SEO 101 for Start-up Companies

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You are here because you know how important search engines are. You want your customers and potential customers to find you. Wouldn’t it be nice if your company came up high on the result pages when people searched for a product or service that you are specialized in? But of course ranking high takes quite a lot of effort and requires playing with lots of variables.

If you are new to the world of search engine optimization, you will probably feel like you have entered a different universe where a different language dominates. But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Let’s take a look at what you need to deal with:

How much it will cost

If you don’t want to hire an expert, there are free tools the experts use every day. Google’s Keyword Tool is one of them.

Who will handle the SEO efforts?

You might or you might want to hire someone else for it. This mostly depends on your budget and whether you are comfortable with working with people from outside your company just yet.

The SEO elements you need to use:

Keywords are the search terms people type in to find what they are looking for. It’s not enough to know what they want in general. In order to rank high, you should know how they use these words as well –including combinations, synonyms…etc.

It is important to place your keywords into your texts carefully. You want the search engines to find you but you don’t want to be perceived as spam. You don’t want to bore your readers with repetition either.

You should pay attention to long tail keywords as well. Long tail keywords consist of three or more words. It’ll be relatively easier for you to rank for these groups rather than one-word or two-word keywords since they have much more competition.

While keywords with too much competition should be approached with caution, the same goes for keywords with too little competition. Lack of competition might suggest that not enough people are that interested. And “not interested” is exactly what you aren’t interested in.

But keywords don’t just go into your posts and pages. In order to make the search engines find you, you might want to place your keywords in your domain name, page and post URLs, anchor text (the text you are placing links on), titles and sub-headlines. While the importance of meta tags (HTML tags that provide information about your website) is argued upon, you- it doesn’t hurt to optimize them.

Other things to consider

Avoid duplicate content.

Search engines favor quality and original content. You should try to avoid putting the same article in different categories (something that will be considered duplicate content) or under different URLs.

Edit and customize an error 404 page.

Try to customize your error page so that visitors know what to do next, without leaving your site for good. You might also create an error 301 page – a page that tells a particular page moved to another URL and points out to the new URL.

Local SEO matters.

People often make location-related searches so try to include your location in the keywords you are using if possible.

Don’t ignore design and content.

You want to keep the visitors you attracted through your SEO efforts.

Make great use of SEO, but make sure you back it up with a website that makes it worth staying on the site. You don’t just want to be found. You want to people to stay on the site and come back to visit. You want to be remembered. You should also never count on SEO alone. It is only one part of your marketing efforts.

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