This is my first post and I hope you will find it useful. In this article, I am presenting 6 most useful SEO tips for startups from my personal experience of 10 years working in digital marketing space. So here we go…
Mistakes happen and especially when you are new to something. But that’s how people learn. Especially when it comes to starting a new online business, many founders don’t know much about web technologies and SEO. All they have is a good idea (perceived), passion, dream to change the world (and obviously their finances as well) and sometimes a team of 2-3 people as well. But most of the time they don’t have any idea of what is the magnitude of technology required to run that business, how finances will be sorted and how the marketing will be done. At this stage, the least they are bothered about is the marketing, and most of the time they hardly know anything about SEO, SEM, and Digital marketing.
So, what ultimately happens…They start with a tech co-founder, who also does not have any exposure to any SEO guidelines or they outsource their initial tech (Obviously website) to some tech company. So the final result is a functional but clumsy looking website which does not stand anywhere when it comes to user experience so intern SEO guidelines.
Over the period of time, when they start studying traffic sources of their competitors, they realize that there is something called SEO and they have to go for it. A quick search of “Top 10 SEO companies in India for Startups” leads them into the world of some petty SEO agencies which don’t know anything about SEO. The best these agencies can do is to deliver 20-30 backlinks every month from some spammy websites and directories, which does nothing but makes the website vulnerable to the Google penalties.
So, the question comes what exactly one should do?
Ok, so keeping in mind the context, I will keep this article limited to SEO only and will try to cover other things in my next article…
So, here are few things one should do…..
#1. Have someone in the team with experience of Digital Marketing and SEO
This point is as important as having a tech guy in your core team. And if you are lucky, the tech guy might be aware of the basics of digital marketing and SEO as well. If you are not that lucky then try to get a mentor on board with industry experience.
#2. Read, read and read more.
Learn SEO basics online, there is plenty of good material available on the internet or if you don’t like to read, youtube also has a lot of informative videos. To start with, I will suggest you read about following.
- Onpage and Offpage SEO
- White hat SEO Vs Blackhat SEO
#3. Start working on SEO when you are designing the architecture of the website
This mistake is something which is very difficult to recover from once the website is live and pages get indexed by search engines. Most important things you need to take care of during design phase are…
- Start with the page hierarchy and URLs definition
Make a sound hierarchy of the pages considering future possibilities in mind. E.g if your business is such that the visitor will have to select her city, include the city in the URL. Think about the categories, subcategories after that.
An example of that would be:
The first URL flows logically from domain to the city to shop to the category to sub-category to the product. The second URL goes from domain to static page because this static page is location agnostic. This kind of URL structure is not only user-friendly but also sends right signals to Google about website hierarchy. In addition to the URL structure, you need to avoid superfluous words and characters in the URL.
- Website Speed
Ensure that every page load super fast. Consolidate your CSS and JS files, minify them and use a cache. Implement CDN to deliver heavy images, font files, and CSS files.
- Mobile friendliness
This is a no-brainer. Difficult to emphasize more on this topic. You have to build your website with the mobile first approach. Today more than 50% traffic comes from handheld devices, if you miss this point, means you will lose half of your visitors.
- W3 Compliance
This is one basic step which did not lose its relevance since ages. Your site HTML should be W2 compliant and error-free. It tells google about the quality of your website and how serious you are about your business.
#4. Just think about user experience
SEO is nothing but user experience and your digital footprint. At this stage when you are starting to build your website, the main thing you should focus on is “User Experience”. Digital footprint comes later.
#5. Don’t launch in a hurry
The first experience of your website can be the last experience for the customer. Make your website live when you are sure that it has great UI, UX, and content. Better take feedback from friends and family before launching and test your website on various tools for website speed, W3 Compliance, Broken Links, Spelling Mistakes. Some of the handy tools are…
#6. Start with SSL certificate
If your website captures any kind of user information or requires any payment to be done, it is a must to have SSL certificate. Better start with SSL certificate otherwise when you later implement SSL certificate, your all URLs will change and search engines will require to re-index all your pages. Even if you can redirect your new URLs to old URLs, there will be some backlink juice you will lose.
Will close this article here only. If you are not able to understand some of the words used in this article, feel free to drop a comment and I will try my best to answer your query.