SEO Guide for Startups & New Entrepreneurs
Search engine optimization is critical for new startups to make a mark online. Effective SEO plans will increase your startup’s search engine ranking to appear in the top results page. Your startup doesn’t have the advantage of name recognition or brand awareness. As an entrepreneur, you need strong SEO strategies to get discovered by your target audience. Getting a steady, organic flow of traffic to your website will boost your conversions and if you’re an eCommerce business, your sales and bottom line. Smart search engine optimization is how your startup can edge ahead of long-standing industry competitors. Here are seven startup SEO secrets for new entrepreneurs like yourself to jumpstart your business with a better online presence.
Many Startup SEO Tools are Free
Budding entrepreneurs might believe that search engine optimization is too expensive. Startups don’t have big budgets to hire an entire team of SEO specialists. In reality, SEO requires more time and effort than money. Big-dollar SEO consultants and software aren’t necessary. SEO reaps the highest return on investment when you utilize the free tools available.
For instance, Google Analytics is a must-have SEO tool with a free version. Google Analytics is essential for getting in-depth insights into your SEO ranking and incoming web traffic. The Google Keyword Planner is a 100 percent free resource to locate the best SEO keywords to target. Yoast is a free WordPress plugin for entrepreneurs to receive SEO scores for blog posts. Take advantage of other tools like SEMrush, MozBar, and Backlinko that cost $0.
Content Still Reigns Supreme
Publishing quality, optimized content remains the top SEO tactic for a ranking boost. Every entrepreneur needs to establish a startup as a subject-matter expert. Google prioritizes websites that have posted a multitude of original, well-written content entries about a searched topic. Expand your website with an active blog for exploring every aspect of your target niche.
How can you make certain your web content adds SEO value? Incorporate long-tail keyword phrases of three or more search terms. It’s easier for startups to rank on long-tail keywords that are more specific and less competitive. For example, a keyword like “baking” is too broad and saturated for startups to get noticed. A long-tail keyword like “healthy recipes for dessert” would be better. Shape exciting, engaging blog content readers will enjoy around your long-tail keywords.
Website Speed Can Tank Your SEO
Entrepreneurs are often obsessed with the look of their startup website design. Aesthetics matter, but so does the page speed. Packing too many big features on your website can make loading last forever. Sluggish websites do more than annoy impatient internet users. Slow load times negatively impact your SEO efforts. Since July 2018, Google has included website speed as a ranking factor. Google prefers page load times under 0.5 seconds.
Does your startup website’s speed pass muster? If you don’t know, use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. Simply enter your website URL and push the “analyze” button. This SEO timesaver performs diagnostics to find which page elements are taking too long. Look for opportunities to improve your website speed, such as removing unused Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code. Keep time-consuming site redirects to a minimum. Compress your image and video files for lightning-fast loads.
SEO Demands a Mobile Responsive Design
Mobile responsiveness has become one of the biggest on-page SEO ranking factors. In 2020, Oberlo reported that 63 percent of Google’s 3.5 billion daily searches come from mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets don’t display websites the same as desktop computers do. Mobile users typically abandon a website right away if it doesn’t open properly. Having an unfriendly mobile design will increase your startup’s bounce rate, which damages your SEO.
Instead of creating a mobile and desktop version, build a responsive website design. Mobile responsive designs adapt the website layout and content to fit any viewing device. Whether users have an eight-inch phone or 15-inch laptop screen, your website will look right. Insert viewport meta tags into your CSS coding. Set the width properties at 100 percent to scale images and videos to screen size. Don’t forget to add viewport width units for changing text font sizes too.
Online Business Listings Affect SEO
Startups don’t have instantly recognizable name brands like big companies do. How can search engines and search users trust your startup? As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to authenticate your startup’s legitimacy. Begin by creating a Google My Business account. Input and verify your startup contact information. Beef up your listing with geographic location coordinates and hours of operation. More complete Google My Business profiles rank higher in the search results.
What’s said about your startup on other business directories also impacts SEO. Entrepreneurs need to monitor their listings and reputation on the web. Search for your startup on review platforms, including Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. Claim your business listings and fill in any missing info gaps. Read through the comments and ratings consumers have posted. Responding apologetically to negative reviews can boost local SEO.
Backlinking is a Crucial Startup SEO Strategy
Further, startups can gain online trust by building a better backlink profile. Backlinks are links embedded on third-party websites that lead back to your startup. Backlinks drive another website’s traffic organically to your own site. Not all backlinks are created equal though. Only backlinks from high-caliber, authoritative domains aid your SEO ranking. Google frowns upon backlinks your startup business might get from unreputable sources, especially spam sites.
What are some ideas to bolster your backlinking? Promote top-notch blog content on your startup’s social media pages. Author guest posts on other websites and insert a backlink. Create a unique video, tutorial, or infographic that internet users will share. Reach out to journalists about spotlight features on your startup. Donate to charitable funds for a mention on their website. Also, remember to clean up your backlink profile by disavowing bad links for SEO.
Startups Can Over-Optimize Their Websites
Every entrepreneur strives to optimize its startup website for a strong SEO ranking. Did you know you can overdo it though? Over-optimization can make your SEO strategy backfire. Don’t lose sight of and compromise your user experience goals. Stuffing keywords into repetitive, nonsensical content won’t work. Paying people for fake reviews or backlinks can earn your startup a Google penalty. Also, make sure that you familiarize yourself with Google’s ad rules and perform an advanced checkup on your ads, as you may get Google’s two-click penalty for publishers without even knowing it. All in all, avoid pushing the envelope with unethical, black hat SEO practices.
There are plenty of ways for startups to naturally improve their SEO without rigging the search engine algorithms. Focus on developing a secure, accessible website with superior content that speaks to your target audience. Website metrics like click-through rates and dwell time matter to Google. Social signals, such as the number of shares on Twitter, are also important. Pleasing internet users will consequently make Google happy. Use these seven startup SEO secrets for new entrepreneurs to launch a well-performing, high-ranking website that converts.