SEO for Startups: How to be first on Google

Previously this year, I presented my talk SEO for Startups: How to be first on Google at Docktify in an event organised by ConnectARUK.

This talk was targeted at Argentinian entrepreneurs and Startups. It explained the basic principles of SEO, highlighted the main errors that entrepreneurs make on their first website and it contained actionable insights on to make Startup websites perform better on organic search.

Someone once said the best hiding place for a dead body is the second page of Google. There is one lesson you should take from this about SEO. If you don’t succeed, there’s no point in playing at all. To understand why this is, you need to look at the CTR (click through rate) on Google. Simply put, the CTR refers to the number of users who click through to your site after finding it in the results. The site that ranks first has a CTR of over 18 percent whereas the site that ranks tenth holds a CTR of just 1 percent. As such, it is crucial that your site is near the very top of the Search engine results pages (SERPs). To succeed with SEO, you must understand the basics of search engine marketing.

Understanding The Online Search For Your Site

Did you know that 93 percent of online experiences start with a search engine? This means it is the biggest driver of traffic to a website like yours. Search engines like Google Chrome or Firefox are directories of websites on the internet. The sites they display will be judged to be most relevant to keywords or phrases the users choose, based on various factors that determine your ranking. Sites are ranked by crawlers, programs that ‘crawl’ websites to gain as much information as possible on your site. The information is all sorted, added to the search index so that it can be used for searches. There are many search engines, but Google is by far the most popular with close to ninety percent of the market share.

Users interact with search engines by selecting keywords or phrases. These will be related to a topic that they are searching for and are often used to help solve a problem. In some cases they can be a direct question and keywords will allow a search engine to determine what your site’s purpose is. However, they should never be confused with Meta Keywords.

How a site owner uses keywords is quite different compared with the user experience. You must keep the keywords of your site in mind when creating content because every page and every piece of content on your site must connect with a keyword users will be searching for to find your company.

Different Types Of Keywords

We do need to think about the different types of keywords. There are two main types: long-tail keywords and broad keywords. Broad keywords are a simple phrase or word that has a general connection to your business. As such, there is a lot of competition here and a massive search volume. This means that it will be difficult to rank and find traffic with these keywords and visitors are far less likely to become leads.

Long-tail keywords are highly specific to your company, and due to this, there is less competition. There is also a lower search volume, and you will find it easier to rank and get visitors. Users are far more likely to become leads as well, and over seventy percent of searches use long tail keywords. An example of a broad keyword would be ‘mechanic.’ It would be far easier to rank with a long-tail keyword like ‘Mercedes Emergency Car Mechanic.’

The Two Paths To Search Engine Success

There are two ways to get your site to the top of the SERPs. They are known under various names including organic and inorganic, PPC and SEO or paid and unpaid searches.

Paid or pay per click (PPC) searches appear at the top or right-hand side as part of the sponsored results. SEO, organic search results appear below these on the main section of the page. There are strengths and weaknesses to both options here.

If you have the money, you can pay for traffic and appear at the top of the SERPs quickly, using tools like Google Adwords. However, SEO organic search results are more trusted and gain eighty-five percent of all traffic. Though, it’s important to be aware most of this traffic is taken by the first five ranking sites in the results. As such, succeeding with SEO requires a lot of work and time.

Making Sure Your Site Is Optimised

Google uses a constantly updated algorithm to determine your site ranking online and in the SERPs. This is how the most relevant results are chosen. While nobody is aware of the complete formula, there are various clues on how this works to consider.

How do you optimise your site? You need to think about content. All content should be targeted to your audience, it needs to be relevant and reach a high-quality standard. As well as this, your site needs to be effective on a technical level. In other words, it has to be user-friendly. They should be able to find exactly what they are looking for in seconds. You also need to make sure that you are linking with  key audience influencers online.

Google’s Algorithm takes in various ranking factors. This includes, how users engage with your site, content descriptions including keywords and how other sites reference yours online.

Keywords are far more important than many people originally assumed and should be present in every section of your site. This includes the URL, title and meta description, the headlines, the actual body of the text and even images. You can find all this information by downloading the MOZ Bar, a free Chrome extension.

Using Links Correctly

You need to make sure you are using both internal and external links to your site. First, we need to think about your site architecture or a logical setup. Making sure your site has an architecture allows Google to crawl it and index it more quickly. As well as this it helps improve the user experience. Start with the home page and make sure there are links to category pages. These should have subcategories and detailed pages for each service or product. By linking all pages together, you can make sure high authority pages share their power with low authority pages on your site. How many links should you have? Generally, there shouldn’t be more than 100 for each page.

As for external off-page links, this will help you build up your reputation and improve your ranking at the same time. Here, it’s important to work to get quality links rather than a lot of low-quality mentions. You should pay particular attention to the domain authority of sites that link yours. Sites with higher domain authorities will have a greater impact on your ranking. As such, you should aim for top sites rather than more general blogs or forum mentions. While this is more difficult, it can be accomplished simply by ensuring your site has fantastic content.

SEO Mistakes You Must Avoid With Your Startup

Don’t Use One Page

While it might seem simple and effective with regards to SEO having one page for all your services and products is fairly useless. Google will struggle to know what you are trying to sell and that’s why you should have one page for each category or product.

Failing To Use Keywords For Title

Commonly you will see sites that use Homepage or their brand name as the site title. You should realise now why this is a mistake. To fix this, make sure that keywords are present in the content, headlines, the meta description, the title and the URL.

Zero Internal Links

Internal links on your site make it easy to navigate for users to find what they are looking for and optimises different site pages. Service pages should be linked to one another, and there should be a link on your homepage to various service pages as well.

Failing To Fix Content

Content is largely considered to one of the most important ranking factors. The best content will be long – usually over five hundred words – and original. You shouldn’t duplicate or even spin content. You need to write about an area where you have expertise, and by doing this, you will get links from other sites. As well as this you must make sure each site is optimised.

Zero External Links

External links are a crucial part of your SEO, and it’s worth repeating that the best way to get these is to write awesome content and get it shared. You can check external links with various tools including SEO Moz, AHrefs, and Majestic SEO.

Finally, make sure that you don’t look for any SEO shortcuts such as buying links and bulks. You will be caught hit with a Google penalty, and your website ranking will crash. You can’t trick the algorithm. Trying will only lead to disaster for your business.

We hope you find this beneficial, using SEO to find success with your startup.