Startups are hard work. Starting a business is a big investment of time, energy, and money. There are a lot of unknowns, especially when it comes to marketing your business–digital marketing and SEO being one of them.
Fortunately, if you follow the right steps, SEO is well worth the risk. So, if you’re unsure where to begin, here are a few key SEO strategies to implement first.
1. On-page optimization
This is often overlooked, but it is a vital step. The goal is to implement website changes that will ensure search engine ranking improvement and that your SEO efforts don’t go to waste.
Optimize the following on-page elements:
Your website domain name (i.e. url) is a great place to include keywords you’d like to rank for in search engines. Avoid choosing a URL that is too long or includes numbers. People won’t remember it.
Your page title let’s humans know what the page is about, but it also gives search engine crawlers information about your site. Make sure your page title includes a target keyword, but avoid keyword stuffing (that will quickly result in a Google penalty).
Heading tags, as the name implies, are tags that are used for the creations of headings. The most important tag is the <h1> heading tag, and will usually be the title of a post. Heading tags have a top-down hierarchy from <h1> to <h6>.” Headings and subheadings within the content of each page should include the right keywords, but make sure they are formatted correctly. Your headings should be in a chronological order – h1 first, h2 for subheadings, h3, and so on. Using headings and subheadings are a great way to break up text and make it skimmable and readable.
On-site content should include relevant keywords. However, it’s important to make sure your content flows naturally. If the content is difficult to read because there are too many keywords, you will lose potential customers and damage your SEO efforts.
While meta data won’t have the biggest impact on search engine rankings, it’s always a good idea to customize meta descriptions. This is the short blurb of text you see under a website title in search results. It describes what your website is about. If yours is blank or confusing, you could miss out on potential traffic. It might not directly help SEO, but it is still beneficial.
Search engine crawlers will scan page content to find out what it’s about and what to rank for. Unlike humans, crawlers can’t interpret images. So ensure images have alt tags to describe them. You can even include a keyword within the alt tag.
Also, make sure your website is mobile friendly. Back in 2014, Google released an algorithm update dubbed Mobilegeddon. Essentially, they began to place considerable priority on websites optimized for mobile users. Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead (MicKinsey & Company). More people are using mobile devices to access the internet. So, it’s more important than ever to ensure your website is accessible.
2. Social media
These days it is cost-effective to raise brand awareness through social media. When you create a social media strategy, consider the platforms your ideal customers use. Facebook is popular, but is that where most of your audience hangs out?
In some cases, Instagram or LinkedIn will prove to be a better fit. Don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s better to be active and make an impact on a few platforms, rather than be everywhere with no real traction.
Use social media analytics tools like Sprout Social and Buffer to manage, schedule and measure all of your social media content through one simple-to-use platform. If you’re unsure which type of social media tools to use, here’s a good overview.
3. Create fresh content
Consistently produce fresh content. For starters, create a blog. “Keep your content on one single sub and root domain, preferably in subfolders (e.g. www.yoursite.com/blog). That’s how you’re going to maximize your potential SEO benefit.”
There are a number of advantages to blogging on your company website. When you publish fresh, relevant and high quality content on a consistent basis it will positively impact SEO. Search engines will crawl your website more often when fresh content is available. Not only does this impact rankings, it also gives you an opportunity to create keyword-rich content.
However, keywords aren’t a central part of Google’s algorithms anymore. It’s far more important to create high-quality content in lieu of keyword heavy blogs.
Content marketing, and blogging in general, helps you to establish yourself as an industry expert and authority. Readers will begin to trust you, as it becomes clear you actually know what you are talking about. As you build up rankings and become more authoritative, you’re more likely to grab the attention of other websites as well. This can result in gaining the all important backlinks.
This will not only drive more traffic to your website, but also establish your brand reputation. As you communicate more often with your audience, share content on social media, and encourage social sharing with buttons to your website and blog you’ll boost overall engagement.
Remember, SEO takes time. But if you follow these tips, you can kickstart your SEO efforts and reap the benefits.
This article has been edited.
Sarah Wykes is a copywriter for digital marketing agency Matter Solutions, based in Brisbane, Australia. Matter Solutions are experts in digital marketing with over 15 years of experience in SEO and web design. Connect with @mattersolutions on Twitter.