For a start-up, achieving significant organic visibility in search engines has become very competitive. There are some fundamental principles in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that remain the same, but a lot has also changed and you need to be doing more than the basics to achieve real impact.
The correct SEO strategy can help you increase organic traffic, secure more conversions, and drive business growth.
Here are essential tips to boost your Start-up’s visibility in search.
1. Optimize your Google My Business Profile
Google Business Listings, officially known as Google my Business, is a powerful listing that appears directly on Search Engine Page Results and offers a snapshot of your business. It highlights your best features and enables your customers to see your contact details and other important information in a glimpse.
It’s a very powerful tool that improves engagement, boosts your visibility in local searches, and converts customers right from the search results and most of all, it’s free to use and optimize! For a start-up, this is the first item on your SEO to-do list. All you need to do is to create a Google My Business Account, fill in all the information and images about your business, and you’re good to go. Be aware that this profile also has a section for reviews in which you can encourage your customers to use, to help you boost your credibility and provide social proof.
2. Start with Free SEO Tools
You might not have the budget for a full-fledged SEO technology yet, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have anything at your disposal. There are some great free SEO tools out there that can help you significantly. First, there’s Google Analytics and Google Search Console that you should start using as early as possible. Next, there are some free tools like Ubersuggest that can offer you competitor analysis, keyword research and backlink audit. Most paid tools on the market also have a free trial period that you can benefit from to establish the foundation of your SEO strategy.
3. Have a Keywords Strategy
One of the biggest mistakes for start-ups is optimizing for SEO without a proper keywords’ strategy. Make sure you conduct keyword research to understand where your audience and competition are coming from and to choose specific keywords to optimize for.
In order to achieve the same in a cost-effective manner, you could hire freelance SEO consultants and freelance SEO expert and other such candidates looking for freelance jobs pertaining to SEO. When building a strategy, don’t aim for the widest and most general keywords in your domain, as such keywords will be extremely competitive and offer low ROI.
It’s advisable for start-ups to optimize for two types of keywords:
a) Specific commercial keywords that your audience is searching for and related directly to your offering.
b) Niche keywords and long-tail questions that target the niche audience in your market and answers their specific needs.
Such a double-edged strategy will help you break into the SEO market as a start-up, even if you are competing with major brands.
4. Revamp your Content to Offer the Highest Value
Search engine algorithms are increasingly focusing on giving more power to value, authenticity, and simply good content. Stuffing your content with the same keywords is an outdated strategy and has a negative effect, as it’s considered artificial boosting by search engines and might be penalized.
The best SEO content is original content that gives real value to the user on a given topic. Pages that are solely built for search algorithms are usually phased out and demoted by search engines. As a start-up, you could hire freelance writers to create good, original content for your platform. There are a plethora of talented people looking for freelance jobs in the content writing arena. This would save costs and help you get quality content in a time bound manner.
5. Basic Page Elements are Still Very Important
Basic SEO elements, such as Title Tag, H1 Headings, Meta Descriptions, the URL, in addition to a well-optimized text, are still very important. As a rule of thumb, title tags and headings should be around 55 characters, while meta descriptions can be up to 155. Titles and URLs are essential in ranking well on search engines, but Meta Descriptions are not ranking factors.
Meta descriptions are the small line of text that appears under your link in search results and are important for the user so they can understand what your content is about. They have to be natural and enticing to encourage the user to click through. In Web Design, Dubai has a lot to offer considering the growth of start-up culture in the UAE. Freelancers opportunities are at exponential rise and you could use the talent available in the freelance jobs market to fulfil your requirements of keeping the basic page essentials in place.
6. Optimize for Mobile
Content that’s well-optimized for the Web might not be perfect for mobile, so optimize for mobile first. It’s most likely that most of your users are accessing your app or website through mobile devices, and most search engines, especially Google, give a significant boost to websites that are mobile-friendly. If you’re using Google Search Console, you can check your “mobile usability” report in there, and there’s also a free mobile-friendly test available from Google that can measure how effective your website is.
7. Speed is Important
A website’s loading speed is a critical factor in its SEO ranking and highly affects the user experience and conversion rates. A mere 1-second delay in loading can cost you 7% in conversions.
Test & optimize your loading speed for each page on your website by getting rid of unnecessary elements, decluttering sidebars and menus, compressing images, implementing gradual loading, and so on.
8. Use your URL Structure Strategically
Search engines need to be able to read your URL clearly to understand and rank your content. Something that looks like the following doesn’t work:
It ranks low because there’s nothing there that tells the engine about the content of the page. Compare it to a URL like this one from SEO MOZ, and the difference becomes clear:
In general, apply the following tips to create a good performing URL:
a) Use a full sentence or the title of the article.
b) Use hyphens in the middle of the content instead of words like “an, and, a”, and avoid other symbols like underscores _ or asterisks *.
c) Avoid capital letters.
d) Your best content goes in the root folder right after the domain, like in the example shown above.
9. Master Internal Linking
You probably have a lot of content that revolves around a single theme or some content that might be good to reference on other pages. Internal linking – using your own pages to link to other pages on your website – is a very useful tool when used correctly. Use it to link and cross-reference relevant content on your website to boost your ranking and funnel your visitors to more valuable pages.
10. Acquire Credible External Links
For a start-up, incoming links to your website from credible and strong domains will boost your signal significantly. Encourage your affiliates and partners to link to your website and content, but avoid low-quality links from shady domains (such as websites that only exist to link other websites) as these might have the opposite effects.
11. Fix your Broken Pages
Over time, your website will accumulate a significant number of 404 pages as content gets changed or removed. It’s important to routinely audit your website for any pages that display an error and redirect them to your new pages.
It’s important to use permanent redirection (a 301 redirection) and not temporary ones (302), as permanent redirections transfer some of its former rankings to the new page.
12. Boost your Signal with social media
The direct effect of social media likes and shares on Search Rankings is the subject of debate among SEO experts. However, there’s no denying that viral social media content acquires more visibility in search in an indirect way through the buzz, outgoing links, and increased traffic.
To get the best out of your social media, focus on creating useful content that’s share-worthy, and encourage people to like and share by asking them to. And in order to achieve success in this area, it is important that you have a social media marketing expert at your disposal. While it may be difficult as a startup to hire a person for this full time, there are many talented individuals offering good quality services in a cost efficient and time bound manner.