SEO can be challenging for many companies, but it can be even more confusing for startups. Many startups rush to launch their websites and create web content without considering an SEO strategy.
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 about in the past when you have searched for a product or service - how many pages do you click through on Google to view results? For the majority of users, they will select a search option from the first page of results, and possibly review the second page. If your business is only ranking on page 4 or 5 on a search engine, it is practically guaranteed that valuable leads are not finding you.
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:
It is important to eliminate any duplicate pages or search URLs from your site. Search engines take the whole website into account, and having search results within search results does not help your site’s ranking positively. 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 that needs to be considered is the difficulty, which shows how difficult it is to rank in the search engine results. Adwords has a tool known as the Competition Score. This is not the same. The Competition Score measures the competition between the paid ads and not the difficulty in ranking organically.
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:
These metrics need to be prioritised by importance to your organisation. Use a mix of keywords from volume, difficulty and click through rate to determine your best keyword choices. Once you have your finalised list, you can start creating targeted content that will attract searchers and satisfy their need.
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.
Putting in the time to properly research and optimise your website will pay off in the long run. Make sure you have a vision when content is created and a unified focus amongst your team to utilise keywords and links to boost your visibility.
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.
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