Are you in your first year of business and wondering how to increase your organic traffic? If so, you’ve probably started looking into Search Engine Optimization already and you may be feeling overwhelmed.
Fortunately, SEO is a fairly straightforward process – albeit one that takes time to pay off. If you’re ready to put in the time and effort, we’re ready to break down some of the main principles so your website can start climbing the ranks on the major search engines.
SEO for Startups
Before we dive into the meat of the matter, let’s look at why SEO is a worthy endeavor for your business. As anyone who has ever searched for anything on Google knows, the results that appear towards the top of the query tend to get the most attention because they appear to be trustworthy and legitimate.
Those websites didn’t magically appear there, they used the power of Search Engine Optimization and the algorithms of the search engines to gradually increase their ranking.
We wish we could tell you that you can quickly see the same results but you should know that SEO is a long process and you have to give it time to work. More on this later.
However, putting in the time will be extremely beneficial to your startup as anyone that’s ever found themselves on the third page of a Google search can attest to. These next steps will show you how to get on the coveted first page.
#1. Pick Low Hanging Keywords
Choosing the right keywords is one of the major steps for SEO ranking and the best ones to go with are those that are low hanging. By using as many of these keywords as possible, you’ll compete with fewer websites for attention. While it’s tempting to go for the high-volume keywords, just know that’s what your competitor is thinking as well.
Low hanging keywords are the results that appear towards the bottom of page one on a Google search, sometimes even on the second page. These keywords are still relevant to what someone would search for but aren’t the exact phrase that other websites are using.
To find these keywords, look at your performance metrics where you can see your total clicks and impressions. You should be able to see the keywords that were used to find your website.
Look for the keywords that are in the middle of the ranking – those are your low hanging keywords. Now, take those keywords and use them in your headings, title, tags, and of course your content.
For example, if we’re pushing our app that helps student drivers prepare for their driver’s test, it would be obvious to use keywords such as “drivers test,” “student driver,” and so on.
Low-hanging keywords would be along the lines of “written test for drivers license”. If you want even less competition you can look at a state level, like this Kentucky test we made.
These keywords are still something a prospective driver may search for and you’d have less competition than the more obvious examples.
#2. Don’t Go For All Traffic
When choosing how to use your SEO budget, it’s important to narrow down the kind of traffic you’re going after. Instead of going for all traffic, go for the traffic that will help your business.
In the world of SEO, there are two types of website traffic that you can go for: Organic and Paid. Organic traffic is exactly what it sounds like, it’s the traffic that comes to you on its own – in other words, you’re not paying for it directly.
Paid traffic would be what you may get from pay-per-click ads or anyone that gets to you through paid advertising.
While both kinds of traffic are beneficial to your startup, organic traffic is what you really want to aim for because it’s much less expensive and it will likely lead to more conversions since the people coming to you actually searched for your keywords.
Unfortunately, the organic traffic does take longer to build up so you’ll need to practice patience but, in the end, it’s the traffic that will bring your target audience to your doorstep and connect you with consumers that are specifically looking for your product or service.
#3. Write About Topics Where You Provide Additional Insights
Anytime that you can add value to your customers and prospects, you 100% should. This includes the topics that you choose to write about.
While you’ll probably be covering the same topics that your competitors are, try finding ways to provide additional insights that they aren’t covering.
By going the extra mile, doing the extra research, and giving that extra insight, you’re showing your customers that you want them to walk away with EXTRA and they’ll always like that feeling.
#4. Don’t Put Too Much Stock Into SEO For Your First Year, it is a Marathon
Like we mentioned in the intro, SEO takes time. Unfortunately, you can’t expect life-changing results in days, weeks, or even a couple of months.
You need to be willing to go the distance with SEO and give it at least a year to work its magic. We know that can take the wind out of your sails but you really do have to have a marathon mindset when it comes to SEO for your new business.
Most marketers will warn you that it takes 4-6 months to start seeing the first results. While this is mostly true, it’s not the whole story. SEO continues to work and the results keep building over time so your most accurate results will be after one year.
If you’re not seeing the results that you want at that point, you may need to change your strategy. Bottom line: If you’re looking for fast results, this isn’t where you want to put your efforts. However, if you can go the distance, your return on investment will be worth the wait.
#5. When You Start Seeing Traction, Have a Regular Schedule to Upload Content
One of the major keys to maintaining or improving your ranking is to post new content regularly. Many companies choose a day of the week to batch content, meaning they may sit down on a Monday and schedule all of their social media posts for the week.
Whatever schedule works best for you, what matters is sticking to it. Get out a calendar and write down the days that you’ll post new content – then stick to it.
If you’re stumped about what kind of content to upload, keep a running list of ideas that come to you randomly. When it’s your day of the week or month to upload new content, pull out your idea bucket and choose the one that’s speaking most to you on that particular day.
It may be a listicle, graphic, meme, or blog – the type of content is up to you and your audience. Remember, what matters most is that you’re posting like clockwork.
#6. Make Sure to Have All of Your Technical SEO Correct From the Get-Go
Now that you understand how long it takes for SEO to start working for you, it’s fairly easy to understand that you need to have your ducks in a row early on. Nothing is fast with SEO, which includes correcting mistakes.
While some mistakes won’t come up until you get further down the road, the technical SEO errors are pretty obvious to spot. So, before you go all in, run an internal technical SEO audit. Look for the following items:
- Broken Links – if you’re linked to other websites or pages, make sure the links are still good, and if not remove them.
- Slow load times – nothing will make someone run from your site faster than having to wait on it. Your site should load in less than 3 seconds.
- Run a crawl report or site audit – this report will show you site errors and can be set to automatically run for you monthly.
- Check your XML sitemap – this is what Google uses as a map for your website. Make sure your site follows their protocol and that it’s been submitted to their search console.
- Optimize for mobile use – knowing most users will view your website on a cellphone, it’s crucial to make sure they’re able to use your full site and do so easily.
- Fix any duplicate metadata – this one is more common with eCommerce websites. This happens when you have products that are similar or pages with duplicate content and the same meta descriptions are used more than once.
Play the Waiting Game
Well, you’ve done everything that you can to make sure your Freshman year is off to a great start in the SEO world. Now, it’s time to play the waiting game. If there’s one thing we want to leave you with, it’s the importance of giving SEO time to work and build.
If you quit after a few months, all of this effort was for nothing. Give the process a year to slowly move your website towards the top of the search engine rankings. We know you didn’t come this far to give up now.
About the Author!
Tim Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online driver education to help teens get their license. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.