Startups are already under a lot of pressure, more so Bootstrap startups, from meeting deadlines to having a steady cash flow so as to not go bankrupt and shut down entirely. So while they are busy focusing on that, the marketing and traffic aspects of it take a backseat. What seems like something that can be handled last-minute requires a lot of time and effort as well.
When you are bootstrapped, you know you can’t depend on external sources for funding. That means you already have budget constraints, to top that with investing in SEO or even marketing, in general, seems to be a colossal waste of time and money and not to forget the effort.
Every time a startup erupts, it’s either of the following two-
- The product or the service is completely new where people are less likely to know about it forget search about it. For example, salt water purifier.
- The product or the service is a slant on an existing product or service. For example, gift cards being the added product to the coupons that help you save on everything.
It’s always either of the two, like upselling and cross selling. Either way, they require a solid SEO plan to go about their marketing.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a tricky business, you never know how you are going to fare at it. The best you can do is follow all the SEO protocols, the tried and tested methods and hope for the best.
One of the main reasons why you or anyone should opt for SEO is the fact that it organically brings the prospective leads to your virtual doorstep. How do you know they are interested? They are searching for it. So it is absolutely essential that you have your SEO in the right place. And the right audience will come to your virtual doorstep. These prospective leads have higher chances of converting.
With SEO, you can get a more targeted audience to your website in an organic manner i.e no referrals, no redirections. Good ol’ people searching for something and your website appearing in the search results. We all have Googled a lot of things over the years. But have you wondered how are those search results are put in that exact order?
For SEO alone there are 43,40,00,000 results. So going by 10 results per page there are 430,40,00,000 results(Read: Pages) ranking for that particular term. The search volume according to the keyword research is 110K.
So what is your page providing to the audience in terms of value when they search for the terms you are trying to rank for?
- Is it answering their query?
- Is it helping them out in any way?
- Are you and your target audience on the same page?
- Can the audience easily find what they are looking for?
Whether you are a startup or an MNC, SEO is the same for everyone. Google picks up on the value and how well you are optimizing the protocols. While it is true that more the number of backlinks, more the chances of making its place on the search engine, it is even more important that these backlinks are from quality websites. Google has strict policies against low-quality links. Wouldn’t you prefer getting links on websites that have a higher DA or a PA, than a low DA website? Elaborating on these, there are two kinds of practices that happen when we talk about SEO-
- Black Hat SEO Practices
- White Hat SEO Practices
The Black Hat Anti-Heros
There are certain SEO rules laid by the respective search engines, so websites that do not adhere to these set rules can fall under the radar. Though the consequences can be far worse, to begin with, you can be de-indexed and your page can be banned from the search engine, meaning it won’t show up in the search results.
Some of the examples of Black Hat SEO Practices are-
Keyword Stuffing, Link Farming, Hidden Texts And Links, Duplicate Content, Cloaking And Blog Content Spamming.
Whether it is keyword stuffing, where they stuff more keywords than required hoping to rank on the search engine or link farming where a group of websites link back to each other again in the hopes of a better search engine rank are both basic Black Hat SEO techniques, Cloaking, on the other hand, interferes with the Search Engine Spider. Basically what happens in cloaking is two different contents are presented – one to the search engine spiders that are crawling the page to rank them and the other to the users that are searching for something of value to them.
The White Hat Heroes
White Hat SEO Practices are the search engine approved tips and techniques that companies inculcate in their marketing that are completely ethical and following which won’t land them in trouble or penalties. One of the best ways to start is with writing content that the user is looking for.
Some of the examples of White Hat SEO Practices are-
Using the right amount of keywords, keyword research, relevant meta tags, backlinks & link building.
Keyword research is a comprehensive study of relevant keywords that you are targeting for, the related keywords that can be used along with it, analyzing the competitor’s keywords. It is essential that you keep updating your content as and when required as people look for timely content. With the introduction of the new Organic Research Beta version, that will help you with comprehensive analysis, the keyword research niche has really upped its game.
Another White Hat SEO Practice to focus on is the Meta Description. After reading the main title, users are going to read the meta description that appears right under it and decide whether it is worth it or no to open the link or not. So it is definitely a major deciding factor.
What should your SEO strategy be based on?
There are so many aspects one should take into consideration while making their SEO plan.
- Know what your target audience and align your web content based on the user interests.
- Have a thorough keyword analysis of every keyword you are targeting.
- Segregate your keywords accordingly, if the search volume of the said keywords is high, use it for the home page or the product page. And for the subpages use a relatively lower searched keyword that can still be targeted.
- Make sure you don’t spam keywords or content or links. If you fall under the radar, you’ll be penalized.
A word of advice, while Google is the goto search engine, there are a lot of other search engines that are still prevalent and are being used by people, search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Ask, DuckDuckGo, AOL among others. Make sure your website is friendly for all the search engines. It doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile.
While you are bootstrapped and are thinking of how to efficiently use the funds you have for all the other reasons but SEO, but you are forgetting the fact that Google or any other search engine doesn’t take in account whether you are a startup or an established company, for it’s always value over everything. So if you see it that way, it’s a rat race and you don’t want to be left behind just because you didn’t find it important to invest in it. Follow the white hat SEO practices and the organic traffic will follow.