Digital marketing is an essential piece of any startup’s business plan. It’s a difficult sphere to navigate if you’re new to it.
It’s such a new area of business that many people don’t know how to do it themselves, and aren’t quite sure of its value. We’re going to run you through the main pillars of SEO for startups today, giving you the big picture of what optimization is and how you can use it to improve your business.
Let’s get started:
SEO for Startups
If you already have some SEO knowledge, bear with us. We’ll cover the essentials of what the process entails, why it’s important, and the most fundamental components of an SEO campaign.
So, sit back, take notes, and use the following information to start planning your digital marketing efforts and take the web by storm. The following tips will have you prepared to get your feet wet and move forward.
1. Understand What SEO Is
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of tailoring your website to the preferences of search engines. It’s a relatively difficult thing to do, considering that every other website in your niche would also like to rank highly in search results.
Understanding how to conduct SEO requires that you know how search engines select the order of their results. When you understand the specifics, each step opens a little door into how the gears are turning and what you can do to help your site fit into the scheme of things.
Much of this article will be dedicated to breaking down specific pieces of the search engine’s process and how you can fit into it
2. Know What Information “Crawlers” Gather
It’s a wonder that search engines can catalog so much of the internet and archive it into a form where users can search for things. Although it may seem like search engines are effectively the same thing as “the internet,” all search engines are actually competing businesses.
They exist independently and have to find ways to catalog information and provide the best possible experience to users. So, they have to have a way to move through billions of websites, gather relevant information, and organize that information into a system that can be referred to.
This problem is solved with something called “crawlers.” While the specifics of crawlers are pretty complicated, you can easily think of them as little creatures that worm their way through the vast world of the internet, gathering information like ants sending food back to the nest.
Crawlers travel to different sites through links embedded within previous sites. The process looks something like this: a crawler comes upon a site, takes in as much information as it can about that site, then travels to a new site through a link found in the original site.
Pretty simple, right? The information gathered is the point of reference for a search engine when you want to find a good recipe for guacamole or need a quick cute puppy picture fix. Those categories of information are what we’ll cover next.
3. Keyword Optimization
If you’ve spent any time in the search engine optimization field, you’ve probably seen or heard the term “keyword optimization.” Keywords are essentially the terms you type into a search bar when you’re looking for something.
So, when you type “cute puppy pictures,” those terms and that phrase are your keywords. Much of the SEO process is based around researching and optimizing for keywords.
Creating web pages shouldn’t just be intuitive, written with anything that comes to mind. Not if you want to rise to the top of the search engine results pages, anyway.
Instead, you should craft your pages around keywords that are popular or relevant to your niche and content. We’ll break that process down a little further.
It’s essential that you take a deep look at keyword data. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds, while it does require that you have a critical eye. There are a lot of keyword research sites that help you sift through the vast data online and discern what’s important to you.
Generally, you want to take a look at your niche and see what your target audience is searching for. While it may seem like people search for things online at random, there are overarching trends for keyword searches.
It’s your job to see where these trends are going and jump on new keywords as they arise.
Once you know which keywords you’re going to use, it’s time to start putting them into your content.
You don’t want to blast your content with the keyword, though. Instead of writing something and saying “cute puppy pictures” as many times as humanly possible, you want to keep the term in mind and use it as often as is organic.
The term “keyword density” refers to the percentage of the content that the keyword takes up. You generally want this to be pretty low. Instead of saying the term a lot, you want to place it in headers, introductions, and conclusions.
You can find information that will tell you the recommended placement and density for keywords in your niche.
4. Create Regular Content
A large part of optimization is simply keeping up on content creation. This can be a blog or something else, but the important thing is that you create regular content.
It can be easy to slip and forget to write a blog post or two, but you should do your best not to. Sure, it doesn’t seem like a blog does too much, considering that its effect isn’t directly noticeable.
At the same time, a blog or content campaign is extremely important in the process of funneling traffic to the pages that do generate sales or results.
Think about your content creation campaign as a large tree. Your trunk is going to be the homepage where users can move about the site. The largest branches are your pillar pages, or ones that aim to sell your main products and services.
Your content, then, can be likened to the leaves, funneling users toward the more important pages. Content is optimized and reaches users when they’re looking for highly specific information.
If you’re a website that sells hot sauce, not all users will be able to find you if you only post about your brand of hot sauce. This is because no one is looking for it.
Instead, they’re looking for things like “the best uses for hot sauce” or “what makes hot sauce hot?” It’s your job to find what users are searching with your keyword research and create content that addresses those user needs.
Then, you direct users to your more central content within the content about the user-specific keywords.
5. Focus on Link Building
One clear measure of a site’s relevance to users is whether or not it has support from other relevant sites.
The best way to measure this is whether or not a website has links directed to it from popular sites. As a website becomes an authority in its field, it naturally draws links from others, but the catch is that a site often needs links in order to become popular.
The way to navigate this issue is a process called link building. This is the act of cultivating a base of links from reputable sites in one way or another. In some cases, this means offering to write a blog post or create content in exchange for the chance to place a link to your site within that content.
There are other methods as well, and you should explore these depending on the nature of your site and your content.
6. Local SEO
Local SEO is extremely important for brick and mortar businesses. If your business exists only online, you should take a broader approach, but physical businesses depend on foot traffic.
A lot of people search for business information before they step out their front door, and catching those people online before they leave their homes is extremely valuable.
You can highlight your local SEO by doing keyword research on your specific town or area and compete with other popular businesses. This may require you to do a little digging on what the successful sites are doing and take a page from their book.
7. Give it Time
SEO doesn’t work overnight. In a lot of cases, you have to wait months until your traffic starts to come in full-force.
It’s possible to speed up the process, but this means using dirty tactics in many cases. Search engines are aware of this, and penalize those who don’t use honest means to generate web traffic and rankings.
It’s best to stick to your guns and conduct an honest campaign until the traffic starts flowing.
Consider a Professional
SEO for startups is essential, but it can be tricky. It’s especially tough if you haven’t had any prior digital marketing experience. You don’t have to go it alone, though.
There are plenty of professional SEO firms out there that can set you up with an effective SEO campaign that starts working faster than it would if you went it alone. Explore our site for more ideas and resources to get your website off of the ground.