Search engine rankings, and the methods by which one achieves quality rankings, has always been an organic, ever-changing process rather than a simple and straightforward to-do list. From obvious, announced algorithm adjustments and overhauls to more subtle shifts, it can be pretty difficult as an entrepreneur to understand how to attain good rankings. Between keeping track of update names like Penguin and Panda alongside a laundry list of acronyms, it can sometimes give even seasoned SEOs a headache.
This isn’t meant to scare you away: SEO can be hard, but like any other element of building a startup, is also very rewarding. Well-constructed SEO can slowly build steady traffic and sales over time, and typically at significantly reduced costs compared to options like PPC marketing.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to cut through the complexities of building SEO for your home business or startup by providing a simple and straightforward list of tips and tricks. Your startup deserves every single leg up you can give it over the competition, and strong SEO can easily rank as one of the most important marketing initiatives you could engage in for your fledgling business.
SEO Changes Regularly – So Date Your Methods
Even this article will one day be obsolete, where SEO is concerned. If you’re looking into SEO, always pay close attention to the date attached to any recommendations. Are they reasonably recent? Dated before or after major updates? Are the recommendations confirmed by multiple other sources?
Always Begin With On-Page Elements
Your on-page SEO elements include everything from your page-naming schematic to the content on your pages and your page and post hierarchies. Sure, you could build backlinks to pages as you make pages: but focusing your efforts on crafting an SEO-strong website will help reduce mishaps like building links to a page that you realize you need to re-name or scrap altogether.
Provide Content that Adds Value
Google assigns pages a value ranking based on many metrics: but one of the biggest metrics is value to the reader. How long visitors stay on the pages you make, and how they interact with your content (such as leaving comments), and even whether or not you supplement your content with rich media, such as pictures or video, all affect your ranking. Instead of churning out pages with sparse content, provide deep, rich content that will keep visitors on the page.
Build Authority Links
Links to your domain name from other websites can pass along SEO value, which can improve your website’s rankings. However, websites in your industry, or with special designations, or which have a great deal of authority themselves pass along the most SEO value. A great way to gain authority links for your website is to join your local Chamber of Commerce, to provide a donation to a charity which posts the contact information of notable donors, and even to create profile pages on industry websites or journals.
It’s unfortunate but true that many non-tech oriented entrepreneurs who dive into SEO will only pull the most obvious keywords about their businesses from their own imagination, rather than investing time into quality research. When selecting keywords to use in the titles of pages and posts on your startup website, it’s often best not to presume anything, and to go to web-based tools like the Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion tool to recommend a broad scope of potential keywords for your business. It might be that keywords you haven’t anticipated are linked to the most potential traffic!
The Bottom Line
Even if you’re not very tech-savvy, getting a good SEO foundation for your startup’s website should be relatively straightforward! Following the tips above, like double and triple-checking your SEO markups, annotating alt text, including rich media, and hitting keywords in significant areas will help to set you up for success. As a general rule of thumb, SEO work does not produce overnight, but instead, if done consistently, can produce traffic and rankings over time. It’s a great example of the adage ‘you get what you give’.