SEO 101 for Startups

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What is SEO?
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SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. In short, SEO refers to a variety of techniques used to position a website on the first page of search results. When an individual searches online for a specific item, topic, answer or solution to a problem, the search engine brings up links to websites offering the best matches for those search terms. Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing language on your site so that it displays prominently in the list.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the strategic placement of specific terms on various pages of a website to enhance its search engine rank. Selecting the right keywords and key phrases or long tail keywords is not an absolute science. Keyword research tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool and WordStream can help determine which keywords have a higher likelihood of success, but no tool can predict success with certainty. Startups should understand that on-page SEO is an ongoing process and only one small part of a larger plan for attracting visitors. In general though, targeting multiple specific keywords and phrases while maintaining readability for visitors will produce better results than targeting one broad keyword.

Here are 5 On-Page SEO tips:

1. Write unique title tags for each page
2. Add internal links, that link pages of your website to other internal pages

3. Enhance your page loading speed

4. Create quality content of a good length (not too long)

5. Improve your URL structure- make your URLs logical, and related to a page's title

Link Building & Off Page SEO

Off-page SEO efforts also aim to increase visibility in the search engines, but from a different perspective. Keywords still play a role in off page SEO, but rather than function inside the page's content, they work as anchor text. Anchor text is the text that you choose to highlight when you add a URL into a sentence. Using keywords in the text that links to your page- for instance, linking the word entrepreneurship to, will increase the search engine connection between that URL and that keyword. In this process, the general search engine ranking of the sites that include your URL is actually more important than the keyboard. In other words, getting a highly authoritative website to link to your site is more valuable than a link from less authoritative website.

Concerning link building, it is an ongoing SEO project. Links lose their significance over time, going stale like day old bread, especially as new web pages appear and gain ranking in the search engines. Therefore link building should be continual like any other form of marketing. Just as start ups should plan marketing strategies and campaigns, savvy start ups develop a plan to actively seek out inbound links for their website using multiple strategies like:

infographics have turned out to be one of the Top 10 website to-dos in 2010. Using an infographic will help create a successful piece of linkbait, like the one we did on the Facebook Demographics in the Middle East, which was featured on multiple middle eastern and asian blogs.

Using Videos can also play a big role in promoting your links. Using Video Sitemaps on your website will help enhance your search results in Google Search results as it show below:

video snippet

Or, if you produce videos and use Wistia for video hosting, Wistia Player will let visitors embed the video on their blogs or sites. This can be another great way of getting links.

With a little creativity and hard work, any startup can succeed at SEO, especially in the Middle East, without having to spend a big chunk of your investment. In this rapid evolving digital age you cannot afford to not have an SEO strategy!

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