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| SEO |

Where to Start When Beginning SEO for Startups

When it comes to online marketing, it can be hard for startup owners to figure out what steps to take to get started with SEO—especially those who are completely new to marketing their businesses online. When should you start thinking about optimizing your website to boost search rankings? Is this something you should be considering at all, or are there other elements of your online presence that you should be targeting first, such as social media marketing?

The truth is that, while there are many elements of your digital marketing that you should be focusing on, SEO is one area that you definitely do not want to ignore. The importance of solid search rankings in a Google-focused digital age is huge. How can you get started? The following five steps will give you a head start in managing SEO for startups so you can help your business improve its rankings on major search engines. Before we get started on those guidelines, let’s take a look at what an SEO strategy is at its core.

What Is SEO Strategy?

Before we look at each of the steps involved in an SEO strategy, it’s important to understand what an SEO strategy is in the first place. An SEO strategy—or Search Engine Optimization strategy—allows your business to plan the design of its online properties and content in a way that allows for the best possible ranking on major search engines, such as Google and Bing. One great example of an action you can take to improve your online visibility is by creating a carefully planned keyword strategy, which is one of the five steps we will talk about in more detail.

Improving your business’s search results can help you attract the business you need to thrive and get in front of your target audience by showing up quickly when people search online for terms related to your company’s offerings. Fortunately, following the steps below will help you figure out how to improve your search ranking—even if you are new to digital marketing or SEO.

1. Optimize Your Local Search Listings

If your business deals with local customers, chances are you will want to do everything in your power to find the targeted local business you need to thrive. Your online local search listings are one of the best ways to attract local customers through organic traffic. As a result, filling out and optimizing your listings should be one of your earliest SEO goals and one of the first SEO strategy steps you take. Fortunately, this step should be among the easiest if you have a good grasp of your business’s core information and some digital tools to help you.

Where should you start when it comes to managing your online listings? Claiming your Google My Business listing, verifying it, and making sure that it is filled out with accurate information is vital. Google is the most popular search engine. Its local business listings are used by those searching for your business to find updated, reliable information about the goods and services they need.

Your Google My Business listings should include as much accurate information as possible, with video and images filling in the blanks for your target audience who needs to get better acquainted with your startup before doing business with you. Including FAQs in the listing’s Q&A section can help potential customers trust your company more. Providing answers from business leadership will further boost your credibility and help your startup stand out from the crowd.

While you want to focus on Google My Business, other local business listings are also important for any SEO strategy for startups. Examples of the big Google competitors include Bing Places, Yelp, and Apple Maps, among others. If you need some help managing your listings, tools such as Yext and Whitespark can be of great help. You can also seek the help of a professional marketer focused on local search optimization.

2. Complete a Technical SEO Audit

One of the best SEO tips for beginners is ensuring that they complete a detailed technical SEO audit before moving forward with any SEO project. Even if you think the technical side of things is running smoothly, you may need to take a closer look and make sure that there aren’t tweaks that need to be made or emergencies in the making that need to be handled before they turn into a massive problem down the road.

Not sure where to start? Try out a tool such as Ahrefs, SE Ranking, or Semrush that can help even tech-averse business owners see where the technical details of their SEO strategies need work. Any issues or errors you find will then need to be corrected. You can handle anything you are knowledgeable about on your own, but a web developer with high-end technological skills should handle any major concerns, such as server issues or coding errors.

You can also use this Technical SEO Checklist to get started. Researching and understanding each potential Google ranking factor can also give you a heads-up compared to competitors who may not be looking into these detailed concepts.

3. Start Optimizing Your Pages

The next step in any plan related to SEO for startups is to complete keyword research. This element may seem intimidating f you are new to this aspect of your business’s marketing strategy. The good news is that there are a variety of helpful SEO for beginners guides online to get you started with confidence. Tools such as Google Analytics can also be extremely helpful when finding and planning keywords in an organized and strategic way.

Once your keywords are ready, it’s time to match them up to any of your website’s pages that naturally relate to them. If you find that some vital keywords don’t match your current offerings, it’s time for you to look into creating new content that allows you to use your most important keywords with ease.

Where should you start when it comes to new content creation? First, develop a content calendar that details all the new pages that your company needs to create. If you haven’t put much effort into your content marketing strategy in the past, now is the time to do so.

Make sure that everything from your latest blog post to your landing pages serves a specific and useful purpose on your site while keeping SEO in mind. This can and should include optimizing H1s, body text, and page titles for every piece of copy and content on your site. You may need help from your team or an outside professional to create copy and content that meets all of your marketing goals.

4. Develop Your Link Attraction Strategy

Now that you have a solid foundation to help your business rank higher on major search engines, it’s time to dig deeper and find new ways to get eyes on your site. Link building is the natural next step in any SEO strategy for beginners looking to add sophistication to their search engine marketing plan. It is a good idea to have the three steps above in order before attempting to build links.

There are generally three types of links involved in any link attraction strategy: Easy Links, Moderately Easy Links, and Hard Links. The harder the link, the more time you will have to spend focusing on it.

As a beginner, you should always start by looking at Easy Links. One great example would be brand mentions that are currently unlinked to your website. These can be found by setting up a few simple Google Alerts or using a helpful tool such as Semrush.

Any positive mentions of your company online should be responded to with sincere thanks. You can then ask if the commenter will link to your site. You can also check out industry-specific and local directories for mentions of your brand. Remember to act natural and grateful when communicating with any outlet or individual offering your praise.

When you’re feeling confident about link building and are ready to try something a little more complex, you can move on to some Medium projects. Creating interactive campaigns such as contests and scholarships—as well as infographics—can help you organically build links. Sharing these campaigns across your social media channels and to relevant directories can help boost your visibility while providing the added benefit of enhancing your credibility and reputation.

Guest posts are another great method of link attraction. As long as the publication is relevant and has a high level of authority, this can be an excellent way to build traffic to your website organically.

What are some advanced ways to build links? More time-consuming projects, such as long-form guides and reports or online interviews, are fantastic ways to get backlinks to your website. If you can invest in these long-term efforts, the payoff is likely to be sizable both where links and brand reputation are concerned.

As mentioned briefly above, your website’s blog is another great avenue for link building and SEO optimization. Posting useful content such as interviews and how-to guides will give your site a boost while positioning you as a helpful expert in your field.

5. Get Your SEO Strategy for Startups in Order

Any well-designed SEO strategy must have its timelines, resources, and goals in place before it can be acted upon. What does this look like in action?

First and foremost, all stakeholders involved in your SEO plan must be on-board and fully aware of their role in your startup’s SEO plan. If anyone is unsure of what they need to do to participate or has dissenting opinions on how to proceed with your SEO strategy, it’s important to clear the air before launching any large-scale projects. A collaborative team works better than one where individuals are at odds with one another or the project.

On a related note, it’s important to ensure you have the tools, resources, and team members needed to get your SEO plan in motion. If you see a skill gap on your marketing team, it may be necessary to hire an SEO specialist for the needed role. You also may need to look into software subscriptions that will help you manage your strategy. Budgetary matters and other detailed aspects of your SEO project plan need to be squared away before you can have the full confidence needed to put your SEO strategy to work.

Conclusion

Many business owners are daunted by the technical and strategical aspects of working on SEO for startups who truly need the optimization boost to stand out among competitors online. However, you will see that the payoffs outweigh the intimidation once you start working on your SEO strategy and see the difference it can make where your search results are concerned. Following the steps outlined above should take away some of the stress related to launching an SEO plan and help you get in front of your target audience.

If you feel that outside help is required, it’s time to reach out to the Market MindShift team. Whether you are just beginning to plan your SEO strategy or need help tweaking it, we can assist you. Don’t hesitate to call us at (480) 750-2252 or contact us online for further assistance with your marketing goals.

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