“You’ve got to make sure you’ve got someone handling your SEO!”
Anyone who has started up a business in the past several years has probably heard this line from a friend or business associate. “SEO,” an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, has been a buzzword on people’s lips for a long time. But while everyone recognizes how important it is, very few know how to do it properly.
So how can you be sure that you’re handling your startup’s SEO properly? We’ve gathered together a few tips and pointers to remember as you work to make sure that when people search for a solution in your field, your company will be the one they see.
Start with Keywords
It’s basic SEO, but for that very reason, it often gets overlooked. When potential customers search for the products and services your business provides, there are certain keywords and phrases that crop up the most often. Take some time in the beginning to do the research and figure out which words are the most common, and which ones it might be within your company’s grasp. Remember, you want your keywords to be relevant to your market, with a lot of traffic, but finding words that your competitors may not be hitting as strongly can be beneficial, too.
Once you’ve found a few keywords you want to focus on, include them throughout your website. Don’t overdo it, though. You still want your website to feel natural, and if you stuff your keywords in anywhere you can, it will start to feel bloated and awkward.
Local vs. National
Depending on the type of service or product your company offers, you will want to target your SEO efforts toward either a local or a national audience. Each has its own benefits.
National SEO is significantly more competitive. If you succeed, your company gets much higher exposure, but instead of going against a few local competitors, you are up against every similar business in the country. If your customers need to physically come to your location, a lot of that effort will be wasted, because they likely won’t travel across the country to visit your store.
Local SEO, meanwhile, is easier to rank for, and the major search engines often prioritize local results. When you are aiming for local search engine results, the keywords you target will usually be more specific. Rather than just searching for “pool designs” or “computer repair,” users tend to search for things like “Houston pool designs” or “computer repair near me” to get a result that will give them more relevant information.
Meanwhile, if you offer a service that customers can access from anywhere, like online shopping or video streaming, then national SEO methods will be more helpful to you. Since your audience is nationwide, you want to focus your efforts to cast as wide a net as possible.
One of the best ways to catch the attention of a search engine algorithm is to draw in a lot of traffic. To do that, you need solid content. You want to create pieces that people will find very useful and share with each other. If your potential consumers are pet owners, write about topics that they need information on. This may be a guide for pet urine removal or how to get your puppy to sleep through the night. Even if it isn’t exactly related to your product or business, it will draw visitors to your site.
Create blog posts, infographics, videos, and more. The point is to engage the user and persuade them to engage on your site. Make sure that it can be read by search engines. Titles, captions, and alt-text are all good places to bake in keywords that will lead users back to your site. Use your company’s social media accounts to share content that you’ve produced, as well as pieces you find that are relevant to your industry. As you provide value and substance to your audience, it will improve your brand’s reputation and increase customer trust.
Your SEO efforts may grow to the point where they are taking up as much time or more than your other business obligations. If that happens, it’s okay to reach out to a firm that specializes in SEO. Not only is it an opportunity to offload a good chunk of your workload so that you can focus on the specifics of your business—they’re familiar with the work and will know some of the best ways to use SEO to improve your results.
If you do outsource your SEO operations, continue to learn about how SEO works. That way, you’ll be able to understand exactly what an outsourced firm is doing and can add your own expertise on your business to the discussion. They may be experts in search engine optimization, but that doesn’t mean they are experts in your business. Make sure you know enough to recognize any potential missteps they make. Even if you’re no longer handling all of your company’s SEO efforts, it’s still your responsibility to know the work that is being done.
By: Lee Flynn