SEO 101: Introduction to SEO for Startups

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As a startup, your website is among your main assets. A website that ranks high in search results means high impression and high visitor numbers. The more your website is visited, the more you interact with your prospect customers. And this points to the importance of SEO as a marketing tool.

In simplest terms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving traffic to a website by increasing the site's visibility in search results.

Today, SEO is one of the most important components of a marketing strategy and your startup certainly needs it. Because SEO;

· makes your website visible to not only humans but also search engines.

· produces high traffic and high conversion rates.

· is free.

· is the main tool for gaining web presence.

· is a must in today’s competition.

You don’t need to be a veteran to enjoy the benefits of SEO. By following these basic steps below, you can make a good start to your Do-It-Yourself SEO efforts.

Before starting: Understand the logic behind search engines

Although there are several search engines including Yahoo, Bing, etc. Google is the king. And you can understand the logic behind search engines by understanding Google. The entire purpose of Google is to provide users with the most relevant search results.  And to return the most relevant result, Google answers the following questions:

· How many times does this page contain your keywords?

· Do these words appear in the URL, title and description?

· Is this page from a quality website?

· How many outside links point to this page and how important are these links?

Basic SEO Tips for Beginners

There are two main components of a DIY SEO strategy:

1) Creating SEO-friendly content

2) Building qualified links

Let’s take a deeper look at these components:

1) Creating SEO-friendly content

Google aims to show the most relevant sites in the search results. This means a site which better answers the questions of users, is ranked higher. So, considering SEO tactics while creating content on your website, plays a crucial role in your success. To create SEO-friendly content;

Create unique and original content

· Be authentic instead of writing content that can be easily found anywhere.

· Understand user intent by finding out the reason of their search.

· Consider your audience and provide useful information that solves a real problem for them.

· If you are going to write about a popular topic, find the best example and write an improved version of it.

Optimize the title and headline

· While headlines are for humans, titles are for search engines.

· For the best result; both titles and headlines need to be optimized.

· Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, and think about the keywords they use in their searches.

· Include these keyword, at least your focus keyword in the headline.

· Aim for a title of 55-60 characters, this is what Google will display on the search engine result page.

Use the right keywords

· Ignore the legend that says keywords are not important for SEO anymore and try to use them in context and at the right balance.

· Ensure your keywords are up-to-date by using keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner, Yoast Suggests, Moz Keyword Explorer… etc.

· Be more specific and focus on a single keyword at the beginning.

· Think about starting with long tail keywords- very exact keywords with lower competition instead of popular keywords.

· Do not sacrifice the quality of your content to include more keywords.

Aim for readability

· Use a simple language with active voice.

· Use short sentences and short paragraphs.

· Avoid using jargon, be as simple as possible.

· Divide text into sections in a clean and organized manner. 

· Check the readability of your content by using apps like Hemingway, Read-able, etc.

Use optimized images

· Always use images in your content, nobody would like to read a chunk of text.

· Use qualified and relevant images.

· Add a title or alt text for your image to make it reachable by search engines.

· Include your focus keyword in the alt tags of the images.

2) Building qualified links

Building internal and external links which is also known as interlinking is an important part of SEO. By building relevant and qualified links, you not only help your visitors receive additional information; but also help search engines better understand what your website is about. Whether you’re linking internally or externally, make sure that every link serves its own purpose in your content.

Internal links

Internal links are links that point to other pages on the same website. By using internal links, you can send visitors to different pages of your website. Internal links increases the visibility of your site while providing your readers additional information. Internal links also help search engines better understand what your website is about. With internal links, you can;

· increase page views on your site

· help users to easily navigate within your site

· increase the time spent on your site

· reduce bounce rate

External links

External links cover both inbound and outbound links. An inbound link which is also known as a backlink, is a link coming from another site to your own website. And an outbound link is a link from your website to another site.

The authority of a site increases in parallel with the links it receives from other sites. Higher authority brings higher ranking in search results. In other words, external links points to reliability of your website. By linking qualified websites, you can provide additional resources for your readers and increase the credibility of your content through outbound links.

Building good inbound links require you take various actions which are known as off-page SEO. Publishing online articles on industry news sites, commenting on other blogs and sites, becoming a guest blogger, sharing links on social media are among these actions.

Conclusion

As a startup, SEO is an indispensable component of your marketing strategy. Although SEO is a long-term investment which requires time, it guarantees effective results and high ROI if done properly. By creating unique and original content and working on building quality links, you can make a good start to your SEO efforts.