One of the most important things for new businesses, startups and entrepreneurs must be attracting enough customers, visitors and interest in general. While there are many ways to achieve this result, one of the most effective, especially in the long run, is SEO.
While there often will be more pressing matters to take care of when you are just launching your new website, such as sharing on social media, sending press releases, printing and distributing flyers, advertisements on AdWords and other online vendors, and buying local and global advertising in printed media, newspapers and magazines, SEO will eventually become cost-effective.
SEO often takes time to be effective, and thus many people are interested in the more direct approaches before exploring search optimization of their websites. This can be right or wrong, depending on each specific case, but as a general rule of thumb, it can be advised to begin with SEO as soon as possible, since these days, most optimization works in harmony with traditional marketing and PR.
By thinking your SEO tactics and strategies into your overall marketing plans you can ensure that your efforts will work for you on multiple levels, by creating content for sharing, adding a link and anchor text to your content can provide good results, but if you ignore SEO in your marketing campaigns you will have to work twice as hard, once you begin to work with it.
Here are some practical steps that you can start with today, in order to promote your search rankings on the popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
On-site search engine optimization
One of the most critical aspects about ranking well in the search results, on site optimization is all about making sure that your website is coded properly, uses the correct HTML tags, testing for mobile responsiveness, tweaking load times and cache settings, and in general maintaining a nicely looking website, full of relevant content.
- Use your main keyword in the website title
- Only use 1 <H1> tag, and have your keyword in it
- Use <h2> – <h6> to create subheadings instead of making text bold
- Do not link out to more than 30 sites on any one page (linking to your own internal sites is fine)
- Utilize deep linking techniques, meaning that if you have a blog post about app development, and another one about funny apps, both articles could contain a link in their text to the other article.
- Use Google Pagespeed Insights to make sure your loading time is fine
- Use Google webmaster tools (search console) to check mobile friendliness
There are of course many more steps to take in order to get the best possible optimized website, and if you google “Free seo analysis” you can submit your site and get a detailed analysis highlighting any problems or issues your website might have.
Obvious social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and sometimes LinkedIn, but there are hundreds of sites out there, and depending on your website’s subject matter, the 4 big sites listed above might not be the best places to share your content.
If you run a website selling dog food, it does not make much sense to post blog articles about the best dog food on LinkedIn, since that is mainly a community for business and commerce, but sharing your website on dog related media sites could prove much more effective for your marketing.
We advise you to research and find a minimum of 4 different social platforms where you will focus your efforts, and then write content and share that content with those sites in mind. Spend the extra time and create good header graphics, good logos and unique descriptions on each social site for optimal gains.
More than anything, search engines like good links. Not just any link though, and especially not spammy links. If you are just starting out with your link building, you need to read up on Google’s guidelines for search engine optimization, so you won’t get punished for breaking their rules. A manual spam action against you will make your site invisible in Google, and all your potential visitors will go to your competitors instead. So be careful, read up on basic link building rules.
Now, once you know that just linking on facebook comments and blog posts is not the best way to go about building links, you can start the hard and never-ending process of linkbuilding.
10 years ago you could just submit your website to directories and call it a day, not anymore. Now you need to get good links, from respected and trusted websites, something most new startups or entrepreneurs will find hard at first. The good news is that once you know what to do, and how to do it, all it takes is time and effort.
Using a service such as MajesticSEO, Ahrefs or Moz Open Site Explorer, will let you see links to your site or your competitors, and thus get an understanding of which sites are strongest and if you check the backlinks of the top ranking competitors sites for your keyword, you can hopefully find links from other websites that also want to give you a link.
Usually you can divide linkbuilding into 2 parts, the low hanging fruit, and the fruit you have to work hard for.
Low hanging fruit
These links are usually coming from websites with top lists, directories or map listings. Basically, if a website is allowing you to register a profile for free, and add your business and website to that website, it is worth taking 5-10 minutes and doing so. However, these links are rarely that good quality, since everybody can get these links, but still, if you have a new website, spending 5 hours on submitting to 30 sites of this nature can do you much good.
Okay, now you have gotten all the easy links, you have to get more creative and actually provide something new and interesting for other people. If you are a large startup with a killer concept, you might be lucky enough that just writing about your business models and plans will get you featured on websites, but if you are selling dog food it can be difficult to write good content that other people want to share.
This is where the hard work comes in. Instead of writing about your different products of dog food, you could write a blog post called “7 Dog Personalities Similar To Humans” or other interesting headlines, not talking about dog food in particular, but related to dogs, and somewhere in that article or blog post, you can mention your dog food, and link to your website.
This is hard work since you have to write a lot of content, usually 500+ words for each article, you have to be creative and write about interesting topics and subjects, and you have to connect to people willing to share your link, or even post your article on their own website. The ladder is alo known as guest posting and is a valid strategy in itself, if done right.
Mark Pedersen has been working with digital media for 16 years, and is currently in Digital Marketing, developing mobile apps at Nodes