Video: Search Engine Optimization for Startups

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You finally got your startup off the ground but no one can find you in any search results. Since we work with a lot of startups, this is a huge issue… the clock is ticking and you need to get revenue. Getting found in search is much more economical than hiring an outbound team. However, Google isn’t too kind to a new domain. In this video, Maile Ohye from Google discusses what you can do to help.

  • www – Decide whether or not you’d like your domain to start with www or not. Be sure to redirect traffic to the one you select with a 301 (permanent) redirect.
  • Webmasters – be sure to register your domain with Google Webmasters Tools and identify whether or not you have any issues with your site.
  • Alerts – Maile also recommends signing up for Webmaster Alerts so that you’re notified whenever there’s an issue with your site.
  • Domain – it’s recommended that you do a background check of your domain to ensure the site was never in trouble prior to you selecting it. Spam, malware, indecent content… any of those issues could hurt your chances of getting ranked. If there are problems, you can notify Google via Webmasters that the domain is now managed by a new owner.
  • Fetch – within Webmasters, fetch your pages to ensure that the search engines aren’t going to run into difficulties crawling your site.
  • Submit – if there’s no problem, submit the page to Google. If you build your site with a great content management system, the CMS will do this for you each time you publish new or updated content.
  • Analytics – add analytics to your site so that you can begin collecting important data from your site – ensuring progress and making improvements based upon the results. Whether or not you utilize Google Analytics, I would still implement it since it has Webmaster, paid search and social data that your analytics platform can not include.
  • Design – develop a web strategy that fulfills the needs of your web visitors and drives them to your business. Simple navigation, one page per idea, and professional design will drive more traffic through to you.
  • Conversion – how will your website convert prospects into customers or drive additional sales from current customers? Be sure to have conversions defined for your site – and for better measurement, incorporate Google Analytics conversion tracking.
  • Keywords – Search engines will index your site better if they can understand what your site and pages are about. Get some professional assistance in finding the keywords for your industry and utilize keywords effectively within your site.
  • Speed – Make sure your site is fast. Don’t pick the lowest cost host, they’re just going to put your site on a shared, crappy server that will hurt both your search engine optimization and your visitors’ patience.

Potential SEO Pitfalls

  • SEO – hiring a shady SEO consultant can do more damage than good to your site. Hire a consultant that understands and abides by Google’s Terms of Service.
  • Backlinking – Avoid link schemes or buying links to increase Pagerank. This is often a tactic for SEO companies to build your rank. You pay them to distribute undisclosed content around the web so that they can insert links in that content.
  • Simplicity – focus on a simple site that presents the information to the reader and the search engine user. Complex sites can require more time, slow the site down, and hide key content that search engines require to understand your content better.

My Advice

Getting found and ranked is still dependent upon your site’s popularity. Google isn’t just going to trust you and bump you into a #1 spot for a competitive, relevant keyword. Promoting your site is imperative to getting visibility on search engines. Be sure to distribute your URL in any press releases or articles written about your site. Sign your site up for Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and begin to engage with your prospects, colleagues, influencers and employees online – promoting the content you’re writing.

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