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There are a few first steps that should be taken as follows:
1. Check for proper meta title, description, and keyword information on ALL your website pages. Look at other competing websites at the top of Google results to see how their meta titles and descriptions are structured.
2. Run your website through the MozBar and Meta SEO Inspector Google Chrome plugins and fix all issues/errors shown. This includes all meta information, H1 and H2 tags, and image alt tags.
3. Create a sitemap.xml, upload it to the root folder of your website, and submit it to your Google Webmaster Tools account.
4. Use Google Webmaster Tools to crawl your index page as Google and then submit it to their index with the crawl all sub links option. This will ensure Google quickly reindexes your website and all of its internal links.
5. Use the Goolge Chrome inspector to make sure their are no console errors using the “Console” tab and that the website is loading quickly (with no extra large assets/images) in the “Network” tab.
The above is what should be done at a minimum.
Even though I’m an SEO enthusiast, I wouldn’t recommend just marching forward and doing SEO unless you’ve properly analysed your competition.
If your budget is limited, and you’re in a medium competition niche, then it could take you quite a while to get some traction in that niche. And that’s if you can manage to get traction at all. If you’re in a medium competition niche it will take quite a bit of SEO knowledge for your campaign to gain some traction and have some visible keywords on the first page.
I would suggest you look at different traffic options using highly targeted customer avatars. By laser targeting your customers in YouTube or in Facebook, you may well be able to get sub 0.30 cent clicks to your site. If you can tweak your campaign correctly it may have a positive return in a very short space of time, and then you can scale your ad budget accordingly if your ad spend is always yielding a positive net profit.
It may be months before you get traction with a SEO campaign, but even with a small ad spend, you may be able to get some traction and some conversions within the first week which will leave you cash flow positive. Then it’s simply a matter of repeating the process and scaling up a little.
Hope that helps to perhaps give you a different perspective about SEO and direct traffic.