For any startup, gaining visibility online can prove to be a challenging, time consuming, and frustrating task. The company is new, has no loyal customer base or social media following and limited resources; the dilemma of choosing between shady shortcuts for quick results and the more time consuming white hat SEO services is, therefore an understandable one.
However, the best advice for startups seeking to find their feet in the organic search and social media worlds is to study Google Webmaster guidelines. As idealistic as they maybe, the guidelines will help you create a strategy that will last the test of time and the now infamous Google updates.
In addition to that, it would be a good idea to follow the 4 best practices listed below:
1) Personal Branding
This is where a lot of startups stumble. People today want to connect with the person behind the business, not an impersonal idea of “we” or “the company.”
In the current scenario it’s important that you create a brand around your thought leaders and project them as the faces of your business through your website, blogs, and social media profiles.
2) Functional Not Necessarily Fancy
As a startup you know you need to create a great first impression, however, building an over the top fancy website may not be the best way to go about it.
Google in fact recently released a video focused on helping startups master SEO and addressed functionality of websites as a key point. For startups it’s important to focus more on easy navigability and uploading useful, relevant, and indexable content.
In addition to that it’s also crucial to use appropriate keywords in your text while ensuring that they are relevant and appear naturally. Avoid excessive usage, which in search engine terms is called keyword stuffing. Also, it’s a good idea to use different permutations and combinations of your keywords to maximize your content’s relevance. For instance, if you own an online toy store, you may include short and longtail keywords like plush toys, soft toys, dolls for little girls, etc, in your content.
Using your targeted keywords in your title tags, page meta tags and descriptions is also important. Ideally, each page on your website should have unique meta descriptions and titles.
In a recent Google video on SEO for startups, Maile Ohye, (developer advocate on Google’s Webmaster Central Team) recently gave away a great tip. She advised start-ups to focus on answering questions that their visitors might have. For example, a start-up can feature testimonials on the main page to answer the common question—‘Is the product useful?’
3) Focus On User Experience
Having an FAQ section on the website with answers to key questions like, what if the product doesn’t work, the exact fee/cost of the product, would the company give refunds, etc, should be addressed.
These factors, however, only form a part of a website’s user experience. Your site’s structure, download speed, relevance, usefulness and freshness of content are all important contributing elements.
4) Use Social Media
SEO today goes way beyond building an inbound link profile. What’s perhaps more important is the user experience you offer and the social signals you generate. So, create a blog section, upload fresh content, add social media widgets, share you content through your personal social media profiles, encourage new customers to “like’, ‘follow’ you by offering them incentives like Free e-books, whitepapers, etc.
In today’s scenario, social signals can give you a significant boost in search engine rankings and also open up additional avenues for traffic generation.
You do not have to be a big boy to play and win the SEO game. Start-ups with their limited resources too can find their way to the top by adopting the right marketing strategies.
Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Vancouver SEO company that provides services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to guest post on your blog please contact www.pitstopmedia.com