Search Engine Optimization — What makes it so important to a start-up?

You’re a start-up who has created an amazing and innovative idea that you believe will make a real impact; this right here is enough to be a sure-fire success, and you can’t wait to establish a large customer base and great revenue stream. But wait — no one knows who your brand is or what your company does. Search Engine Optimization is an activity that is often placed as a low priority at the beginning of establishing your business but it can make all the difference in connecting you with with your audience and having a bigger impact on your potential customers.

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What can Search Engine Optimization achieve?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an extremely versatile tool for a business to use. It’s effectiveness streams directly from the amount of effort that is invested into it, meaning that a higher effort should offer a better result. To put it simply, SEO is a way to make your site more accessible to viewers, easier for search engines to find and more user-friendly to for viewers navigate to find the relevant information they need. The easier it is for both viewers and search engines to find the information they’re looking for, the more likely that your site will increase its traffic and build its reach. As a start-up, SEO can look like a problem without a solution, but there are many simple and small changes that can be made to help improve your business.

How easy is it to begin optimizing your site?

The best thing about SEO is that it doesn’t need a huge amount of time or resources to be implemented. The easiest way to start out is to choose a few approaches to work on and then grow your efforts from there. Through both Google’s and Search Engine Land’s insights, a couple different tactics that can be used are listed below:

  • URL Structure: Having a URL that is simple and that clearly states the topic of the page allows both search engines and viewers to find your content more efficiently.
  • Title: An effective and concise title shows the audience what the page will contain.
  • Formatting: Ensuring that web pages are properly formatted will allow viewers and site engines to see the information correctly.
  • Meta Tags: Meta tags can be used to clearly show the search engine what is on your page; if the tags used accurately reflect the content on your page, it will be easier to find during a search query.
  • Internal Linking: This involves including links for other pages on your website on a web page to increase the likelihood that people may click through these links to explore more of your website.
  • Google’s Featured Snippets: These snippets will show a small amount of information from your webpage on the search result page of a search query; the aim of these is to answer the search query right away. Creating an effective snippet that answers a viewer’s question will increase the likelihood that the link will be clicked to find further information.
  • High-Quality Content: Search engines have been cracking down on the quality of content after spam-filled content farms became more popular. Producing high-quality content that is unique and provides true information to users will allow your ranking to be closer to the top.
  • Mobile Optimization: As more people use their phones than desktops to browse the internet, Google is rolling out mobile-first search listings that will rank websites based on the mobile version of the site.
  • Linkless Backlinks: While backlinks have been a staple for SEO, unlinked mentions are increasingly becoming popular to improve your site’s reputation as well as its ranking.
  • Free Google Training: Google offers both online training as well as SEO guides to further help websites learn about what Search Engine Optimization is and how to improve it on their website.

While most SEO savvy companies tend to focus on Google, it’s important to consider optimizing your content for a variety of different search engines. Both Bing and Yahoo take up about 30% of the current search engine market share making them both viable options for SEO. Bing, for example, offers less competition than Google for search queries thus offering a higher chance of more Bing users viewing your content. By implementing a comprehensive SEO plan spanning over different search engines, you can ensure that your company is relevant and searchable.

How to measure SEO’s success

A crucial step when implementing SEO measures is to find out if what you’re doing is actually working. If the tactics you’re using to improve your SEO aren’t helping you achieve your metric goals, then changes in strategy need to be made. To observe this, your company’s goals must be clearly defined. The right metrics — whether that is number of page hits, bounce rates, conversion rate, etc — must be decided upon so they can allow you to see if your goals are being achieved. Tracking metrics can be as simple as a basic Excel spreadsheet or as complicated as an integrated CRM that tracks it all for you. Through the use of these metrics data, your company will be able to come up with strategic long-term plans to gradually grow your organic search results and hopefully grow your customer base.

By: Hillary King | Marketing Intern