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A Straightforward Guide to SEO for Your Startup

A Straightforward Guide to SEO for Your Startup

Megan McLatchie

Marketing Executive

Updated 04 February 21

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There are 4.45 billion web pages indexed on google (and growing), making it hard and harder to become seen by searchers. SEO helps people discover your website, so subsequently you can generate more leads, sales, and revenue. In a nutshell, SEO helps your business grow online. 

 

If you want to start getting some organic traffic from Google but don’t know where to start, simplify your approach by following this guide.

 

Contents:

1/SEO is about trust.

2/Have a great SEO foundation before you start strategising

3/Try to choose a semantic domain name

4/Format your content URLs correctly to improve your page authority
5/Try utilising Schema to improve site traffic
6/Some basic SEO tips worth mentioning
7/Don’t keep them waiting with slow web pages
8/Identify and target medium-difficulty intent based keywords
9/How you write your content is equally as important
10/Write content that people will link to
11/Captivating titles = High CTR
12/Remember to Index your site to Google.

 

1. SEO is about trust.

Everything stems from trust. If Google trusts your site, it will promote you to their searchers. If people trust your content title(s), they'll click your links. If people trust the content they are reading, they'll share it and give backlinks. Trust signalling is the No.1 goal you’re trying to achieve, and how you signal trust to Google is achievable by doing the following:

  1. Fast page loads.
  2. Great user experience.
  3. Natural, human generated content.
  4. Bot readable content.
  5. Good schema structure (more on that below).
  6. Long page dwell times.

 

All in all, If you can provide the visitor with great content and a great experience on your site, you’re off to a great start.

 

2. Have a great SEO foundation before you start strategising

When people see your titles, do they click them? Do people immediately leave after clicking the link? Do people read your content? These are the signals Google keeps track of when  ranking search results, so keeping track of these 3 metrics in your sites analytics is key:

  1. Click through rate - you want a high number of people who click on a link to your website.
  2. Bounce rate - the number of people who land on your site and do completely nothing on the page they enter, then they leave. You want this as low as possible.
  3. Session duration - try to get people to stay on your webpages for longer.

 

How can you achieve this?

✅ Create attractive headlines that are a genuine representation of the content and appeal to your audience (i.e. no clickbait bs!).

✅ When they click the link, make sure your page loads quickly.

✅ Make great content that they’ll stick around to read!

 

Check these boxes and you'll have a great foundation to build your SEO strategy on.

 

3. Try to choose a semantic domain name

Luckily, the domain you pick doesn't really matter. A website URL that is short and readable with .com or .co.uk is recommended. Typically because people have more trust in those (more trust = more clicks). 

 

Examples:

amazon.com

Coca-cola.co.uk

just-eat.co.uk

Ubereats.com

 

Is better than...

mystartupdoesreallycoolaiandstuff-tech.io

 

If you’re struggling to pick a domain name, try out our F.R.A.N.K.S naming process.

 

4. Format your content URLs correctly to improve your page authority

A slug is the part of a URL which identifies a particular page on a website or explains the page’s content. When writing content, it is important the slug is clear and easy to read. Form your URL as follows:

 

https:// yourwebsite .com / blog / your-exact-keyword

 

This URL structure appears cleaner in search results. Having content closer to the root domain also gives it more authority and a better chance to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).

 

If you already have a blog, or you’re about to create one, make sure you don’t have it on a subdomain. Placing your blog on a subdomain will just create more work for you in the long run - instead of optimising a single site, you'll have the task of optimising two sites!

 

If you’re not sure what I mean by a subdomain, see the example below:

 

Website: wearenova.co.uk

Subdomain: blog.wearenova.co.uk

Preferred blog URL: wearenova.co.uk/blog

 

5. Try utilising Schema to improve site traffic

Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you place on your website to improve the way search engines show your page in SERPs. Google loves this because it means they can show more informative results to users!

 

Here’s an example of how a hotel has used a schema markup on their event schedule page:

 

 

The code told Google to display a schedule of upcoming hotel events. The hotel could have chosen to show a section / bullet list from a blog post, reviews, or even a video. It should help to make your search more informative, relevant and useful for users.

 

The schema for your site is located in the <head></head> portion of your HTML. There's a specific structure that needs to be followed in order for it to be understood by an indexing bot. But don’t worry, this is typically managed by your website generator (Wordpress, HubSpot, Wix etc.).

 

You can test your schema eligibility here: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results 

 

6. Some basic SEO tips worth mentioning

  1. Make sure your text is readable (font-size, line height, contrast). If in doubt stick to a white background with black text - always a winner. 
  2. Have a mobile first approach (Google likes that).
  3. Add videos, pictures and charts to boost your visitors session duration.

 

7. Don’t keep them waiting with slow web pages

I said it before and I’ll say it again. Make sure your website loads quickly! No one likes waiting for web pages to kick in - it looks spammy and increases visitor bounce rates.

 

You can test your site page load speed here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ 

 

This will give you a list of improvements to make to ensure your site’s loading lightning fast. 

 

8. Identify and target medium-difficulty intent based keywords

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, the first thing that comes to mind with SEO is keywords. Arguably the most important part of SEO, but also the part where most people get lost.

 

A good place to start is  finding what competing sites are ranking for in your niche. A good tool to use is: https://app.neilpatel.com/en/ubersuggest/keyword_ideas 

 

It is recommended to target medium difficulty ‘intent-based’ keywords.

 

What are intent-based keywords?

These are words or phrases that indicate the user’s intent to buy or find information in the online search. For example: 

“Indian restaurant near me”

“Best business accounting software”

“Free online photo editor”

“Nutribullet 900W Blender”

 

The searcher is looking for something specific, to take action, buy something, solve a problem, use a tool/service etc. These traffic sources are good for actually selling something online.

 

Why is it recommended to target medium-difficulty keywords?

Targeting medium-difficulty keywords will get you more traffic than low difficulty key words, and you’re more likely to rank than if you were to target highly competitive keywords. Typically, by targeting medium-difficulty keywords you'll likely rank for a lot of the long-tail traffic that is generated around that topic too. Eventually, given your site has enough trust signals, you might even rank for a highly competitive term in time.

 

A benefit of medium-difficulty terms is they typically allow you to write longer, more comprehensive content, which has been proven to rank better on Google. To rank for long-tail terms, use terms as H2 headers in subtopics in your content.

 

Using a tool like Ubersuggest, you can see what other sites rank for and can begin gathering a list of keywords that are relevant to your niche. Ubersugesst can help you to generate similar keywords using the Keyword Ideas tab. 

 

 

Filter the list to be less than 30 difficulty and more than 500/month traffic. This gives you keywords that are easy-ish to rank for, but are also typically more valuable traffic.

You can also judge the value of the traffic by looking at the CPC (cost per click of an ad). 

 

9. How you write your content is equally as important

Try talking to your reader personally. Empathise with them and get to the point quickly and accurately. Don't push a product onto them immediately (we all hate being point blank ‘sold’ to), instead focus on providing valuable content.

 

Some other tips for writing helpful content:

  1. Include navigation links for a long piece.
  2. Highlight/bold important information.
  3. Get straight into the content, without the fluff.
  4. Include charts and infographics (shareable stuff).

 

10. Write content that people will link to

As far as writing for SEO, creating content people will backlink too is important. But it’s not easy, to build backlinks your content needs to be incredible! Infact, so good other content publishers will backlink to it as a reference in their own work.

 

Backlinks are important as they signal trust to Google. The more authoritative the site that you can generate links from, the better. 

 

11. Captivating titles = High CTR

Your page titles are really important for getting a high CTR. You don't want to click-bait people, but you also want to make it enticing whilst maintaining relevance to your content. 

 

This is a really useful guide when getting started with titles: headlines.sharethrough.com 

 

12. Remember to Index your site to Google.

If you’ve not done it already you’ll need to index your site to get Google to put it in search results. Same for Bing, and other search engines.

 

You can check how many of your sites pages google has indexed by searching site:yourwebsite.com (example below shows our site has 286 pages indexed).

 

 

If your site, or specific pages of it haven’t been indexed you should:

  1. Go to Google Search Console.
  2. Navigate to the URL inspection tool.l
  3. Paste the URL you’d like Google to index into the search bar.
  4. Wait for Google to check the URL.
  5. Click the “Request indexing” button.

Remember you don’t need to be a skilled website developer or master of marketing to start improving your startups SEO results. Creating good quality, trusted, consistent and sharable content that’s valuable to your readers (and formatted correctly) is the key to improving your website’s SEO.

 

Try it for yourself and let us know how you get on in the comments below. 👇

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