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Starting a business? Then you’re busy. So busy, in fact, that you probably don’t believe you have any time for search engine optimization (SEO). However, many of your strongest competitors are implementing SEO for startups effectively. If you don’t take SEO seriously, you’re just handing them an advantage on a silver platter.
Many founders view SEO for startups as a mysterious process that sometimes involves magical spells or witch doctors. The truth, however, is that a few good tips and best-practices will demystify the process and get you headed down the right path. What followers are nine such tips.
SEO for startups: best practices
- Name Your Startup with SEO in Mind
To be a truly effective gladiator in the highly-competitive arena of SEO, create a business name that’s optimal for search.
Will your startup primarily serve one city or area? This could give you an SEO advantage because it enables you to weave the city, product or service into your company’s name. Someone searching for “pet supplies in Boston” would find your business faster if your startup were called Boston Pet Supplies rather than FeFe’s Furry Fiesta.
If your startup will serve more than one city, get creative and think of other names that could complement your SEO efforts.
- Choose Your Domain Name with SEO in Mind
Choose a domain name for your startup that closely or exactly matches the company name you’ve chosen. Keep in mind that domains ending in .com are more memorable than those ending in .org or others. If your domain name contains the location and product you’re offering, Google will very likely lead such searchers to your startup.
- Determine the Target Keywords for Your Startup
Many busy startup founders feel like they have no time for such a detail-oriented step, but it can’t be skipped. Whether your business is a startup or a Fortune 500 company, SEO success largely depends on knowing which keywords you need to target. It’s important to research the words currently being used to search for your products and services, and which words have the least SEO competition. If you don’t have the expertise or the time for keyword research, hire a pro. Neglect this step at your own risk.
- Create a Lot of Valuable Content
New content and updates will help your rankings, so it’s very important to your SEO efforts that your website doesn’t become inactive or cold. Fresh, frequent content is a must. Include the keywords you uncovered in your keyword research, and remember that your content needs to be beneficial to your audience. So put valuable spins on your products or industry using blog posts, videos, infographics and anything else your customers will love and share. (Relevant content also encourages backlinks, which I’ll touch on soon).
Related: SEO Strategy [Infographic]
- Make Mobile Your Mission
Don’t fall into the trap of making mobile an afterthought, saying, “We’ll get everything all set up, and then when we’re done, we’ll make our site optimized for mobile.” No. Think about mobile right from the start. Google rewards websites that are designed with mobile responsiveness, and frowns upon sites that don’t give mobile searchers the quick, easy experience they demand.
- Feed Google’s Need for Speed
A website’s loading speed is also evaluated by Google. Sites that are quick to load tend to rank better than slower sites. Take advantage of the several WordPress plugins available for improving loading time. If you don’t use WordPress, pay a little extra for web hosting that’s designed for speed, or get expert help from a coder.
- Engage on Social Media
Your startup probably has at least one or two social accounts. If so, use them! Share your content and engage with customers and prospects. Avoid mistakes such being too impersonal or doing too much self-promotion. Social media engagement drives traffic to your startup’s website, and Google takes notice of this engagement.
- Build Backlinks
Although this appears toward the bottom of the list, it’s certainly not least in importance. Websites that are heavily linked to are ranked higher than sites with fewer backlinks.
Create valuable content that other websites will find valuable enough to link to. More content equals more chances of backlinking. Infographics are excellent sources of backlinks because everyone loves easy-to-understand information. Guest posting to widely-read blogs is another good way to earn backlinks. As with everything else in SEO, if you don’t have the time or expertise to earn backlinks, hire a pro to help you.
For SEO to be effective, you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. Tools are available for SEO analytics. Some tools are free, and others are premium. No matter which ones you use, the point is to avoid being in the dark about your SEO efforts.
Don’t make things easy for your competition
While not all of your competitors are gurus at SEO, many of them certainly are. You have to be strong in SEO if you want your startup to show up to the party when customers search for your products and services.
The good news is that although it can be time consuming, the process isn’t a mystery. Start with the tips above, and hire an expert if you hit obstacles you can’t handle on your own.