SEO for startups and even brands is often viewed as behind-the-scenes manipulations and trickery by many companies who don’t understand what SEO actually is. SEO involves a series of ongoing core strategies and actions you’ll need to implement to make your website rank better, and position your brand in front of your consumers.
A successful SEO strategy for startups can be broken down to the following components, which makes this somewhat complex strategy look less intimidating and more doable for startups.
Step 1: On-site Optimization For Your Startup
Search engines regularly crawl your website to get a better understanding of its content with the goal of displaying it in the most appropriate spot in their search results. On-site optimization strategy consists of optimizing your startup’s content (images, text, tagging), website structure (information architecture), page structure (content hierarchy), and internal link structure to align with Google and user expectation. The most important on-page ranking factors include:
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
These help Google understand the primary topics and purpose of a webpage. Both of these should be written in plain simple language with one main keyword included.
- Title tags should be kept under 65 characters – spaces included
- Description tags should be kept under 160 characters – spaces included
As a part of a solid website information architecture, your website navigation should be simple to follow and easy-to-navigate for users and search engines.
Ditch the mega menus and keep it clean. Not only can mega menus cause SEO concerns, but mega menus can be troublesome for mobile users. Check out these mobile web design tips and best practices.
A good rule of thumb is to only include the pages in your navigation menu that you want users to view and engage with, and you want Google to focus on ranking.
Website speed is not only important for users, but Google is becoming more sensitive to slow websites, and thus using website speed in their ranking algorithm – especially when it comes to mobile.
A good rule of thumb is to take a page from each part of your website or a page for each template type, and run a Google Speed Test to get some insights for both desktop and mobile speed and usability.
Interlink Your Content
Interlinking your content helps users discover relevant content on your website as they are reading your content, and helps search engines understand the relationship between different pages.
One of the easiest strategies for a amazing internal link structure for your website is to create what is called a data dictionary for your website. This involves:
- Analyzing each page to identifying a few unique keywords that describe each page – each page should have a different set of keywords.
- Building a program to automatically link the defined keywords whenever they appear in blog posts.
Optimize URL Structure
Keep the URLs short, sweet and descriptive. URLs are not only beneficial to search engines, but also help users understand the primary topic of your web page. You can read more about URL rules here.
Relevant, Valuable, and Unique Content
I am sure you have been told, “Don’t write for search engines – write for your users”. This is true, but remember to do basic keyword research and include these relevant keywords in the title tags, content, and sub-headings.
Graduate From One Page Websites
Single page websites may be ok to start with, but if your startup is serious about SEO, you’ll need to ditch the one-page site and build a website with a strong information architecture.
Remember, if you don’t have a page that targets your products or keywords you want to rank for, ranking for those keywords will be near impossible.
So since each page should only actively try and target a couple primary keywords, and a handful of secondary keywords for a topic, you’ll need to graduate from your single page website and build a website that aligns with user expectations.
Read more about the benefits of multi-page vs single-page websites.
Step 2: Create Valuable Content For Your Startup
Once you have optimized the foundational elements of your startup’s website – optimized existing service and landing pages, website navigation, and internal links – then it’s time to move to content strategy and marketing.
This involves researching competitors, understanding your users needs, doing keyword research, and creating content that goes beyond the basics and general articles already on the web.
The benefits of regularly producing and publishing quality and valuable content for SEO include:
- Increases Website Reach: It increases the number of pages search engines can index, meaning more search terms your startup’s website can rank for.
- Increases Inbound Links: Your blog posts can serve as linkable assets to attract organic links and mentions from other resources, meaning higher domain authority and better overall rankings.
- Keeps Your Website Fresh: Google tends to reward websites who publish fresh content regularly rather than those which don’t.
- Brand Positioning and Awareness: Publishing high-value content will position your brand as the thought leader in your respective industry and build trust with potential clients.
Step 3: Off-Site Optimization and Link Building For Your Startup
The last component of your startup’s SEO strategy is off-site optimization which involves earning links and building relationships in the “real world”. Remember, one great link is worth more than a thousand low-value links – so focus on acquiring links organically (don’t buy links or do other bad seo strategies).
Your link building strategy should include:
- Building relationships with influencers in your industry.
- Conducting outreach to offer cross-promotion opportunities.
- Conducting outreach to market your content assets
- Building a diverse link profile that includes different types of links from many types of websites.
If you need some ideas for building links and diversifying your link graph, here are some link building opportunities for startups.
Final Thoughts about SEO for Startups
SEO is great for driving traffic and sales, increasing brand awareness, and positioning your startup as a thought leader in your space. The one thing to remember, is SEO is not a quick fix or quick marketing strategy for your startup. If you need to show massive growth and sales for investors in a short time, you may want to think about focusing on Paid Search or Social Media Ads to drive sales while you build your SEO rankings, build website authority, and gain brand value.