Home Entrepreneurship The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Your Start-Up Website In 2019

The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Your Start-Up Website In 2019

by Olufisayo
Ultimate Guide to SEO

A recent survey of small business start-ups has found that most anticipate spending more on their digital marketing in 2019 than they did in 2018. Social media was regarded as the number-one online marketing priority in 2019, with 39% saying they will invest more in building conversations with prospects on their social channels. Meanwhile, 35% said they would invest more in their SEO strategy – bingo. There is no doubt that SEO is just as, if not more important, than investing in social media. Your start-up website’s search engine presence is vital to developing your exposure among existing brand advocates and new target customers.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It is the process of careful optimisation and refinement of your website and its landing pages, based on what your target demographic is searching for online. Did you know, 100 million business start-ups are thought to launch worldwide every year, but just 500,000 new businesses succeed. For start-ups operating online, search marketing is no longer a nice-to-have for your website; it is absolutely imperative to give yourselves a foot up the ladder in terms of visibility in the major search engines. If you’re just starting out in business in 2019, the following actionable tips will help to position your new website for success in the months and years to come.

Ultimate Guide to SEO

SEO is all about generating organic traffic from the major search engines.

Quit your moaning that SEO takes too long to achieve results

First and foremost, it’s important that you are patient with your SEO strategy. Yes, it won’t drive instant leads to your business overnight but hey, you’re a start-up business with minimal budget; what’s not to like? Would you rather have to start spending on pay-per-click (PPC) marketing in Google AdWords from day one? Most start-ups that adopt the following SEO techniques will experience result within four months; it’s not that long to wait for free, organic leads.

Outline your website goals

From the outset, it is important to decide on your website’s goals and what will constitute success for your start-up. If you’re designing a new e-commerce website, you’ll want to ensure your website is focused on improving search rankings for keywords with purchase intent. You’ll always want to measure bounce rates and find ways to keep visitors on your website for longer, directing them through the sales funnel with greater efficiency. If you’re simply a local business wanting to improve your exposure to local residents, optimising your website for ‘near me’ searches and mobile or voice search would be highly recommended.

By setting a blend of broad and specific SEO targets, you will refine your focus, allowing you to double-down your efforts on meeting those goals.

Ensure you are ready to measure your SEO success

Of course, in order to measure the success of your SEO strategy, you’ll need the tools to keep track of your website visitors. First and foremost, you must sign up for a Google Analytics account. This is arguably the most underused free tool among businesses with an online presence. Google Analytics allows you to measure the results of visitors to your website, the actions they take on your website and the various keywords used to find and land on your website. You can compare real-time data with previous periods to plot the progress of your SEO strategy.

You should also set up Goal Conversion Tracking in your Google Analytics account, particularly on areas of your site that are revenue-driving, such as purchase confirmation pages and sign-up pages to monitor the efficiency of your website’s user experience.

Conduct a technical review of your website

Ultimate Guide to SEO

Clean website code is key to swift page speed load times.

It’s important to understand the nuts and bolts of your website. A technical review of your website will help to pinpoint issues such as duplicate content that can leave your website blacklisted, broken pages returning 404 errors, broken media assets, sluggish page speed load times and issues regarding robots.txt files that can temporarily prevent search engines from crawling certain areas of your website.

The most effective tool to conduct a technical review of your website is Screaming Frog. You will be able to use their free version to ‘crawl’ up to 500 web pages, which should be more than enough for most business start-ups. The crawl will be displayed in an Excel spreadsheet, allowing you to see the results of crawling every single page on your website. You’ll be able to see broken pages that may be affecting your website’s rankings in Google and broken links to other internal pages that are minimising link equity for revenue-driving pages.

Carefully audit your website’s user experience

The experience that your website delivers for its users is key in SEO. Google has made UX one of its top priorities in recent times. Updates to the Google algorithms have seen websites with responsive content for mobile devices prioritised over websites that don’t cater for mobile searchers.

You can monitor the engagement of your website visitors using heatmap technology. This can help you discover where users regularly click next when landing on certain pages. You can see how they interact with a page to see whether it is easy for most visitors to understand. Hotjar is a particularly effective tool and its free version should cater well for any start-ups with small websites in 2019.

In terms of ensuring your website is responsive and effective for smartphone and tablet users as well as desktop and laptop users, use Google’s mobile friendly testing tool to pinpoint any pages that Google deems unfriendly for mobile searchers.

Content optimisation for all landing pages

Aside from worrying about what your existing website visitors are doing on-page, you’ll also need to focus on optimising the content that’s already there. The key is to align your on-page content with the kind of keywords users will be inputting into Google to find a page like yours. Identify target keywords for each landing page and incorporate those target keywords within your page title tag and meta description, as well as your H1 and H2 tags within the body copy. Be careful not to overuse it as Google will deem webpages with ‘spammy’ keyword densities as inferior to those with more natural-looking pages and keyword densities. You could even create a blog for your business – if you haven’t already – and write interesting blog posts about some of the low-competition long-tail keywords to improve organic traffic to your site.

Start hunting long-tail keyword opportunities

As part of your on-page content optimisation, you should begin hunting long-tail keyword opportunities to target for your web pages. Long-tail keywords are longer-than-usual search phrases of between six-to-ten words. Although long-tail keywords don’t bring volume in terms of traffic, they do bring quality.

If your start-up website will rely heavily on generating traffic through Google searches, you’ll want your website and its landing pages to develop topical authority. Start incorporating keywords into landing pages that are long-tail searches that will provide a small but steady drip of visitors to your business. The easiest way to find long-tail keyword opportunities is to use Google’s auto-suggest feature. Enter a short search phrase and then see what Google suggests. It will often uncover a host of long-tail targeting opportunities.

If you do have a little cash to spare towards your SEO strategy, it would be well-spent on a tool such as Moz Keyword Explorer to help you automate the process of finding suitable long-tail phrases for each of your landing pages.

Find ways to start conversations with industry influencers

Amplifying your content and brand online is exceptionally important for SEO rankings. If your brand is being talked about by industry influencers and your target demographic, this will be looked upon favourably by the Google bots. There is an element of online PR involved in SEO in 2019. Consider reaching out to industry influencers on social media and see if they are prepared to review your services or undertake an interview with you that can be shared with your target customers. Old-school tricks such as submitting your website to influential web directories are still valid too and can help to generate organic traffic with visitors that are already engaged with your brand and what you can offer.

Stay abreast of SEO news and trends

Last, but by no means least, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of all the latest news and trends in the world of search marketing. This industry is evolving at a rapid pace; some techniques you adopt today might be frowned upon by the end of 2019. Below are a cluster of influential SEO websites that we recommend you bookmark and subscribe to their latest updates:

  1. Moz
    SEO how-to’s, research and insights from some of the industry’s biggest search consultants.
  2. Search Engine Land
    An online magazine spanning all aspects of search marketing, including industry trends, breaking news and product developments.
  3. Search Engine Journal
    Another hugely popular portal designed to educate and empower small businesses and start-ups to adopt best practice SEO techniques.
  4. Neil Patel
    Labelled one of the world’s top-ten digital marketers by Forbes, what Neil Patel doesn’t know about SEO isn’t worth knowing.
  5. Search Metrics
    This platform also reports on the latest trends in digital and SEO, presenting newsworthy studies and reports and useful product launches.

Although SEO doesn’t provide overnight results, it is the most cost-effective way to build your brand presence online on a budget. With clever keyword research you can target low-competition search terms that help drive organic traffic and using the various tools we’ve suggested, you can also ensure your website works harder to provide the best user experiences for consumers on all devices.

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