seo for startups and beginners

SEO Search Engine Optimization for startups and beginners.

Aim and Objective of This Article

This article is aimed at a small business who have their main content below 50 pages.

My objective for this article is to provide you the basics in the most efficient manner possible and to help you feel assured that you’re not doing something wrong related to search, and last, to provide pointers for more information.

www Version or Non-www Version?

The first thing to do with your domain is to decide whether you want visitors to see www. or the non-www version.

Now, many large corporations, like Google and Facebook, actually keep the www version, but you’re free to do whichever you want.

Verify Ownership

The next step is to verify ownership of your site in Webmaster tools.

I encourage you to sign up for email forwarding.

Email forwarding allows Google send any message to you, like when they think you might have been hacked or they think your site is hosting malware, or we’re having trouble crawling your site.

We found a high number of unreachable URLs. So any of those messages can be forwarded to Google Webmaster Tools and if you have email forwarding enabled, it can be forwarded directly to the inbox that you check every day.

Perform Background

One more research tip is to perform a background check on your domain.

For example, if it was previously owned by spammers, then you’re not going to rank very well now.

One good way to check is to look at the keywords listed in Webmaster tools for your site and see if you see any unwanted words there.

Also, you can see if you’re indexed by performing a site search with your domain.

Any time you update a page or you create an entirely new page, you can trigger that entire process to happen by Google and have it available to searchers even faster.

Analytics Code

My next advice is to include analytics code whether it’s Google analytics or another provider.

Now you wanna start collecting this data even if you’re not ready to use it because once you hire someone it’s better to have some historical information about your site.

Site Design

The next part is the strategy in your site design. You’ll want to create a great experience for all your visitors.

Some questions to ask when it comes to site strategy are a utility. Does our site design meet the needs of each persona and does each persona have a great experience?

Navigation, if a searcher lands on a child page, and that’s common with search results they don’t funnel directly through your homepage all the time, can they figure out where they are? And can they easily navigate to where they want to be?

Site Focus

Another question is whether or not your site is focused.

Does each page contain one logical topic that’s obvious to visitors?

It’s common with startups that because you’re tight on time and resources, that as you collect more and more information, you just add that to existing pages and make those extremely long forcing users to scroll.

But, instead, think about your site design and if that should be broken up into separate pages.

Define your Conversion

The next step and this is especially helpful for startups, is to define your conversion, whether that means for visitors to sign up for the newsletter or to try your product,etc, you want to have a relevant conversion on every page.

Like a call to action. And not force users to make extra clicks.
When it comes to your copy or the actual information that you have on each page, it’s great to include relevant keywords naturally in your text. These keywords are like query terms that normal people would use to find your product or your business.

One more thing I wanted to mention about the copy on your pages is to answer your visitors or the personas questions that they might have.

For example, is the product reputable? Perhaps show reviews or let other users review. Or if a user might ask, “What if this product doesn’t work” then explain the customer satisfaction policy.

Every page should include a unique topic, a unique title as that can be displayed in search results, a unique meta description which might be displayed as the snippet and then for non-dynamic sites, this is just a best practice, but it’s good to have keywords in the filename, lowercase and hyphen separated.

Anchor Texts

And then, of course, descriptive anchor text for every link whether you’re linking internally or externally to another site. So here’s anchor text that could use some improvement.

For more information on our product specifications, click here. Click here is not that descriptive. A better way to have it would be, for more information please read our product specifications. So that’s what you wanna aim for.

A good example of a site that has a unique topic on each page as well as a unique title and descriptive anchor text, can be showing with this search result for NASA. Now, NASA doesn’t only have their homepage shown but also has generated site links.

This site links algorithmically by Google but they can be influenced by great site design, having a unique title as well as great anchor text. I’ll quickly cover some potential pitfalls.

Please do not hire a rogue or shady SEO. If they guarantee any rankings it is too good to be true. Please don’t participate in link schemes or buying links for the purpose of passing PageRank.

And last, I know it’s great to have a fancy site but try not to focus so much on site fanciness that you don’t actually have indexable and searchable text.

Another thing to consider about your site is the page low time.
I’ve noticed a lot of startups don’t necessarily have time to focus on this.

Ranking

Now, let’s talk about ranking. Check that you rank for your company name.
Hopefully, a number once was site links. If you want to rank for other terms, you can use Webmaster tools’ search queries.

For startups, it might be the case that no one searches for your new kind of product or service, so you have very low query volume.

At that point, you could prioritize, finding a potential audience or community through existing forums, blogs or social media sites.

Know that, to rank well and to stay on top, provide an awesome product or service. And then, generate buzz.

I think that social media is terrific and one big reason is that rather than just having an avenue of users coming through search, this really diversifies your approach and you can get visitors from different sources.

Few Tips

But here are a few tips. First of all, think holistically.

So, you might create an identity on key sites, and then participate. But, remember, you eventually wanna connect users to an entry point of conversion.

Think about that entire user experience from a social media site directly to conversion on your site. Also, and this is fairly obvious, but focus your energy where your audience hangs out.

And last, play to your authentic strengths, it’s likely that your company has limited resources.

My last takeaway is this, even with great advertising and terrific marketing, valuable conversion still happens on your site.

So please, stay focused and make sure you’re ready.

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