Google’s search engine algorithms seem to get smarter and more sophisticated every day. When it comes to SEO best practices, what worked last year might not work today, and what worked five years ago could actually get you penalized by Google these days (for example, inflating backlinks by buying spam links). The evolution of Google’s algorithm makes it increasingly difficult to “cheat” the system.
However, in the face of such rapid development, SEO experts aren’t simply standing by and watching: they too are continuously adapting their strategies. However, this can make it difficult to keep up with the pace of innovation: which strategies actually help you to get ranked today? How can startups with limited budget and resources take on the big dogs? To help you stay ahead of the curve and keep up-to-date with SEO strategies, we interviewed 17 startup CMOs and digital marketing leaders and asked them about their best 2018 SEO tips for startups.
17 SEO Tips For Startups To Rank In 2018
Content marketing and SEO has become highly competitive in the past years. To gain any significant traffic today, especially for a startup, you need to choose, and execute, the right strategy.
Natalia Bandach, Digital Strategy Consultant at Kudzu Partners
“Be smart about what you want to rank for and amaze with your content”
“Do your homework in keyword research, get long tail keywords that could potentially drive conversions and make sure you solve users problems more efficiently than your competition. Then search for websites with related content that your amazingly complete one could enrich. SEO takes time, you will need to get quality links fast in order to start making it in the top. How? Great content is the key. Amaze with your content, make people want to write about you and solve users problems well.”
Spencer Coon, Co-Founder at Beamer
“Avoid the get rich quick schemes, invest in long-term results with smart content generation”
“The best way to get meaningful results from your SEO strategy is to avoid the get rich quick schemes and put in the work. Content generation has worked best for us. I would follow these steps: 1) identify your buyer persona, 2) make a list of keywords based on your buyer persona, 3) use Google Keyword Planner to identify high-value keywords (look at bid amount more than volume), 4) create interesting content you would want to read including keywords in url, title, first paragraph, and several H2 / H3’s and 5) share everywhere. Follow this and start generating high-quality traffic to your site that will actually convert.”
Jimmy Flores, Digital Marketing Expert
“Do the hard stuff that doesn’t scale.”
“Every startup has a pool of similar strategies and tactics to choose from. The easiest are the most accessible but they’re also what everyone else is doing. Developing ideas that are “difficult”, “not scalable” or that simply take lots of time to execute may seem like they put you too far behind in the race against your competitors, but when you do launch them, they’re usually the things that make a splash, get attention, drive engagement and ultimately backlinks, time on page and all that good SEO jargon. Do the hard stuff that doesn’t scale.”
Matt Astarita, COO & Co-Founder at Spitche
“Go with marketing long tail keywords”
“Managing long-tail keywords is simply a matter of establishing a better communication between your startup and the customers who are already out there, actively searching for what you provide. The more specific and “niche” your keywords are the more chances you will find a qualified audience. We all know startups are starting on a budget so on top of that you get less competition which means lower costs for your startup.”
Alvaro Córdoba, CMO & Co-Founder at Badi
“Create meaningful and helpful content for your target audience.”
“The longer you’ll be able to maintain the traffic on your website/blog for a specific search the more relevant it would be for Google, and you’ll have better engagement with your potential user.”
Lavin Luis, Co-Founder at Boardfy
“If you are selling a software the best way to get inbound leads is to create integrations.”
“In our case we have an Ecommerce SaaS platform connected to Prestashop, Magento, Shopify and Woocommerce. Being in the Prestashop app marketplace, for example, gives you a lot of visibility. The best way to also “hack” those marketplaces is not only to upload your plugin but to also gett reviews from your existing customers.”
Lucia Mati, SEO Consultant at Unicorn Saker
“Have a clear profile and make sure information is interesting and understandable. Use Google’s free tools such as Search Console and Google Analytics.”
“Find a niche market and create a clear profile to make sure the Google algorithm/customers understand keywords related to your site. Write interesting and understandable information on your site covering all possible questions your customers may have. Use the free tools provided by Google such as Search Console and Google Analytics.”
Antonio Molina Cubero, Inbound Marketing Manager at Forcemanager
“Think about scalability, measuring, benchmarking and be mobile”
“A startup that doesn’t create scalable processes (also in SEO) is sentenced; a startup that doesn’t measure the effort dedicated to SEO and content is blind… So always keep in mind your KPI related to business and your SEO. And… keep it simple…”
The beauty of digital marketing is that you can measure almost everything. That’s why any modern and successful SEO strategy needs to include analytics to make smart decisions.
Pablo Mascaro, Head Of Digital Marketing at OneCoWork
“Start any piece of content production with an ad hoc keyword research.”
“There are many keyword research tools out there (Semrush, Adwords Keyword Tool to name 2). Also content production needs to be done in a planned, structured and organised way based on resources available.
Many companies believe that just because content production is the most important factor when looking to gain visibility and improve rankings on search engines, they tend to confuse quantity over quality. In reality, less content but better prepared and optimized can have a greater impact than poor quality produced more often.”
Ruben Lang Herrera, Growth Expert at Unnax Payments System SLU
“Try to get the most valuable content for your potential customers”
“Don’t let “arrogant entrepreneur syndrome” (aka assuming YOU know what the market wants) guide your content strategy. Investing time in developing detailed, well fleshed-out personas will help you produce better content and will make a huge difference in actually turning some of your blog readers into buyers later on. To do this, you’ll want to gather as much data as you can on your potential clients: what are their jobs? What are their most common problems? What are their needs? How old are they? If you’re B2B, who at their company is going to make the decision on whether to buy from you? How tech-savvy are they? If you have current clients, ask them if they can spare 15 minutes to have a skype call with you. Write up a questionnaire and go through it with them. Do this with as many people as possible, and you’ll start to see overlap in their answers. These are the issues you’ll want to write about.”
Adam Davis, Marketing & Customer Strategy Advisor
“Don’t forget to measure the impact”
“Many startups prioritise SEO with good intentions, doing what they think is right or following tips & tricks they’ve read, and at the end of the day they don’t know what is working and what isn’t. Always measure everything you do. Set up goals, track conversions, and measure results to understand which SEO actions are driving the results that you want. What works for one startup may not necessarily be working for yours.”
Cassandra Naji, Content Marketing Manager at Justinmind
“If you have blog content, make time to audit it every 6 months and optimise it for relevant keywords.”
“Updating and optimising your old blog content is a great habit to get into – in fact we saw an increase of 30% on our organic traffic after auditing and improving our existing content. It’s not hard to do but it is time-consuming: first you have to audit your blog posts using tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider; then you have to discover the keywords they’re currently ranking for (use Search Console) and then make time to optimise the post. This means re-writing the content to be fresh and using onpage keyword optimisation techniques. Do that bi-annually for all your outdated blog content and you’ll see SEO improvements.”
Getting useful backlinks from industry experts is a key SEO strategy in order to outrank competitors in 2018. It helps you build high domain authority and pull traffic from other sites.
Jacob Wahl, CMO & Founder at iBreve
“1. Guest blogging 2. Be a Google Analytics Nerd”
“You are a startup & you have no money for marketing?
Here are two of the most effective & simplest ways in collecting leads and bumping up your SEO. Plus, it costs you zero.
I Guest blogging
- Choose 3-5 blogs of your target group
- Check out the guest article rules
- Write a short article about your personal experience and implement a link to your blog or website.
II Be a Google Analytics Nerd
Constantly ask yourself, who is sending the most traffic to your site? What do people search to find my website? You can find it out by regularly checking your referrals & search terms (“queries”) in Google Analytics. Post the articles & new content related to the search terms in your social media channels to further increase your reach!”
Scott Mackin, CEO at Bourbon Creative
“Provide real value and expertise through strategic guest blogging.”
“By taking a strategic approach to guest blogging opportunities you can accomplish 3 things: 1. Expand your reach by piggybacking on an existing audience. 2. Position yourself and your brand as a leading authority and subject matter expert in your industry. 3. Increase organic traffic by orders of magnitude (>10x) by collecting high-quality backlinks on a consistent basis.”
Ignasi Capella, CMO at Broomx Technologies SL
“Be mentioned by TOP media & opinion leaders”
“For me, the best way to increase SEO and also awareness for your brand is being referred by third parties. Being featured on Discovery Channel, CNN, Techcrunch or Venture Beat (just to name a few) with a link to your webpage will increase your SEO rank and moreover, will let potential customers all around the world to know about you. Then, is your time to convert all those leads in real customers!”
Old-school technical SEO basics are still important. If you don’t get it right, everything else might not even matter. However, the latest trend is to build websites with SEO in mind.
Adelina Sarmiento, CMO at Keepler
“Build your website properly according to SEO guidelines and keywords.”
“In a startup, the resources (tools, economical and time dedicated) are limited. Building your website properly from scratch according to SEO guidelines and to generate your own content through your own blog included in your site, taking into account your keywords and positioning tips, is the key to promote positioning and that, subsequently, will allow you to enter into more concrete strategies.”
Inka Wibowo, Content Manager at ToolTester
“Despite what you may have heard, website builders like Wix ARE actually good for SEO – they can definitely help you get found on Google!”
“Website builders like Wix have earned a bad reputation for SEO, but we’ve seen this change A LOT over the past few years (and we compare and analyse website builders for a living, so we’ve been keeping a close eye on them!). Now, they’re built with SEO in mind, so you can fully expect to achieve high rankings with them if you optimise your site right. We’ve had this feedback from a lot of our users, and have also seen it for ourselves with sites we’ve built using Wix.”
The SEO tips shared above by startup CMOs and SEO pro’s paint a clear picture: these days, there is no one single hack anymore that will catapult you from the back pages on Google to the top five entries. To rank well it takes a combination of different things: A proper strategy including an editorial calendar, has to be put in place based on audience research and keyword research. SEO performance has to be measured in order to update content, drop strategies that don’t work and invest more resources into things that bring useful leads. Domain authority needs to be elevated through acquiring high-quality backlinks and promoting content on social media. Finally, websites must be built for SEO (and mobile first) and basic SEO techniques must be still applied.
Of course, focusing on so many different aspects makes it even harder for new startups to increase organic traffic. However, marketers can use paid and free digital marketing tools in order to save time and money. Additionally, through proper research and planning as well as repurposing and distributing content as much as possible, new companies can maximise the return on their SEO and content investment in order to gradually grow their digital brand.
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