Are you a startup or small business owner looking to get started with SEO for your business?
Running a startup is difficult – and marketing even more so. As a business owner, it’s important to understand that SEO, which is a technique that helps you rank higher in search engines such as Google, is vital for your startup website.
For early-age startups and new small businesses, SEO ensures that people who are searching for products/services that you offer land on your site instead of a competitor’s.
SEO is a proven strategy to:
- Increase your business or sales
- Establish your startup’s authority
- Increase your website traffic and brand awareness
- Improving user experience and engagement
- Reaching a wider audience and potential customers
If you are doing SEO on your own or have an in-house team, this checklist of essential tips will help you take the best possible decisions when implementing SEO for your startup website.
Before you think to implement SEO for your website, you need to make sure you have these setup and tools in place. Please note that some settings and installation might require the help of a marketing professional or SEO expert.
- Sign up for Google Search Console
- Set up Google Analytics on your website
- Set up website RSS feed using FeedBurner
- Link Google Search Console and Google Analytics together
- Create a robots.txt file.
- Create a sitemap or sitemap index file.
- Check all redirects with a slash or no slash and www or non-www
- Install all required plugins in your CMS such as W3 Total Cache, Yoast SEO, Akismet etc.
- Set website uptime tracking using Pingdom
- Set up Brand Alerts using Google Alerts
B) Keyword Research
One of the most important and valuable activities that allow you to find right keywords to target for your SEO efforts.
- Make list of your brand keyword or business name keywords
- Make list of products/services you offer and get keyword ideas for those using Google Keyword Planner
- Identify important keywords, their relevant and similar keywords
- Make list of long tail keywords and People also Search list from Google
- Identify who is ranking for your targeted keywords using SEMrush or Google Search and analyze their content
Content influences every aspect of your SEO strategy. Google and your customers both love engaging and high-quality content.
- Create high quality and relevant content for your audience
- Make use of keywords identified during your keyword research naturally in content
- Ensure each page of your site has at least 250 unique words
- Check grammar with Grammarly and plagiarism with Copyscape
- Use rich media such as audio, video, PPTs, PDFs and infographics in your content
- Set up a blog on your website to add fresh and new content to educated your audience
- Write articles that entertain, educate or help users to solve their problems
D) Site Structure and Design
A good site structure and design mean a good user experience for your site visitors. It covers all aspects including design, fonts, site color, navigation, buttons, whitespaces, images and the way you display your content on the page.
- Design your website according to your industry and competition, but make sure it delivers a great user experience and functionality.
- Plan your website hierarchy in advance, URL structure and their importance and place in navigation.
- Make use of Breadcrumbs that help in improving site usability and user experience
- Make it easy for users to navigate to your site. Make use of descriptive links and labels in Menu, Footer or sidebar section
- Make sure all pages should be accessed in less than 3 clicks from the homepage. This not only affects your SEO but also improves conversions.
- Develop a comprehensive internal linking structure that allows users to navigate a website and spread link juice around web pages.
E) On-Page SEO
By making few changes to your page elements such as title, description, URL, content of body etc. you can improve your search engine rankings and user experience.
- Write a unique meta title for each page. The ideal length is 60 characters. Include a target keyword in it.
- Write a unique and descriptive meta description for each page. The ideal length is 160 characters. Include a target keyword in it.
- Keep URL short and simple. Don’t forget to include the keyword in it.
- Each page should have one and only one H1 tag, preferably on your target keyword.
- Add alt tag and title property to each and every image.
- Make sure to use at-least one internal link in your content body that links to your other relevant page.
- Improve your page load time by using Content Delivery Network (CDN), browser caching, minify HTML, CSS and optimizing images. Check Google PageSpeed Insights for more suggestions and speed score for your webpage.
F) Link Building/Promotion
SEO is incomplete without link building. You need quality backlinks from authoritative sites and diverse anchor text for search engine rankings.
- Identify sites that list your competitors by typing their name into Google search.
- Identify backlinks of your competitors using tools such as SEMrush, Majestic or MOZ Open Site Explorer.
- Approach authoritative and relevant sites to link your website. This could be a forum, a guest post sites, industry research site, or a local listing site etc.
- Search your brand name, domain name or founder’s name on Google and identify sites that mention the name or link to your website. If something is missing or wrong, fix it.
- You can earn link easily by some PR efforts and local listing sites such as Google My Business, Yelp and YellowPages and startup communities such as Growth Hackers.
- Don’t spam with links and exact match anchor text. Make use of branded anchor and long-tail keywords as an anchor text.
- Make use of influence marketing to find and connect with top influencers in your niche and develop a genuine relationship with them.
G) Social Media
Social Media is an essential way to reach and connect with your customers, build your brand and drive traffic to your website.
- Set up your social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Quora, Reddit, Stumbleupon, YouTube, Vine, Slideshare, Instagram etc. Make sure to identify social platform where your customers and competitors are active.
- There are four important ingredients of a social media: voice, content, timing, and conversation. Voice is your brand personality, Content is something that you share to entertain, educate or help your audience, timing lets you know when to share with your audience, the conversation is what allows you to interact with your audience.
- Be transparent, authentic and consistent on social media.
- Use tools like Bufferapp and Hootsuite to schedule social media posts, monitor engagement to manage and share your content
Few bonus tips at the end…
- Check your site with Responsinator and see how it looks on different devices.
- Add Facebook author tag to your content
- Follow Moz Blog, Search Engine Land, The SEM Post, Search Engine Round Table, and HubSpot Blog to stay updated with SEO changes.
- Set up your goals in Google Analytics
- Make use of rich snippets, schema, and open graph to help Google better represent your content.
SEO will help your startup succeed
This checklist is not only a list of tips and things to consider but it is an essential strategy if you want your small business to succeed online. Constantly improving your website, publishing great content, and offering outstanding user experience on your site are the things that you need to have a better search engine ranking.
It’s that simple.
What do you think about these tips and checklist? Would like to add something? What strategies are you using for getting better SEO results for your startup?
Please share in comments sections.