This article was published in 2015, we have updated it with more relevant content in 2018 🙂
A guide for (Search Engine Optimization) SEO. Ah! Now that’s something every marketing and sales professional is vying after.
Do you know how many people a Google search daily?
According to internet live stats, people conduct more than 2.2 million searches daily, on an average.
And that is just Google. There are Yahoo, Bing and many other widely used search engines.
Now you know how important it is to show up on Google or any other search engine for that matter.
This is where SEO comes into play.
We all know what SEO is, but have a look at the formal SEO definition by Wikipedia:
“SEO (Search engine optimization) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.”
Therefore today we are going to go through a quick guide to ace SEO for startups so that you can rank on the first page of Google.
The whole process of SEO actually requires three cycles. The thing is, many companies are guilty of neglecting one part of SEO for the other and that’s the reason why the results do not come out as prominent as expected.
- Step 1. Technical SEO
- Step 2. On-page SEO
- Step 3. Off-page SEO
Step 1. Technical SEO
Naturally, technical SEO talks about the technical changes in the website which can help you rank better in Google and other search engines.
1. Optimize Your XML Sitemap
Start by submitting your XML sitemap to the Google search console so that the spiders can crawl your website to index it eventually.
It acts as a map or a guide to the search engines that tells them the exact navigations of your website.
Make sure that your XML sitemap is:
- Registered in Google Search Console
- Clean and clutter free
Either you can use some plugin to generate your sitemap or you can simply search using “http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml”
2. Audit your website
Your developer has built an impressive website but is it completely free of any bugs or errors?
To audit and fix your website, you can use various online tools like WebSite Auditor etc.
Google generally won’t spare your website unless it is perfectly audited and up to the mark. So you must remember — the first thing to do is to fix your website and relieve it of any bugs or errors.
3. Improve Your Page Speed
Page speed not only works out well for your SEO strategy but also lowers your bounce rate and leads to higher conversion rates.
And the best part is that the page speed is extremely easy to check and optimize. To improve your page speed and rank a higher on your search engines which eventually leads to huge growth in the lead generation.
4. Mobile friendly website
Most marketing and sales professional do their SEO process keeping desktop users in mind. And this is where things go downhill.
StatCounter stated that mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3% of internet usage worldwide in Oct 2016 compared to 48.7% by a desktop.
This clearly shows that you just can’t neglect mobile users, who by the way are exceeding the desktop users. If you want your website to rank and enjoy a huge traffic base, then making it mobile friendly is a must for you.
Step 2. On-page SEO
Do you want to see your website among the first 10 search results for a keyword search?
In order to make this dream a reality you have to follow the on-page SEO tips. This totally depends on how well the website content is presented to Google.
1. Optimize your title tag and meta description
Suppose you want to purchase a new house and currently visiting various estates to find your dream home.
What would be your opinion of the house that is wonderful from inside but its front porch is somewhat shabby?
Would you even bother to enter the house?
The same scenario occurs with your title tag and your meta description.
If your prospects don’t like the outer veneer then why would they bother to open up your website?
Your title-tag should consist of the following:
- Should perfectly describe the motive of the topic
- The ideal length of around 50-60 characters.
- Focus keyword
- Should not have keyword stuffing
Your meta description should consist of the following:
- Unique and should give a little summary about the topic /website
- Should contain keywords
- Brief and relevant.
- Avoid promotional and sales-y things.
2. Optimize Your URL Structure
Your website’s URL is basically its identity, thus it is necessary to optimize it according to it SEO so that your website can rank higher in search engines.
Best practices for URL optimization:
- Avoid deeply nested URL.
- Include keywords in your URL.
- Include 301 redirects when the old URL is shifted to a new one.
- To connect to internal pages use separate keywords with dashes
- Use hyphens ‘—‘ in between the words in the URL.
- Less than 2083 characters.
Breadcrumbs are the visible form of XML sitemap. In simple terms, breadcrumbs are like a small path that help your audience navigate or find their way on your website.
It generally follows the basic pattern of Home > Services > Category > Name
Something like this:
Breadcrumbs can be included on the website very easily using a plugin. This will help your prospects navigate a little better on your website thus increasing your traffic and helping the search engine spiders index your website a little better.
4. Image alt text
We have been hearing time and again how important it is to use images and other visually appealing content for SEO.
But adding images is not nearly enough, especially if you don’t add alt text to the image.
What is alt text?
Alt text is an alternative text which appears on the website in case your user is unable to load the website. Is designed to provide an additional information for the image. Google uses this text to understand what the image is about.
The alt text of your images should be:
- Relevant, succinct and concise.
- consisting of focus keyword
- Brief, between 70-100 characters.
Step 3. Off-page SEO
Where on-page is all about appearance, off-page SEO actually gives an inkling to Google about what the audience thinks of your page.
For example, if many people are linking back to your blog posts then Google automatically knows that you are posting informative content. However, don’t ever make the mistake of buying the backlinks.
However, off-page SEO is not only confined to link building, but there are also so many other ways to perfect your on-page SEO process.
Let’s have a look at some wonderful off-page SEO techniques.
1. Monitor people who are talking about you or your content
If you have been in the industry for a while, it’s highly likely that people are talking about you or your product and services.
While strangers singing your praises, or even taking your name in discussions is a good sign, but notice whether they are linking back to your website or blog post.
If they have forgotten to link back to you, you need to spot it and follow up really quickly.
But the internet is huge! Literally too huge for you to keep track of each and every mention.
How will you cope in this case?
To make sure that you don’t miss out on your mentions or any potential links, you can use Google Alerts.
Once you head over to Google Alerts, just type in the name whose alerts you want. You will immediately get the list of every webpage that has recently talked or used that name.
Now you can open them and see whether they have something positive to say about you, or maybe they are talking about your blog post.
If yes, then you can contact them and politely thank them for the mention and tell them that a link would be great.
2. Give out your product or service for free to get a review
Giving your product or service for free to a couple of reviewers probably wouldn’t hurt you much, but the benefits will be great.
For one, you will get plenty of backlinks. Apart from this, you will increase your brand awareness, get huge traffic and eventually new customers.
And there’s another factor that works out in your favour. These reviews also help explain how your product works, so that people can now see an in-depth review which tells them all the pros and functioning of your product before even signing up themselves.
This off-page SEO technique totally depends on how much time you can take out to write blog posts. But the most important part is that guest blogging helps with both link building as well as establishing your authority in the industry.
When you write a guest post for someone, you get to link your own website and blog posts in return. In addition to this, you can also submit your author bio, which leads to huge promotion and additional traffic and exposure.
Use this starter SEO guide for your startup and see the change in your traffic and Google traffic for yourself. These full-proof methods will work wonders for your website by not only optimizing your website for SEO but will also lower your bounce rate and improve your lead generation process.