Home » SEO Services for Startups: How to Gain Traction

SEO Services for Startups: How to Gain Traction

by Elaina

Implementing SEO practices has become essential in developing websites. Optimizing search engine results allows for higher visibility and increased web traffic. The term SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” that is the process of editing and organizing the content on a webpage to increase chances of a favorable result. There are various techniques used to accomplish an SEO worthy webpage that include basic editing of content, HTML and its associated coding, and restructuring the site’s layout. Another trick is to increase the relevance of specific keywords, which in turn moves the site higher up in the search engine results. Sotovento Medios is an emerging company that offers an array of services to promote web visibility, their expert knowledge in their field has made them a valuable name in the corporate sector.

What are SEO services?

Search engine optimization or SEO refers to a process of making a website more visible and accessible to search engines. SEO services are available from a wide variety of sources and may be provided free of charge or as a paid service. The most basic forms of SEO services involve posting content on internet forums and in chat rooms. This is a great way to reach potential customers and promote your company’s website. An experienced SEO provider will be able to determine the most efficient forum/chat rooms to engage potential customers and avoid spammers or marketing campaigns by competitors. As a company, it is best to find an SEO provider that is willing to work with you at a personal level. Some companies feel that SEO is a process of making a website more search engine friendly. At Sotavento Medios, we understand that the goals of each individual company will differ and we strive to understand those differences and develop an SEO strategy that is most effective for the company. Any SEO strategies developed should be communicated effectively and Sotavento Medios will provide detailed updates and reports on a regular basis.

Importance of SEO services for startups

SEO services are extremely important for startups. When you are launching a new product or service, it’s vital that you hit the ground running. This is because your objective as a startup is to make a quick impact and capture a portion of the market share before others have the chance to do so. If you’re new to the business world, you’re likely not aware of the techniques to get your website in front of potential customers. This is where we can help. With our SEO services for startups, we can tailor a package to suit your needs, focusing on a particular area of your business or a particular product. You won’t have to fork out large sums of money on a marketing campaign. Instead, you’d be investing in something that has longer-term benefits for a fraction of the cost. We understand that startups are often working with a limited budget but can also appreciate the importance of SEO. This is why we’re happy to create a package for even the smallest of businesses.

Overview of Sotavento Medios

Sotavento Medios is a new media company that focuses on developing online marketing strategies to create awareness for a wide range of products, services, and causes. Sotavento is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is owned by three partners. Two of the three partners are also working as a team of IT consultants for a major multinational company, so the IT component for the media strategies is present. The third partner is a communication science student and professional independent journalist. Sotavento Medios was born as a university project for a strategies management class, and it was presented in its first form at local SloppyRadio. This was a simple project that combined an online radio station and an e-magazine to reach a niche group of consumers. Now that the partners have graduated, they wish to continue developing this project into a successful business. Sotavento Medios is a small company aiming to help other small companies develop their media image so that their products, services, and causes are extensively known on a global level. They plan to achieve this by providing customers with cost-efficient and effective techniques to create a long-lasting public image.

Choosing the Right SEO Services

Once you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to find a reputable SEO company. While there are hundreds of SEO companies out there that can help you, many of them will simply add on to your frustration with SEO. The best place to start your search is to ask colleagues which companies they have used with positive results and of course which companies did they not have success with. Once you have a list of companies to look into, create a plan to research and compare them. Your first course of action should be to look up testimonies on the company as well as dig into case studies to identify companies that have had similar goals and compare the results that were achieved. This will provide a clear indication of what you can expect in terms of results. Once you have completed this, it is important to delve into the company’s methodology. Ask for a detailed explanation of what they will be doing to improve your search engine rankings and make sure you understand the taxonomy of the services in comparison. Be wary of companies that are evasive about their tactics, which can result in an inefficient use of your money with potential blackballing of your domain. It is also important to identify if you will have dedicated access to an SEO team, as well as a clear understanding of reporting and communication process. All these factors combined will give you a detailed understanding of whether or not a company is a right fit for you.

First and foremost, before you begin looking around for SEO services, it’s important to figure out what you need help with. Are you looking for someone to write meta descriptions and optimize your website? Or are you looking into having someone identify qualified leads for your sales team? Although your desires may change as your company evolves, figuring out what you need from an SEO service provider up front will help you weed out unqualified candidates. Now even if you’re not sure exactly what you need, it’s important to have a broad sense of what you’re looking to accomplish. Do you need help increasing leads, generating brand awareness, or improving sales? What does success look like for you? If you can quantify your desires, an SEO agency will be able to provide a clearer picture of how they can help.

Understanding your startup’s goals

Understanding your startup’s goals once you know what you want to achieve, you’ll be better placed to choose an SEO service that can deliver the results you want. For startups, it’s common to have a website launch before the product is ready. If this is the case, and the website isn’t going to be the main driver of growth, your goal is to at least have potential customers find out about the problem that your product is solving. In this case, SEO can be a cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience. During the early stages, it’s also common to find that goals are quite elastic as startups are constantly iterating on their product or even trying different things to see what works. SEO is a longer-term strategy, so if you’re looking for immediate results that may be an indication that PPC would be a better fit. If you have a rough idea of where you want to go, and have identified that certain keywords or phrases getting X amount of search volume per month would be very valuable to your business, you may have content-based goals. This could involve creating large amounts of new content targeting those keywords in hopes of drawing organic search traffic, or it may involve optimizing existing content to rank better. If you are a developer with a great understanding of technical SEO, you may have a goal to train your marketing team in basic SEO techniques so you’re looking for a service to consult you on strategy and provide occasional advice. All of these are examples of how SEO can fit into the wider marketing strategy for a startup, and the level of commitment and type of service required can vary drastically. Starting out on the right foot by aligning your goals with the level of service that is required to achieve them will save time and money in the long run.

Researching and comparing SEO service providers

It is important to spend time researching and comparing different SEO service providers because this will help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each one. It will also enable you to do a like for like comparison of SEO services from each provider. We would recommend taking a look at the following data on each SEO service provider and recording this in a table. The key here is to make sure that you have actually looked around for information on the provider, and not just rely on the information given to you by the salesperson. Some of the data that you should look at includes: – Company information – When was the company founded? Who are the people behind the company? What is their history? – Track Record – Do they have any major successes? This could be proved by case studies or client testimonials. – Methodology – What methodology do they employ to attempt to improve your search engine rankings? You should look to see if they are at all shady or are they using strategies which could actually get your website penalized by the search engines. Do they offer a clear strategy on how they will attempt to increase your search engine rankings? Long term, will this method actually help to build and maintain your position on the search engines? – Price – Can you realistically afford to hire them to attempt to increase your search engine rankings? Compare both overall costs and price comparisons between each SEO service provider. Any SEO service provider would be able to offer a more detailed rundown of what they can do and how it will help your website in the above stated period of time on your campaign. – After compiling all of this data on your SEO service providers, you will be in a position to make an informed decision on which services are the best value for money.

Evaluating the expertise of Sotavento Medios

Search marketing often brings traffic; however, it is traffic with lower conversion rates as users are looking for quick answers and may not necessarily want to be sold a specific product. The traffic was not specifically tracked in the analytics stage, and it would be fair to say that Sotavento does not know the exact impact of the search marketing on traffic. This is because soon after they ceased search marketing and hoped to rely on media relations to bring traffic to the site. At this stage, the optimization was near completion with many of the site’s pages now being indexed.

Sotavento Medios appears to pride themselves with their expertise in implementing digital campaigns and media relations. They appear to have good relationships with journalists and have connections to distribute press releases, but this could be due to their public relations services, as it did not seem like they had much expertise in search engine marketing and optimization. This sidelined the campaign to not be a main priority and seemed to have disjointed tactics. Their strategy was to first implement some search marketing tactics before the optimization stage, as they noted that many of their site’s pages were not yet indexed by the search engines. The goal here was to increase traffic to the site, and this was achieved with some success. A mixture of search marketing and media relations was effective in generating traffic; however, it was not the targeted traffic that was required.

Implementing SEO Strategies for Startups

Once you have defined the keywords you want to target, it’s time to get to work on on-site optimization. This involves making changes to the website in order to make it more search engine friendly. One of the most important considerations here is the way keywords are placed within the title, URL, and body text of the page. A well-optimized page will have a good keyword density (3-5%), and will have the keywords placed towards the beginning of the title, URL, and content. It is important to make these changes while ensuring the content is still easy to read, as user experience is still a critical factor.

The first step in establishing a search presence is to decide what you want to rank for. This usually involves defining the key product/service that the business offers. From here, you can begin to build a comprehensive keyword strategy. Keyword research is the process of finding out what keywords potential customers are using to search for your services. The main goal is to find the right balance between a keyword that has search volume and a keyword that is realistic to rank for. It’s generally tough for startups to rank highly for broad terms such as “car insurance” or “digital camera,” etc. These terms may well be lucrative, but realistically, you will be competing with well-established businesses, and in the early stages, it is best to target a smaller niche. A good method is to consult the Google AdWords keyword tool, entering the key terms, and looking for related terms with lesser competition. This is a good approach to initially drive traffic while still working towards ranking for the more lucrative terms.

Individuals and businesses in the startup phase are often overwhelmed by the many different aspects and areas of SEO they could focus on. Although it’s important to build a well-rounded understanding of the underlying principles, your initial goal should be to put tactics into place to start building traffic and establishing a search presence. This is the first critical step for newly established websites (and it’s a step that should not be skipped).

Conducting keyword research

This is among the first and key step in implementing SEO for your website. As already said, the right set of keywords can open the doors for a load of traffic. Conversely, the wrong set of keywords may lead to a situation where you get to drive in a lot of traffic, but it’s not what you were looking for! Imagine the overload it would cause on your server and you only get Yelp! So, to get things right, make a list of words you ‘think’ are the right ones for your website. Now, log on to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and check each one of those words. The tool will display a list of related keywords and some stats. Here you can understand which keywords have lower competition. Higher competition may prove quite costly with PPC. But this doesn’t mean you omit higher comp keywords. It’s always a mix of high and low competition keywords. Now check for global monthly search volume, and if your website is targeted globally, this is the right choice. If it’s country-specific, then check for local monthly search volume. Also, do check the CPC (Cost per Click). Higher cost may again be quite costly with PPC. This way you can choose the right set of keywords for your website. Now note that Adsense publishers may use a higher number of high CPC keywords as opposed to non-Adsense users.

Now, for an effective implementation of SEO aspects in achieving high website rank, you need to select a mix of various keywords. A mix would include keywords that define your website and the service in the best possible way. This also involves predictive keywords, varying from high, medium to low search volume. You can always change the keywords, but the later you do it, the more costly it gets. The best way is to get it right in the first attempt. So let’s go over some effective techniques to conduct keyword research:

On-page optimization techniques

The text in between these tags is visible at the top of a browser window and it is displayed as a page name in Google’s search engine results. The title meta-tag is believed to be one of the most important on-page factors for a top search engine ranking. Provide a unique, keyword-specific title for every page of your website. The title should be between 10-70 characters in length; Google will only display the first 66 or so characters. Try to include the keyword for which the page is being targeted at the start of the title. Avoid using the company name or brand in the title. Always make sure that each individual page title is unique because search engines consider duplicated titles as spam. Despite its importance, often it is observed that webmasters do not give much attention to this tag, but really speaking, this tag can prove to be a game-changer. Always check your title in Google with the “site:” operator to ensure that your page is being indexed with the correct title.

The main objective of on-page optimization is to customize the on-page elements of a website, in order to give a top relevancy signal to the search engines for particular keywords. The plain truth in today’s world is that if you think that you can get your page on the top of SERPs without employing on-page optimization, you are just living in the fool’s paradise. Google’s search engine algorithm is so complicated that there is no way it can judge the relevancy of your page for the targeted keyword unless you tell it explicitly. Google has to add your page to its database index against a particular keyword and show it as a result in the search engine results when the same keyword is searched by a surfer. On-page optimization at least gives Google a fair chance of knowing that your page is highly relevant to a particular keyword and that it should be displayed in the search engine results. In a nutshell, without on-page optimization, you just can’t rank that first-page result. So if your aim is to only see your website link on the first page of the search engine results, it will turn out to be a colossal waste of resources and time if you miss out on on-page optimization. Now, if you are still reading this, it means that you do believe in the advantages of on-page optimization. And if you are a startup, you are in with quite a big luck because on-page optimization is relatively very cheap and quick to deploy, but it does require a little bit of research and analysis. Now, I will detail the various aspects of on-page optimization:

Building high-quality backlinks

In order to build quality backlinks, it often involves having to do some outreach to other websites. This will usually involve having to create some sort of content, whether it be an article or infographic. This can be time-consuming but if your content is of high quality, then the backlinks will follow. An effective method is doing a competitor analysis and seeing where your competitors are getting their backlinks from. Oftentimes, the same websites will be willing to link to other related websites. Another method is guest posting at other blogs and websites. If the content is good enough, you may be able to develop a long-term content collaboration.

How Google’s search for relevance and quality of its search results with its algorithm updates has made link building more difficult, and the SEO industry more professional. Despite this, links are still the most crucial factor when it comes to where a website ranks. Quantity is important in the sense that the more high quality backlinks your website has, the more likely it is that your website will be found and clicked on. However, quality is a lot more important and a single high quality backlink can be more effective than 50 low quality ones.

Link-building is one of the most vital tactics for effective SEO. It’s also one of the most difficult. Backlinks are where another website has a hyperlink that connects to your website. Quality is paramount with this strategy. Low quality, spammy, non-relevant backlinks will not help and can actually damage your website’s rankings. It may be tempting to use black hat tactics in order to get backlinks, but we assure you that sticking with doing it the proper way is worth it.

Utilizing local SEO strategies

Lastly, your business should take every opportunity possible to build credibility as a local resource. Try to build relationships with local news publications, charities, or other businesses that can result in co-promotional opportunities. This can take the form of writing a piece about your business’s involvement in a local event for a local newspaper or trading special offers with another local business that you can post on your website. Any of these methods can result in free publicity, and if you manage to get your business or product mentioned on another local organization’s website, this can result in a high-quality backlink and loads of referral traffic.

Next, you should make use of local business schema. If your startup is selling a product or a service, you should mark up your pages with schema to help search engines provide more informative results to users. You can use the data highlighter tool in Google Webmaster Tools to markup data without having to change the code on your pages. For local businesses or businesses with a regional target, this can be taken a step further to markup specific data about the region you are targeting. This will help search engines identify more detailed information about your business and region, which can improve relevancy for local searches.

The first of these is geotargeting content to a local audience. Use tools on your web hosting account to see where your traffic is coming from. If your startup is already receiving a good amount of traffic from local users, this is a good sign and you can start making your content more relevant to your audience. Make sure to include the region you are targeting in page titles, meta descriptions, and headings. This is a simple and quick change that can have a big impact. A pet shelter in Austin, TX shouldn’t be targeting people searching for “pet shelters”; it should be trying to rank for “pet shelters in Austin”.

Measuring Success and Continuous Improvement

Before a startup first examines its SEO performance metrics, it should take the time to identify critical success factors for its business. These are the factors that must be successful for the business to succeed. For each of these critical success factors, determine if there are corresponding success factors for its online business and website. For example, a software startup might have a critical success factor of establishing credibility in its field. A corresponding online success factor might be to effectively communicate the company’s expertise in its field to its website visitors. It would then be a success if the website visitors take notice of the information, and it can be measured by an increase in the visitors clicking deeper into the website to learn more about the company, and an increase in the visitors viewing the “about us” page. Success factors and corresponding metrics will vary by business and website.

SEO performance metrics are statistics that measure the impact and success of SEO efforts. It’s important to be looking at these metrics to see if the SEO is having a positive impact on your business, and to identify areas where the SEO can be improved. There are a nearly infinite number of SEO performance metrics due to the tremendous amount of data available on the internet, but pulling out a few relevant and insightful metrics is an art unto itself.

A less subjective measure is your website’s ranking in the search results for your targeted keywords. For each of your keywords, you should have a corresponding landing page on your website. Choose one primary keyword for each page, and a small group of related secondary keywords. Then, monitor your website’s ranking with a tool such as the Search Ranking Plugin for each of the keywords. Generally, if the SEO for a particular keyword is effective, the ranking for the corresponding page will steadily improve until it is near the top of the search results, after which it will maintain its position with only occasional adjustments. If a page’s ranking does not improve, then the optimization for that keyword has been a failure, and it’s time to re-evaluate and make changes to the on-page optimization and the backlinks.

The most direct way to measure the success of your SEO efforts is to track your website traffic and your ranking in the search results. Traffic to your website can be easily measured by tracking the number of visitors with a program such as Google Analytics. You will want to pay particular attention to traffic coming from organic search results. Increasing traffic from what you were getting before the SEO efforts started is a clear indication that your SEO is moving forward.

By now you should be seeing some results in your SEO efforts, and you’ll want to be measuring them. After all, you really can’t know if your SEO efforts are paying off unless you track the data. Although each startup’s SEO strategy will vary greatly depending upon the individual startup, its goals, and its target market, I’ll provide a fairly universal way to measure how effective your SEO efforts are.

Tracking website traffic and rankings

Traffic: As stated previously, traffic is the amount of internet users and visits your site receives. This can be measured using simple counters in the very basic forms. To advance to a more accurate, in-depth analysis there are a few options to consider. The first is buying a traffic analysis tool off a specialty website, some of these are very detailed and give accurate reports for a monthly fee. The other option is to use a data-driven tool such as Google Analytics. This is a free tool that analyzes traffic by inserting a code into the pages of your site, it provides a user-friendly interface with a wide range of functions and detailed analysis.

Traffic and ranking are two of the most crucial measures when it comes to the success of an online business. Tracking progress and cause and effect is a great way to keep looking forward towards improvement.

Analyzing SEO performance metrics

It’s important to analyze the correlation between an increase in keyword rankings and an increase in search traffic. You may find that an increase in ranking for a specific keyword has no effect on the amount of traffic your site receives from that keyword. In this case, it may be worth putting more effort into targeting a different keyword.

Keyword performance fluctuates and reshuffling occurs amongst high traffic keywords. The aim is obviously to attain the number one rank spot. It’s important to constantly monitor the ranking of your best performing keywords and to act immediately if a drop in ranking occurs. This can all be done by the Rank Tracker feature in Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker tool.

Monitor the changes in traffic and ranking on a weekly basis. Initially, changes will be slow to materialize due to the sandboxing of new content. Although Google Webmaster Central and various analysis tools will provide you with an estimate on where your page ranks for a specific keyword, it’s good practice to check this manually. Simply search the keyword in question and scan through results to find your listing.

Regularly check the performance of all tracked keywords in the search engines you are targeting. Bear in mind that different countries and search engines will produce varied results.

This is the heartbeat of your SEO campaign and what differentiates search from all other marketing channels. Since we’ve already addressed the key terms to target and focusing on high quality content, we can now delve deeper into understanding the performance of individual keywords.

Making data-driven adjustments for better results

Eliminating all of the guesswork involved with tweaking organic search campaigns, data-driven decision making is implemented through well-dissected information sources, rather than gut instinct. This allows for a completely different approach in comparing creative assets, and in turn can help you decide how to implement changes that are more closely associated with targeted keywords and phrases. With all of the different online channels available, today’s consumers are bouncing from one medium to the next in search of the best information or entertainment. This is where most SEO campaigns fall short. They fail to realize that an adjustment of heading tags or slight rewording of Meta descriptions will have little impact if what’s written in their targeted content doesn’t match the same keyword. By using data collected from PPC and making budget-conscious decisions, SEOs can now pinpoint the exact ROI of changing a message within targeted content on a specific keyword phrase. An additional benefit here is being able to test the waters with multiple keyword phrase variations by using PPC without jeopardizing organic search efforts. This ad testing can also be done within specific geographic regions and media that new content is unable to target with back-end SEO. Data collected here can provide beneficial insight on best methods to approach universal content changes.

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