SEO for Start-ups

Most people who use search engines don’t look beyond the first three or four listings that the search engine gives them. If you can appear high up the search listing, you will attract a lot more visitors to your web site and your business. Techniques to move your web site up the search listings are known as ‘search engine optimization’ or SEO.

To be truly successful with SEO and your online marketing you need to start early. SEO should be ingrained within every inch of your business and should be considered a strategy not a tactic. It’s worth the effort.

Starting a business often means managing a tight budget and prioritising your most immediate problems. That obviously means a lot of other business tasks fall by the wayside. It is one of the reasons why SEO so often falls into the ‘long term strategy’ bin and rarely climbs out.

I thought I would share with you the top two things you should be thinking about, that anyone can do…

Links, Links, Links

Links are the cornerstone to SEO and getting your site to rank highly. There are of course other factors but this is the big one.

When I talk about links I mean like this one and this one – links from one site to another. Links MUST be relevant and popular.

Relevancy – Links must be relevant to your particular niche. Look at gaining links from sites that cover the same topics as you do, it’s no good getting links from sites about cooking if you are a mechanic; you will do more harm than good.

Popularity – Your links need to have links. The easiest way to figure this out is to see if there is actual interaction on a website or is it a ghost town. Popular sites (within your niche) are a good place to find authoritative sites that will have already gained links.

When it comes to building links to your site there are a number of things you can do. Start by contacting your suppliers, associates and partnerships and request they link to you.

Next find popular bloggers who are passionate about what you do and send them your product to review. (There is a community online for almost everything…you’d be surprised!) This will gain you a link from their site as well as put you in front of their audience.

Make it easy for people to link to you by adding a press page to your site that contains a bio, high quality images and the company history that people can refer to.

Content, Content, Content

First and foremost think about your customers, not about the search engines. Don’t get into the nasty habit of thinking you need to hit ‘critical mass’ when it comes to content, only publish something if it supports a key business objective or supports a customer conversion.

Think about adding a blog to your site where you can add buying guides, news, reviews, etc. Remember to publish content only if it supports the business. If you’re struggling to produce quality content for your new blog try opening it up to guest contributors in exchange for a link to their site. Remember to keep your standards high and don’t just publish content for the sake of having fresh content.

Having fresh, quality content on your site will keep your customers and the search engines coming back to your site and you will begin driving traffic to your site through longtail keyword phrases.

Richard Patey offers startups in Norwich SEO strategy and advice through Startup Norfolk.

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