If you are a new startup business, one of the first things that you will be looking to do, in order to establish yourself as a fresh new brand on the market, is to set up an effective advertising and marketing campaign. After all, how is anybody going to buy what you sell if they don’t know you exist? One crucial and very cost-effective way of marketing a brand is by doing so online.
The Internet offers limitless possibilities when it comes to getting the word spread about the awesome new products and services that you offer.
Assuming that you have already bought and set up your firm’s domain name, website and h
osting, the next item on the agenda is to SEO (search engine optimise) your website. Here’s a guide for startups on what you need to know and do when it comes to your website’s SEO.
Search engine optimisation? What’s that all about?
SEO is the practice of optimising the pages on your website so that they have a better chance of showing high up in search engine results pages (or SERPs for short) when a user goes onto a search engine such as Google and types in a particular keyword or phrase.
Any search is likely to return thousands or even millions of results depending on how broad the search entered is. Think of an SEO as giving your website a tune up; if the pages on your site are search engine optimised, they will not only show up in relevant results, but they will also enhance your visitor’s experience on your website because they will be looking at pages relevant to what they were searching for.
Here are the basic steps you should perform to SEO your website:
Step 1 – use a search engine friendly publishing platform
Back in the old days, web designers would often code web pages by hand and spend many painstaking hours coding everything by hand. Nowadays, the majority of people use platforms such as WordPress to set up their website.
WordPress is open source (which means its free), and it is really easy to apply ready-made themes to style the website, either for free from the WordPress theme directory, or from premium theme providers such as ThemeForest. Of course, if you are a web designer and you would prefer to use your own bespoke theme, then you can easily code one up yourself.
Another great thing about WordPress is because it is used on over 70 million websites worldwide, it is highly popular and as such regularly updated with security patches and some awesome new features that make web publishing a cinch!
Step 2 – set up website monitoring
You can do this easily, and for free, by registering your website with Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools. These two services offer you rich insight into how well your website is performing, and will alert you to any potential issues.
In order to authenticate you are the owner of your website, they will ask you to upload a file with a specific name to the root directory of your website, which they can then verify. Alternatively, you can add a meta tag to your home page for verification purposes.
Step 3 – register with Google Places for Business
You know when you search for a specific business or type of business, and Google returns a set of relevant, local results? That is because those businesses are registered with Google Places for Business, and so should you.
There are free and premium levels that you can sign up to, and your details will be available to anyone that searches on Google using a traditional computer or a mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet.
Step 4 – begin the SEO process on your website
Now that you have got the ball rolling, the next step is to get stuck in and optimise your website. Google have released a document called the Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide, which offers you a nuts and bolts guide to optimising various elements on your website such as meta tags, page titles, headings, and how to deal with web crawlers.
Step 5 – make sure your content packs a punch
Content is king when it comes to SEO, and the main search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo!) are cracking down on spammy websites, so it is vitally important that you have excellent quality content on your web pages, and that they are relevant to their users’ searches. If you are stuck for ideas on how to achieve this, there are many small business SEO companies that can help.