Building an online business from scratch is difficult. Whether you’re launching a brand new product, or nudging your way into an already-crowded market, there’s a huge amount of work involved in getting your startup started.
Can SEO really help my startup?
Yes, SEO can definitely help – if you know what you want from it! It’s not a black art, it’s not underhand – at least not if it’s being done properly.
Properly integrated into your wider marketing strategy, SEO can help you find your target market by making it easy for them to find you. And startups are ideally placed to make the most of SEO – their newness means that there are few barriers to change.
Beware the Black Hats
As we touched upon last week about the SEO review My Metro Talk, search engines are very good at figuring out which websites are using disreputable practices or “Black Hat” techniques such as overly spammy content and link farming, and will punish them accordingly. Google’s algorithm is focusing more and more on rooting out sites which are found to be using these techniques, in order to increase the quality of any given Google result.
Top tips for Startup SEO
There’s a massive amount of information out there for SEO startups, far more than can be covered here. SEOMoz has a great guide as does Tone for example. But if all that seems a little overwhelming right now, here are our top 5 tips to get you started in effective SEO in your startup.
- Do your research
Remember, search engines need to be able to find your website. Then they need to be able to crawl and index the pages, and then they’ll rankyou according to the relevance of the keywords. Put yourself in your customer(s) shoes – what are they looking for? What words will they type into a search engine in order to find it? Can the search engine spider find and crawl your site easily?Both Google’s Keyword Tool from Google and Hot Trends are really useful for finding out what’s being discussed, and how many people are discussing it. Consider your keywords and content accordingly.
- Invest in the long term
SEO isn’t a short term fix. If an SEO company makes wild claims about overnight success, run away. They might well do huge damage to your brand. Building organic links, leveraging the value of social integration and honing your website design will take time.
- Think strategically
Aim for your use of SEO to be strategic, rather than tactical. It’s not just about picking the right URLs, or stuffing the site with keywords. There’s a great guide about tactical SEO or strategic SEO that Aaron Wall wrote over at SEObook.
- Concentrate on good content
Social integration in particular is becoming more and more important for SEO. And to benefit from that, you need good quality content that people want to share, and can do so easily. If your site is hard to use, confusing or frustrating for the user, that’s never going to happen.
- Make sure you’re measuring!
SEO isn’t a one-shot activity. You probably won’t get it right first time, and the only way to hone your skills is to make sure that you’re measuring. Get registered for Google Analytics (and webmaster tools) and keep a close eye on them!