SEO hardly has a standard approach for all kinds of business organizations. In a startup context, SEO can be radically different from the optimization practices for an established business in terms of approach and implementation. I have posted before about different ways to attract traffic immediately after the launch of a website, which mostly exploit content marketing techniques. However, SEO is too big to ignore and having an SEO strategy for a startup pays good in the long run.
The strategic emphasis of SEO can be on a number of different aspects depending on the context and organizational goals. However, since the context for modern start ups are more or less comparable, a set of four actions can be identified as the strategic pillars of SEO process for startups, which are: Test, Measure, Connect, and Socialize.
Testing SEO initiatives is particularly important for start ups. However, it is sometimes a little bit difficult to test an SEO campaign in quantitative terms. In that case, at least some qualitative criteria have to be set. Optimizely is a good tool for testing. Also, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics provide some utility to run different tests.
The main use of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools is the measurement of SEO efforts. Piwik is a good alternative of Google Analytics which provides deeper data about the traffic of your website and runs from your own server. Followerwonk is a great tool to measure the impact of your SEO campaigns on Twitter.
With the word connect, a number of activities are referred including link building, relationship marketing, and social media profiling.
After Google Panda update, backlinks are not as important as they were, but backlinks still holds great value for optimization of your website. In this changed scenario, a start up needs to focus on building relevant links using relevant keywords. Guest blogging is so far a great way to build links. Also, recognizing industry experts and having a honorary badge for them might help the startup to get links from valuable sources. Above all, publishing great content that people love to share and comment on will automate your link building process.
Relationship marketing is the approach where the company builds and maintains business relationships for a long period. For every business, regardless of whether it is online or offline, relationship with stakeholders is important. A start up needs to foster relationship with influential bloggers, industry experts, journalists and potential customers.
Social media profiling
Social media have given the wonderful opportunity to connect with the target audience easily. However, depending on the type of the business, you should get selective about social media profiling. There are niche social media platforms that can be suitable for particular businesses. For example, if your startup markets a new diet plan for athletes; then Athlinks, a social network for athletes, can be a great place where you have to be. A long term activity plan for profiling your start up on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and a niche social media can bring great results in terms of growing traffic and bringing business prospects.
Having social media profiles is not sufficient anymore. People will not automatically visit your social page unless you interact with them. That’s where socialize comes. For SEO purpose, your socializing focus should be on Google+. Make sure that you have ensured Google Authorship and have a Google+ page and community. The next part is getting your target audience involved with your social presence. Do not try to create conversation around your contents only. Rather, comment and share the contents posted by others. Remember that ‘becoming social’ is opposite of ‘becoming selfish’. Reach out to people, interact with them, publish great content- your social signals will get stronger which will eventually impact your site’s position on the search engines.
This four actions formula will definitely boost your SEO campaigns within a startup context regardless of the type of the business you are involved in. However, it is important to have clearly specified strategic plan integrating all these four elements before launching your business.
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