SEO can be challenging for many companies, but it can be even more confusing for startups. Many startups, without considering an SEO strategy, hurry to launch their websites and create web content.
Having a cohesive SEO action plan supported by quality, intent-driven content will have a massive impact on the online visibility and presence of your business.
Think of how many pages you click on Google to display results when you have searched for a product or service in the past? For most users, from the first page of the results, pick a search option and likely check the second page. If your company only ranks on a search engine on page 4 or 5, it is virtually assured that useful leads will not be identified.
Getting Started On Your SEO Strategy
The top three areas you should focus on are Site Structure, Keywords, and Links. Here is a breakdown and what to action for each category:
Number One is Crawling, Indexing, and Website Structure
Everything On One Sub and Root Domain:
A mistake many startups make is to set up their blog on a blogging site or to only share content on platforms like Medium.com. Another common error is to have a one-page app that includes all of your content. Search engines will then only index that one page. It is much better to have a blog on your actual website, with its own individual URL and use other sites to amplify the content. If you are writing a guest post for another company’s website, make sure that it has a link that refers back to your web page. Keep all of your content in subfolders, or subdirectories of your website which will give the search engine more pages to index. For more information about creating blogs First Site Guide is a useful resource.
Correct Crawl Errors:
There are a few tools that will help identify crawl errors and issues. Google Search Console can do this, and it is free to use. Others like Onpage.org, Screaming Frog or Moz’s Crawl can also be used, although there may be a subscription fee, however, paid services tend to provide more detail on what the errors are and how to fix them.
Eliminate Duplicates, Search URLs and Weak Content:
Eliminating any duplicate pages or search URLs from your site is critical. The entire website is taken into account by search engines, and getting search results within search results does not positively boost the ranking of your site. Also, pages with little content or next to no value are not beneficial in any way and should be removed. These pages may be filled with keywords which many startups believe can help improve their rankings, but actually, they have a negative impact and penalise your ranking results.
Number Two is Keyword Research And Targeting
Research, Brainstorm and Make a List:
Every startup should make a big, broad ranging list of keywords. It should contain not only your industry’s main focus keywords, but related keywords, phrases, terms, and words in the format of questions. It should also include any of the suggestions that Google makes when a keyword is being typed into their search bar. You also need to research what keywords your competitors are using. Tools such as SEMrush, KeyCompete, or SpyFu can be incredibly helpful in finding out this data.
Get Familiar With Keyword Metrics:
There are three metrics that should always be considered. First, you want to see the volume of searches, or how often a term is searched for. Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool can give this metric, but only for premium accounts, with paid for search results ads. The volume metrics for free accounts are not as informative or detailed but there are some third party tools, like SEMrush, or Keyword Explorer, can give the detailed information on this metric, even for free accounts or on a trial period.
The second metric to remember is the complexity, which illustrates how difficult it is to rank in the search engine outcomes. There is a method known as the Competition Score for Adwords. It’s not the same here. The Competition Score tests the competition between the ads paid for and not the organic rating difficulties.
Lastly, the click-through rate should be measured. Many things affect the click-through rate and if your keyword generates multiple paid ads or answer boxes above organic results, that can drive clicks away from organic listings.
Make an Action Plan and Prioritise:
The relevance of these metrics to your organisation needs to be prioritised. To decide the best keyword choices, use a mix of keywords from length, complexity, and click through rate. You can start creating targeted content that will attract searchers and satisfy their needs once you have your final list.
Keyword Use for On Page Optimisation:
Your content needs to be optimised for the search engine algorithm that will assess the site, but even more importantly, it needs to be optimised for the readers. This means using the keywords intelligently, and in a way that makes sense.
Optimisation needs to be smart in order to achieve better rankings. For example, instead of having multiple pages of content that targets the same intent from the searcher, instead have one page that targets all the keywords and provides all the information they need in one spot.
Number Three is Links and Amplification
As the algorithm that search engines use evolves, so can SEO tactics. Although some techniques have remained critical. Links, for example, are still as important as ever. Any links included in your content should be directed to good quality sites with additional relevant content. Links from other sites to yours are also assessed as part of the ranking algorithm, so guest posting on other sites and getting a link back to yours is important for your website’s credibility.
There are other forms of amplification that can lead to links, and they need to be considered. Sharing through social media, and word of mouth are two of the biggest ways to raise awareness.
There is one big question to answer before any content is ever created. Who will help to amplify your content, and why? Will anyone be interested in it? There should be a specific list of people, companies or outlets that will help to amplify the content. Startups will find that their content is much more successful if they do this before they publish anything. The results can be seen in the amplification measurements, reach measurements, the link potential, and the ability to gain a larger audience.
In the long run, putting in the effort to properly investigate and optimise the website will pay off. Make sure that when content is created, you have a vision and a clear focus amongst your team to use keywords and links to maximise your exposure.
Remember that by understanding SEO and knowing how to leverage it can give your startup a solid online presence, higher search engine referral results and increase the success of your digital marketing strategies.