SEO For Startups – Growing Organic Traffic

By Andrew Oziemblo, Founder & CEO of Chicago SEO Geeks a Chicago SEO Agency and RankOne Digital Marketing – helping businesses achieve long-term growth goals.

When you are a new business, you want to hit the ground running, make a big splash and have orders for your services or products rolling in. But you can only ride the wave of being the new kid on the block for so long before you need to work on your digital marketing strategy.

One of the great things about being a startup is that you can implement your SEO right from the beginning. You are wise to the benefits that an SEO agency can bring to the table, and rather than cut corners you can do it right.

Photo Credit: Jon Tyson

One of the most beneficial things to you, aside from being able to implement SEO early, is that you have time to make your SEO pop on all levels.

A couple of things worth looking at are:

  • What search engines want from your site
  • How your website can be built for SEO
  • What makes brilliant SEO content
  • The benefit of being a startup in terms of SEO

Startup SEO

The great thing about Google is that they don’t care if you are a huge corporation, or that you have only been live for a few days. They simply care about delivering the right websites to the person using their search page. Relevant content is king, and it always will be. The SEO requirements for you as a startup and the big boys are exactly the same.

However, you have an easier job. You are implementing SEO from the ground up, and you can grow your strategy with the help of an SEO expert. Whereas the big guys will need to rework much of their content, and the job can be typically much more challenging.

While it is true that most startups have a much tighter budget that doesn’t mean that you can’t implement a lot of things, and hire an SEO agency when you need to. Of course, if you have it in the budget from the start, you’re going to see the benefits much earlier on.

What Do They Want?

Search engines have a simple agenda – they want to deliver the right results to the right people. It rewards high-ranking positions to web pages that are rich in content and value for the reader. Your website will be required to meet the following points:

  • Optimisation – Your website should be easy for the user to navigate and understand, and the crawlers need to have the same ease of use too
  • UX – The user experience is something that Google wants to see as ‘great’. The website is an extension of their search results, so it matters that you always create with the user in mind.
  • Content – the higher the quality of your content, the more relevant it is to users. Providing fresh, unique, and useful content will give people the information that they are searching for. Your content marketing planning will be the driver here.
  • Accessibility – In order to rank your pages, search engines need to be able to access them.

The above combination means that you need to have your technology and content working in unison to bring high value and ease of use.

Measurement

It might feel like they are throwing out vague statements about what they want to see, but it can be broken down into a few key areas. Working with an SEO expert is highly recommended to avoid the many pitfalls that you can fall into by “winging it”.

  • Links – Content that earns a lot of links to it, will be seen as more qualified than one with less. It means that other websites are trusting your content and in turn, that means it is probably highly engaging, high quality and valuable. Your backlinks matters.
  • Engagement – Your website will be giving off engagement signals all the time. The bounce rates, the time spent on the page, the number of pages visited with giving search engines the insight into how engaging your content it
  • Keywords – Keywords are one of the critical ways that your content will be ranked. Google can now work with not only the keyword but the context to work out if your content is relevant to a search query.

Location

If your startup is the kind that has an office where you can take meetings or a brick-and-mortar store, then you are going to need to look into local SEO and how that will impact you going forward. You’ll need to decide if location is going to be a key factor for you going forward.

Website

We have touched upon the site a few times, but it is time to dig into it a bit more. One of the critical things is that your website has a purpose. What is it there for? A point of information? To sell your services and products? Have that firmly in your mind when it is built, and before you implement any SEO.

Areas you should look into:

  • Hosting – go with a hosting package that is going to give you the highest uptime, and will grow with you.
  • Code – Clean code is faster, less bloated and overall a better experience that gimmicky websites that are slow – and website speed is a massive ranking factor today.
  • Design – Work with Google on their suggestions when it comes to how your website is performing. Pop-ups that hinder the user, buttons too close together on mobile, unable to find the navigation… all these things matter.
  • Content – The primary reason people use search-engines is to find information or products they are interested in.  Make your website engaging and easy to “shop”!

Optimization

You are looking to really work on-page optimisation. Every page is going to need the same care and attention. It will become second nature to you over time and is a crucial part of your SEO strategy.

  • Page URL – Easy to read and has your primary keywords
  • Titles – Descriptive, easy to read and displays keywords
  • Headings – Have a range of H1, H2, H3 in your content. It makes it easier to read, and again keywords here are a good idea
  • Content – Don’t lowball your word count, and remember your keywords
  • Keywords – The bread and butter of your strategy, but avoid stuffing
  • Images – Makes for a better reader experience and adds to your story
  • Internal links – link to your own content where it makes sense to
  • External links – Use high-quality links to support your content
  • Mobile optimisation – the better the mobile experience, the higher you’ll appear in searches

Build your website specifically with the idea that it will lend itself to the overall user experience yet contain the right balance of technical structure and quality content.

Sharing

The final piece of your website puzzle is making sure that you have included social media in your digital marketing strategy. Luckily you can look into social media automation to help you tackle this without having to be hands-on all the time. Freeing you up to work on other parts of your business.

The way you approach SEO in the early days will have a more significant impact on your ability to rank early on, and then double down on that website traffic.