Start Your Business Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

by / ⠀Startup Advice / October 1, 2010

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be one of your most powerful marketing tools. It is what allows your site and its content to appear in searches on search engines like Google or Bing. Think about how many people are out searching for your services right now? Odds are even when you go to look for something the first thing you do is turn to Google. So let’s get your site to appear in some of those results so customers can find you.

SEO can be done by yourself but it can also be tedious. For the most efficient and cost effective results we recommend a combination of efforts for your SEO. Right from the start go at it yourself by following some simple steps we’ll layout below. Once you’re up and running for a few months it can be worth investing some money into an expert or software. We recommend SEOmoz because they have an amazing reputation with some of the largest brands out there. They also provide an array of free tools, guides, and resources for people just looking for a little more information.

Here are steps to take to do your own basic SEO from day 1:

SEO friendly website structure:

You want to avoid javascript and flash on your website as much as possible. Why? Both types of design are not crawlable by search engine spiders that come to your site to analyze the content.  If your website has these types of images then make sure they are surrounded by keyword rich text for the search engines to see.

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The most important rule is to not have a full page, especially your homepage, be javascript or flash that won’t be readable by spiders. Discuss this with your web designers and make sure they are aware of your concerns in this area.

Content is king:

Content is king when it comes to SEO. More content means more relevant keywords and phrases that spiders could potentially find. The content MUST be relevant. Having a piece about fashion and one about cars will not help a search engine determine what your site is about as a whole. This is why having niche focused content can be one of your biggest friends when it comes to SEO.

Search engines also like sites that have recent content. This is where starting a blog comes into play because it will force you to create new content which will help your SEO.

Consider using various forms of content like text, photo, video, podcasts and social accounts. Make sure to label and describe each one and it will give you other opportunities to appear in searches for those specific types of content.

Research keywords to rank for:

Make a list of what keywords and phrases you would like to rank for and what describes your sites content, products and services. Then head over to Google’s keyword tool to research what phrases you will have the best chance to rank for.

The key when using the keyword tool is to see how many searches/month are being done for the phrase. Then go to Google and search the phrase to see how many total results come up.  You want to find that combination of a phrase with a decent amount of monthly searches but relatively few total search results for it in Google.  Think under 2000 monthly searches and under 1 million total results to start. As your site grows you can always expand into more competitive phrases but you have to start small.

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Use these keywords in the titles of your sites pages, blog titles and in content throughout the site. Don’t go out of your way to stack keywords into every sentence, this can actually hurt your rankings. Make it natural but realize that many titles and descriptions could be optimized by adding in a more targeted phrase.

Link Building:

Your most important task when trying to improve SEO is to build links from other sites. Do not go out and buy links but rather get them organically through partnerships, interviews, reviews, or link backs to some awesome content you created.

Links to your site show search engines that someone thinks your content is good enough to be mentioned. This gives your site more credibility as a site people need to see and hear about. The more credibility and power that site who linked to you has the more weight the link will carry. Simply put a link from The Wall Street Journal is going to weigh more than a link from a blogger who started yesterday.

Use basic free tools to help analyze your progress:

Google Webmaster Tool: This tool will let you see what keywords you rank for, where you rank for them and the percentage of searches that end up on your site for the word. It has some powerful information so you can better see how Google sees your site.

Google Analytics: Use it to see what keywords are sending traffic your way and what that traffic is doing on your site. Getting a lot of traffic is one thing. Getting a lot of traffic that converts is a whole different ballgame.

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Moz free tools: Their array of free tools will help you see how competitors sites rank, how you compete, link opportunities and many more features to dig deeper into your own sites SEO.

The bottom line in SEO is Text, Links, Popularity and Reputation.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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