It’s the perennial problem of the startup. How on Earth do you get yourself noticed? More and more, the space in which you need to speak up is moving online. In fact, this has probably become the primary channel for securing your brand in the minds of your customers.
But how to go about getting noticed online is a tricky business. There’s a lot of jargon that gets thrown around when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). So today, I’m going to take a little time to explain what this is and how to use it.
SEO is the most confusing topic for budding new entrepreneurs looking to kickstart their online presence. But web design and SEO is really rather simple. At heart, it means making sure your website is friendly to the search algorithms used by search engine companies. In practice, it means doing all you can to make sure that when a customer types in a keyword related to your business, your website comes up first.
There are two major channels through which to do this. The first is to optimize your site itself. This means designing each page on your site to make it attractive to search engines. Effectively, you’re looking to make your site more “searchable.” Things like building high-quality content, improving usability, inserting meta titles and descriptions all help. But you also want to make sure your website is code compliant and has links between pages.
The other major channel is off-site optimization. This is perhaps the more labor intensive side of making your site attractive, but it pays dividends. Optimization done off your site might include things like getting links on external websites to your site. It could also mean having social media accounts and getting these managed and linked to your core website.
You can buy SEO optimization services, but beware of the scammers out there. If an SEO optimization company says that they can get you to number one on Google in a couple of weeks, you’re being lied to. It actually takes Google some considerable time to index your site, regardless of how much SEO is done in the background.
The final thing to mention on this topic is that, if you do decide to do SEO yourself, you need to make sure you’re optimizing for actual search terms. That means knowing exactly what your customers are putting in that search bar when they’re trying to find services like yours. Sometimes startup websites can fail because they’re optimized for the wrong search terms. The company thinks their customers are searching for one thing when in fact it’s another.
If you do decide to employ the services of an external SEO specialist, make sure there are some ground rules before you begin. Firstly, look for companies that are upfront about how long SEO takes. If the company wants to work with you for at least six months, then they’re likely high-quality outfit. But, also, make sure that their service is comprehensive. You want multiple lines of attack when it comes to getting noticed online.