides.

I will improve my Google listing after I complete some keyword and content research.

It takes about three hours to create these accounts.

  • Hours used this week: 4.
  • Estimated amount of remaining hours: 16.

the third week

To make the most of the time left, I’ll be doing keyword, competitor, and content research.

I dedicate a reasonable amount of time to each of these tasks but overall I hope you don’t spend more than 10 hours doing this.

We start by searching for keywords.

As expected, there is a fair amount of competition for this keyword, but the search volume for suitable keywords was high.

I set out to determine which keywords are best for that specific site.

I put these keywords in my favorite SEO tool to track them and start my competitor search.

I want to see what their competitors rank for and what kind of content they are producing, and do that by doing a gap analysis.

As it turns out, well-rated salons in the area produce a fair amount of written content.

This is on the list of things I want my clients to work on in the future.

I was able to get back the watch I lost at the beginning of the month because this task only took 9 hours to complete.

  • Hours used this week: 9.
  • Estimated amount of remaining hours: 7.

fourth week

This week is all about optimizing the keywords I want to rank Voltage: The Salon for well.

I’ll do this with on-page and off-page SEO.

I know content creation is a priority, but now I’m more concerned about poor overall site structure optimization.

I’m fixing it hoping to improve the user experience, crawlability, and more.

Next, I optimize the page builder and image sizes to further improve site speed.

This takes about three hours to complete.

I add meta tags, titles, and copy text that are specific and keyword focused on lead generation pages.

Next, I index the pages I worked on.

This also takes about three hours.

Finally, I spend about an hour adding content to this client’s GMB list including photos, posts, and more.

At the end of the month, I check to see how the site is performing and generate a report detailing:

  • my results.
  • What the customer can expect to see in terms of future results.
  • And my recommendations for continued SEO work.

I have done this on my own year seeing it as an added value and also for my own good to show the opportunity for more work and partnership going forward.

My report details the amount of work I’ve done, in the same way I’ve done it here.

My goal is to communicate the value of what I did and to showcase the foundation that has been built for future SEO success.

My plan for continuing the SEO work is to boost the content on the site, continue to target keywords related to the user’s intent, and build a local search presence for that client so that it ranks well both organically and in map packages.

  • Hours used this week: 7.
  • Estimated amount of remaining hours: 0.


My goal for the first month of this campaign was to lay the foundation for good SEO in the future and start the client on the path to good ranking for keywords related to the services they provide.

In general, you have accomplished this goal.

You have solved technical errors, created a Google Business site, completed the necessary search, and started doing on-page SEO work.

Voltage The salon’s website is now in a position to rank better both in organic search results and appear well among other map package listings.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, where your client expects the world on a small budget, don’t panic.

SEO requires patience and planning, but you can get the results you want and your customer expects if you can prioritize what’s most important.

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Featured Image: patpitchaya / Shutterstock

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