Luxeo Team talks about their experience in promoting startup projects and gives instructions on 10 steps of SEO optimization for launching startups on the first page of Google search.

Why do startups need SEO?

Two words: “macroeconomic trends”. In 2014, Google and Millward Brown Digital conducted a study on shopping habits among B2B decision makers. This study found that 71% of B2B researchers start their research with organic search (instead of brand search).

“They look for the product first, not you,” Google says.

Search Engine Optimization for Startups

Startups are always looking for scalable growth tactics that can be implemented with little or no money. SEO is one of them.

SEO does not require a large budget and, when done correctly, generates free traffic that grows almost on autopilot. What’s more, SEO can drive other marketing tactics and influence every phase of the marketing funnel. So, if you are looking to do SEO for your startup, you have come to the right place.

1 step. SEO strategy

A SEO startup strategy is needed to understand what promotion specialists should do to bring the site to the first positions of search engines and get convertible organic traffic to the site.

Who needs an SEO strategy and when:

  • if you set a goal to become more recognizable in the market;
  • if you have a lot of competitors and need to understand how to break into the top search engine results;
  • if your site is very large with over 30,000 pages. In this case, optimization work is often outsourced.

2 step. Set goals and find resources

SEO for startups can help realize business goals. After all, the goal of SEO is not just to drive traffic to your website. Depending on the chosen strategy, SEO can help:

  • Increase profit, ROI.
  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Increase the number of leads.
  • Strengthen business stability.
  • Increase customer loyalty.

You will discover topics, interests, and issues that your audience is interested in. This will help identify potential areas for development.

If the goal is to make the product more appealing and popular, your task will be to make the brand more familiar and understandable to the target audience. This approach works best when customers are encouraged to solve problems that they sometimes do not know about. You generate demand yourself, focus on keyword research, determine which topic will be most in demand.

If you want to attract targeted leads, you should work less with traffic and promote topics where there is little competition and your services or products are highly relevant.

How to set the right SEO business goals:

Start with business goals. This is the goal your company intends to achieve this quarter, year, or month.

Find out the marketing goals. How marketing will help achieve the goals of the company. If a company’s goal is to increase sales, then marketing’s job is to optimize the sales funnel. Does it increase traffic? Does it bring back more traffic that was already on the site, but can be brought back to the site?

Decide on your goals in SEO for startup. How SEO helps marketers achieve their objectives.

Identify metrics that can be improved. For example, positions, clicks from search engines, query volume, links and link metrics, referral traffic.

From the chosen SEO goals, you can get the maximum result with a subsequent return on investment.

3 step. Sort out your technical SEO

Technical difficulties are one of the most common issues encountered when implementing SEO for start ups. Search engines have made a big leap in evaluating web pages, so technical SEO errors can prevent you from being properly indexed and ranked in the SERPs.You must pay attention to the technical parts of SEO from the outset, before mistakes become too costly.

List of common technical problems:

  • The absence of the process of removing or modifying pages without the time-consuming generation of missing links, diverting user traffic, and so on.
  • Duplicate content on different URLs.
  • Duplicate title tags.
  • Lack of original content.
  • Links leading to the so-called “infinite search areas”, where dozens of pages that are not related to the query are generated.
  • Poorly configured analytics that fail to track user activity and traffic source.

4 step. Do your research and choose keywords

There are two types of keywords:

Short-tail keywords are often one or two words in length. They lack specificity, yet have huge search volumes. For instance, “build a website”;

Long-tail keywords are more precise and lengthier. These kinds of search queries are less common with consumers, but they are far more specialized than short-tail keywords. For instance, “free website builder.”

While short-tail keywords are easier to pick up, they are much harder to rank for. Because the high search frequency also leads to high competition for a place in the top.

The goal of keyword selection is to identify strong combinations of both types of relevant keywords (short and long tail). They should cover all possible behaviors of users in search engines.

The right combination of keywords will include a few basic short keywords that cover your industry (e.g. entrepreneurship, startups, business, e-commerce, etc.). Adding several long-tail keywords.

Now that we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the most popular and important keywords, let’s talk about how to use them on your website.

How to make keywords work for your site?

Let’s start by checking the URL of each page – make sure it includes the relevant keyword or its shortened version. It would also be useful to include this key in the SEO title and meta description of the site and each of the site’s pages.

In addition, put the keyword in the body text, in at least one title, and in the ‘alt’ attribute of each image. While crawling your site, the search engine will hit the keyword several times in the right places, which will help it understand what your site/page/article is about.

5 step. Write content

Creating quality content is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today, especially when their resources are limited.

What is the difficulty: due to high competition, which has led to an overabundance of content,

users are becoming more and more demanding. High quality standards make the task of creating good content truly non-trivial.

Surprising the Internet user has become difficult.

Therefore, you should not just throw content to the right and left.

But at the same time, choosing between quality and quantity, you have to choose both.

Creating quality content needs to be put on stream, as you won’t get far with a few articles. Moreover, search engines love consistency and consistency.

Ultimately, your goal is to consistently produce content that meets the following requirements:

Value. Your content should contain something useful and, best of all, unique—something that your audience won’t find anywhere else.

High-quality and large reference mass. Create content that people will share with friends. The more links to your site appear on the Internet, the more trust you inspire in the search engine.

Content is easy to share. When people find great content, they naturally want to share it with their friends. Your task is to make this process as simple as possible – in one click on the button in a prominent place.

Diversity. You should not go for broke and bet solely on the blog. Google, in particular, loves and ranks content in different formats. Post videos, infographics, photos, e-books – anything that will increase the reach and engagement of your audience.

visual row. Your blog posts should be as visually appealing as possible so that people want to read, watch and share them. People love with their eyes, so make sure your content looks pretty.

Optimization. Every piece of your content needs to be optimized for search to maximize your site’s visibility. Use search keys (keywords) and structure your content properly.

There is a call to action. No links, no promotions, no high search rankings will help you if your content does not turn the reader into a customer. Every piece of content you create should help your site visitor go from stranger to client.

Modern startups tend to be innovative by nature. Therefore, it is highly likely that you already have your own unique feature and understanding of the characteristics of your target audience.

While most mature brands are literally struggling to somehow stand out from their peers, you already have an important advantage – you can look at things with a fresh eye. Make the most of it to create amazing, authentic content.

6 step. Optimize existing content

Website optimization for search engines begins with writing the right content: site materials must meet user expectations and the requirements of search robots. Content should help people achieve their goals (ordering a product, downloading a brochure, getting information), and showing robots the information that is most relevant to the topic. Simultaneously meeting the text of these goals is a difficult task, so compromise approaches often have to be found. Therefore, content optimization involves using different styles, changing the structure, etc. Finding the most effective solution can be difficult, since analysis requires that each version of the text be indexed by the search engine.

We suggest that you familiarize yourself with the list of recommendations that will simplify the process of creating text content. In the first block, tips will be considered that are focused on meeting the needs of visitors to the resource. And in the second, we have collected recommendations aimed at search engine optimization of the text of the site. Not directly, but both groups influence each other.

Tips for writing texts that are useful for site visitors

Content should be logical and structured. Several complex and long sentences are best replaced with a capacious, but meaningful phrase. Paragraphs should be semantically related to one another.

Avoid bulky materials. Today, the Internet is a tool for quickly finding accurate answers. Each sentence should encourage reading the next, so you need to get rid of the “water”. There is no exact definition of the optimal amount of text, but statistics show that a rare user reads more than 3000 characters on one web page.

The first sentence should carry a transparent thematic idea. For example, the phrase “Welcome to the site of the company “Father and Son”” does not benefit the visitor. It is easier for him to go to a site next to the issue, where the text begins like this: “Our company has been repairing cars for 5 years.” This sentence accurately describes the specifics of the resource, so the user understands that he has landed on the right site.

From the text it is necessary to exclude grammatical errors, unnatural turns and overspam of keywords. All this is striking, which leads to a decrease in trust in the resource and the business itself.

Although the site address is not text content in the full sense of the term, it is very important to use an understandable encoding to improve the usability of the resource. All pages must have a semantic URL that is understandable to both users and robots. It is especially important considering SEO for SaaS startups.

Search Engine Optimization Tips for Robots:

The logical separation of content parts plays an important role, so you need to properly use the page layout features. To do this, enter the name of the web page (title), title (h1), subheadings (h2 – h5), and also use word selection using them and strong tags.

Keywords from the semantic core must be used in the title and title of the page, and they must also be evenly dispersed throughout the text in direct entry and various phrases, preventing search spam.

The number of keywords should be natural. You can find out the optimal key density by analyzing the texts of competitors in search results – it is important not to exceed this indicator.

The quantity of precise occurrences and individual words from key phrases are particularly important when determining the relevancy of material. The page should contain thematic words in different forms, as well as their synonyms – this allows you to protect the site from sanctions for re-optimizing texts.

In order to create search engine optimized and useful content for people, you first need to prepare two documents. The first is the terms of reference, which is formed by a specialist on the basis of site analytics from the top 10 thematic issuance. The second is a brief for the text, which helps to create good content for the audience to perceive. The prepared brief is completed by the business owner or marketer, because they know best how to properly position the company, how to appeal to users and what the benefits of their business are.

7 step. Build links

The basics of link building are that it is important not only to be able to get external links, it is important to be able to do it as efficiently and economically as possible. Any SEO startup specialist can get you higher in the search results by buying expensive inbound links, but a true professional can do it with a small budget.

One of the main indicators of the link mass is the concept of DR – that is, Domain Rating. The main essence of the DR indicator is the number of links to your site from other resources, in addition, this indicator is supported by a high correlation between sites from the TOP in search results, sites on The first positions generally had a much higher domain ranking compared to the competition.

In addition, the basics of link building can also be closely related to the ability to write content, because getting quality links to your site is impossible without good and useful content. More and more algorithms are being used by search engines to analyze not just connections, but also content. The YMYL algorithm, for example, directly examines the usefulness and credibility of the material on the site.

Increasing natural link mass.

Natural links are links obtained from the name in a natural way, without the use of manipulative methods, the purchase of donors on the stock exchange, and various kinds of SPAM. Such links are very fond of search engines, and most importantly, build up any number of links with natural origin without fear of blocking by Google. In addition, it is very useful for the link mass to have not only organically obtained links, they should also be diverse, that is, obtained from sites of various types. What are the ways to get such links:

Guest posts, that is, publications in various publications and media, where you act as an expert who gives an expert assessment on a particular issue. It is important to leave guest posts only on those sites that you are confident in the reliability of, otherwise, this may cause search engines to be suspicious.

Outreach and expert articles. This strategy is extremely similar to guest posts, with the only distinction being that, in general, outreach is the author’s initiative, whereas authors normally participate in guest posts at the site’s request.

Links in social networks. Although external links to your site from social networks are marked with the noindex tag, they definitely give search engines signals about the popularity of your site, in addition, PS already know how to recognize the emotional coloring of the message, which, under the right conditions, will give your site a significant plus in search results.

Crowd marketing. A great free way to get links is links from various forums and discussion sites, where you can not only dilute your link mass, but also get real customers. However, you should not outsource this, unfortunately, seo specialists often perform such work poorly, guided only by quantitative, but not qualitative indicators.

Advertising and PR. Paid publications in good news resources, with good trust, are a great way to climb in the search results, provided you have enough budget, because large media charge a lot of money for promotional materials.

Various aggregators and submissions. SEO specialists are very fond of such links, because they are obtained very easily and essentially for free. You might need a SEO agency for startups to help you on your way.

8 step. Track and analyze

There are clients who evaluate the success of a start up SEO optimization only by the number of applications they receive. And although all SEO tasks are important for the effective promotion of your site, it is better to divide them into:

those that can increase income,

those that will not let income fall.

SEOs who don’t differentiate between these types of tasks often burn out and fail to appreciate how their work impacts the bottom line.

What usually happens is that specialists just do all the tasks in a row, without thinking about what will bring real conversions, and what will just help the site feel better in the search. Therefore, it is important to prioritize tasks and understand which ones will provide the most value for SEO.

It is also necessary to be able to correctly evaluate the effectiveness of these works and convey this to the client. Many customers may not understand SEO, and if you throw some abstruse metrics at them, then the connection is unlikely to succeed.

One option is to introduce the client to CTR (Click-Through Rate – click through rate) – this is a simple and effective way to prove that SEO promotion is working.

Data Needed to Evaluate CTR Performance

For convenient tracking of CTR, it is better to prepare data in advance that will help us track indicators:

A list of promoted URLs (these can be service pages or informational articles)

keywords related to these pages

This information will become the skeleton of the template and will serve as the basis for future formulas in the spreadsheet.

Also, for informativeness, you need to add the following indicators to the template, which can be taken from Google Search Console for a certain period:

  • number of impressions
  • average position in search results
  • total number of clicks
  • average CTR

The choice of period depends on your goals. You can track CTR every month, quarter, or look at weekly changes. The main thing when comparing pages is to take equal periods of time.

Using the CTR Template

Once all the data is added to the template, using formulas, you can calculate the increase in CTR and predict the growth from the promotion. This is a great way to track effective URLs and keywords that are driving traffic and leads to your business.

However, not every item used in startups SEO can be measured in this way. There are a few tasks that can’t be measured with click-through rates. For example, site loading speed. We know that it will have a positive impact on promotion because it is an important ranking factor, but we cannot specifically calculate how much traffic we can get after improving it.

Therefore, trying to predict traffic using CTR in this task may not be the most efficient way. In these cases, you can evaluate the success of the promotion using the conversion rate (CR).

A study by Portent found that sites that load in 1 second have 3x higher conversion rates than sites that load in 5 seconds. Therefore, it is important to correctly determine what metrics you are going to use to show the client the effectiveness of SEO optimization tasks.

CTR is a reliable metric that SEOs can use to demonstrate the value of their work, especially when using the structured template we discussed above.

9 step. Think outside the box

Analysis and audit of the site being promoted is important in a startup SEO, but no less information can be obtained if these procedures are applied to competitor sites, to sites from the TOP-5 of the relevant results for the query you are interested in. The obtained data on the optimal density of key phrases, on navigation and structure, on usability, on promotion methods and development prospects, it is advisable to apply to your own site. Don’t copy! Create your own, but with a focus on leaders.

This orientation is extremely important here, since sites from the TOP-5 are optimally perceived and positioned by the search engines themselves. Consequently, it is possible and necessary to take an example from them, adopting direct ideas of development.

In the same way, you can explore the pages of your resource – if the site has sections that fall into the TOP of the issue, they can be analyzed to identify factors that ensure success and apply on those pages that have not yet achieved the “location” of search engines.

10 step. Use analytics from the website to solve your business problems

Today, it is difficult to find a developing resource or a top project in SEO, that a technology start up can use without analytics tools in full or in part. And it’s not at all about fashion or the popularity of analytics. In the context of serious changes taking place within the search engines, in the context of the fight against ranking by links, it is extremely difficult to identify those key points through which it is possible to ensure the full and high-quality promotion of the resource.

The old techniques, based only on the purchase of links (often of poor quality), have lost their relevance, and for many, new methods of promotion still remain incomprehensible and uncertain. Without an objective analysis in such conditions, it is almost impossible to achieve the desired promotion result. There is no exact information on how to build a new resource promotion strategy, not fall under the action of filters, and not lose positions in organic search results.

Such analytical work allows you to perform a number of tasks:

  • identify errors and optimization problems;
  • evaluate changes to the site;
  • identify promising ways to develop your site;
  • assess the adequacy of the utilization of financial resources
  • to direct the attention of the optimizer to the primary problems of the resource.

As a consequence, it will aid in evaluating and improving promotion efficacy.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about SEO by business owners

Why Does SEO Take Time to show results?

Because there is no quick shortcut to the top, search engine optimization takes time. Search engine algorithms are becoming more and more advanced with a focus on providing users with the most relevant and high quality results based on their search query.

When SEO started, all it took was adding keywords to a page and getting as many inbound links as possible, but things have changed radically.

And using such a strategy in 2022 will do much more harm than good in the long run.

Will Google Ads (PPC) help my SEO?

Directly – no. Unfortunately, sponsoring Google won’t do you any good in terms of getting better organic positions.

But PPC can be useful in terms of finding new keywords and testing which keywords work best in terms of driving traffic and conversions.

Do 404 errors hurt SEO?

404 errors won’t affect your rankings, but they affect the user experience and spend your crawl budget. If the links point to a page with a 404 error, or if there is a new version of the page, the old page should redirect traffic to it via a 301 redirect.

Why are keywords so important?

Without the right keywords, it will be difficult for you to drive targeted traffic to your site.

Finding the right keywords can be difficult, especially if your business is in a competitive niche. This is why keyword research is so important. Any decent SEO agency will use several tools to identify target keywords, evaluate their competitiveness, and make suggestions on which pages will be easier to promote.

Not all keywords are the same. While a high-frequency key like “books” might seem like a good keyword if you’re selling books, it’s actually going to be very difficult to rank for such a keyword, especially when you’re up against giants like Amazon. “buy a book online” may have a lower search volume, but it’s much more relevant to your business.

Now “buy a book online” would be one of your “money” keywords (search intent is to buy a book), but consider how many other searches users might make, depending on which book they want to buy.

This is where long tail keywords come in. Consisting of a series of keywords, often in the form of a phrase or a question, these keywords can be useful in driving traffic to deeper pages on your site, including FAQ pages or blog posts.

Why invest in SEO?

Over time, you will see how investing in content and SEO helps you build your brand, as its value grows and your business grows with it. And this is no coincidence. Google always rewards sites that are relevant, popular, and trustworthy. It uses your brand’s overall visibility metrics to determine which sites best match those criteria.

Many startups use grayscale schemes to increase the visibility of their site in search. But this is not the best way. And it is unlikely to yield results in the long run.

And remember that SEO promotion is the result of a holistic marketing strategy. As a standalone tactic, it doesn’t work.

Other than that, SEO also takes part in building your brand. Therefore, if you invest time and capital in developing an authoritative brand, while relying on SEO and its components (technical optimization, internal, etc.), you will definitely achieve the desired success.

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