SEO For Entrepreneurs & Start-Ups: Win Tickets to New York SEO Event!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines like Google or Bing. In basic terms, the higher your site appears in the search engine results for a broad number of search phrases, the more visitors you will receive from the search engine's users.
Companies can pay for advertising on search engines (also known as 'paid per click' advertising or PPC). However, as with traditional advertising this requires significant spend for top results and the sponsored ads still only tend to get about 10 percent of the total number of clicks, leaving the other 90 percent available to what are known as 'organic listings' (the non-paid results).So how can startups use SEO to maximise their share of this available traffic?
The NextWomen spoke with Caitlin Krumdieck from Distilled, an International Search consultancy, to find out how entrepreneurs can make SEO work for them.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about why SMEs turn to search marketing experts?
Today you absolutely need a strong presence on the internet, so you can be easily found by the right people.
Many start-ups look at search marketing as the ideal medium for their marketing, as you can achieve a lot with a limited budget, if you have the right strategy and are happy to put in the time and effort to get results.
This is a great fit for the ‘can do’ attitude of a lot of SMEs. While a traditional advertising campaign might cost well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars (not including television), digital campaigns are more about effort and discovering the right solution for your brand. It’s not about the most expensive campaign, its about the smartest, which is something most SMEs really relate to.
Q: Do you get asked similar questions by entrepreneurs and SME owners when you first speak to them?
Usually. All of our clients are interested in knowing about costs, but there is more of a focus on the value of the work achieved and how we can work together to get great results. Entrepreneurs and SMEs are great as they are both usually focused on the long term and working together to achieve lasting results. They want to build something awesome.
Q: What's the best way a new business can take advantage of SEO without spending a lot?
Its really important for new businesses to prepare themselves by being as knowledgeable as possible so they understand exactly what the right approach is for their business, learning where they can do it themselves and where they need help. There is a lot of misinformation out there and companies that will take advantage of a general lack of knowledge about search; the more you know the more you can ensure you are spending your budget in the most effective way.
I would suggest that all business get some SEO training or at least invest some time in their own personal development. There is lots of fantastic information online about search marketing.
One of the best places to begin would be the SEOMOZ beginners guide to SEO. It’s easily understandable for someone with little or no knowledge of SEO and best of all it’s free!
Q: Can you really learn everything you need to know about SEO from the internet?
Realistically? No. Self training can get you to a certain point, but if you are in a competitive niche it may be essential to get some strategy recommendations at the very least to ensure that you don’t waste a lot of time and effort going down the wrong path. Search is very competitive and its worth having some expert insights. However you may not always need an external agency working on your SEO full time. We speak with a large number of start-ups that are keen to grow their own in-house team and are looking for training so they can continue to grow internally. Another option is to attend Search Conferences or meetups where you have access to a number of professionals at the top of their game. You’ll get the latest advice, and hopefully get the chance to bend the ear of a few industry experts. Distilled run a few expert conferences that are very popular with savvy start-ups.
In fact, we are currently running a competition specifically for start-ups to win tickets to our SEO conference in New York.
Q: What are some common mistakes that new business owners make and how can these be avoided?
They often frustrate themselves by setting unrealistic goals for SEO or think they can get it done cheaply. Search marketing is organic and you need to invest the time and effort to see results. When launching a new website, SMEs and entrepreneurs face challenges because they often do not have an established brand and are competing against very large sites that have history and have been doing SEO for a long time. However, where start-ups have the advantage is the fact that they are building something new and can learn from the previous mistakes made by older larger companies.
Start ups are often much more agile than larger brands and can take SEO recommendations on board quickly and actually make things happen.
Q: If you could give 3 actionable tips for entrepreneurs what would they be?
1. Start SEO in the Concept Phase, Not After the Site is Built
It's hard to do but SEO works best when it's integrated into a business marketing plan A lot of current search recommendations include making sites more user friendly, searchable, and with better landing pages; so by incorporating search into your planning stages you are not only starting to think about a source of traffic, you are also working to make a better website for your business.
I think VCs and angel investors should be asking about SEO in the first meeting – start-ups and their founders should be three steps ahead of that!
2. Think of SEO as an evolving process, not a one-time event
Search Marketing is a constantly evolving field, and not only because Google's algorithm is changing all the time. At the same time as you’re working on your site, 300 (or 3,000) competitors will be constantly trying to produce better content and market it more effectively. SEO is marketing, and as such demands the same attention and dedication to maintenance. There are no short cuts or a magic SEO button, you need to be ready to make a solid a lasting investment if you want to see long term growth.
3. Remember that SEO just gets you traffic
There is no point getting a huge amount of traffic to your website if that traffic doesnt convert to a sale.
Think about why people would actually want end up at your website. Are you the right answer to their Search Qurery? Distilled refer to this as deserving to rank. Make sure your search strategy is actually strategic and that you are targeting the right terms for your business so that you reach your target market and ensure you provide a valuable solution when they arrive. If you are a fashion site you want to make sure that someone looking in Google for pleated skirts gets to a page with pleated skirts on it, not your home page. Being the right answer to someone’s search should always be your goal as a business owner.
If you fancy attending Distilled’s SearchLove Conference in New York on 31st Oct – 1st Nov, there are some free tickets (valued at $2198) up for grabs. All you have to do is tell Distilled how your SEO campaigns have produced amazing results. This is a great opportunity for a start-up to get some valuable advanced SEO training. You can enter the competition via the Distilled blog.
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