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SEO Strategy and Tactics for Early Stage Businesses and Startups

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This presentation was delivered to startups at Fishburners Brisbane, a community for tech startups located in Brisbane Australia

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SEO Strategy and Tactics for Early Stage Businesses and Startups

  1. 1. SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES by Edmund Pelgen OnlineKickstart.com 1 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  2. 2. SEO is the process of affecting a websites' visibility in search engine's organic search results. 2 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  3. 3. Traffic Channels in Analytics • Organic - Search engine optimisation • Paid - Google Ads, Facebook Ads etc • Social - Facebook, Twitter etc • Direct - people typing in your address and anything else • Referral - Traffic from other websites 3 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  4. 4. 4 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  5. 5. SEO in 6 Steps SEO is not Rocket Science 1. Understand the keywords your market uses to research problems and find solutions 2. Fix broken stuff, optimise pages for keywords, create helpful, unique, quality content/pages 3. Build or attract quality links from relevant sites 4. Track rankings & traffic, do more of what’s working 5. Have a way of converting traffic into customers 6. Amplify your efforts with paid social campaigns 5 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  6. 6. Why is SEO Important for Startups • It can be a key traffic strategy for some startups • Elements of SEO feed into how your brand presents online (How pages appear in search and social, mobile performance etc) • It’s where partners, investors and customers go to find out more • There is overlap between traditional PR/SEO/Content Marketing • The key skills have multiple applications in your startup • SEO is a key element in the Internet Marketing Stack 6 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  7. 7. Internet Marketing Stack • Earned Media (SEO) is attention and exposure you earn by being valuable • The bottom layers are CRITICAL for all digital marketing activities including SEO • https://www.portent.com/mkstack/ • https://www.portent.com/blog/internet- marketing/stack-overview.htm 7 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  8. 8. STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS Consider the following questions when thinking about SEO 8 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  9. 9. Is Organic search a key part of Discovery in your industry?? • Are their big issues or problems people search for regularly (Best Online Accounting Software) • Are there known providers by location people search for (Brisbane Bookkeeping) • Or is it something completely new around which no search volume yet exists (Uber?) If you can target into existing search behaviour then SEO is an option for you. 9 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  10. 10. Do you need traffic/ leads/sales quickly? • Do you need instant runs on the board? • Do you need to test your marketing/ conversion funnel/on boarding processes? If Yes? Then get the SEO fundamentals right (infrastructure, site optimisations, mobile responsiveness) then focus on paid traffic or JV’s to drive traffic. 10 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  11. 11. Is SEO a key part of my competitor’s business strategy? • If SEO is how discovery works in your industry then you have no choice but to play • It’s critical to understand HOW competitors are doing SEO, so you can choose your strategy. • For example, is everyone competing for bottom of funnel keywords but not top of funnel keywords? Is this an opportunity for you? 11 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  12. 12. Do I have the resources to compete effectively? • SEO in competitive spaces is brutal if you are chasing big head terms. • You will need funds for content development & promotion, sponsored link placements and outreach. • A minimum of $1,500 per month for the agencies time + content and sponsored placement fees 12 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  13. 13. Do you and your investors have the patience for SEO? • SEO takes time to deliver results especially in competitive markets. • Can your funding cycle cover the time required for results? • Have you managed investors expectations? 13 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  14. 14. Are you targeting a Global or Local Audience? • This impacts the choice of top level domains and in country domains • Multi country targeting adds complexity such as domain names, content localisation and translation in country specific content and link building • Do you have robust reliable infrastructure & partners 14 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  15. 15. Is Your Brand Unique enough? • “Brand Search” tells Google you are a real business • A name that is similar to generic phrases will get lost in brand search • Can you own more of page 1 by securing your social profiles • This is critical for customers who hear about you and potential investors looking for you 15 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  16. 16. Step by Step Guide Here is a list of “must do’s for Early Stage Businesses to do well in Organic Search 16 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  17. 17. Infrastructure 17 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  18. 18. Leverage WordPress for Front End WordPress streamlines the effort required to get online fast • Blog at domain.com/blog - better for seo (not on a third party platform) • Install Yoast SEO Plugin to optimise your pages https://yoast.com/wordpress/ plugins/seo • Use fast, robust hosting with CDN if market is global • Use installed WordPress, NOT hosted WordPress https://wordpress.org/download/ • Use https for your domain See the team at https://web3.com.au/ 18 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  19. 19. Choose Responsive Design v Mobile Site Mobile is where your audience is • Responsive site presents a single site to Google • Google will be ranking all content on the mobile version of your site. • Test, Test, Test on mobile • Mobile Friendly https://www.google.com.au/ webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ • Mobile Speed https:// testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-au 19 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  20. 20. Focus on Mobile Site Load Speed Important to usability & SEO • Site load speed is a ranking factor • Critical to keeping people around • Use Gtmetrix.com to test site speed • Get your developer to fix speed issues 20 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  21. 21. Make Sure your site is Secure from Hackers • Hacked sites get flagged in organic search • Flagged sites will see massive drops in click throughs and rankings • Minimise plugins & keep WordPress updated • Sign up to Google Search Console to be notified of a hack 21 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  22. 22. Set up & Install Google Analytics Google analytics allows you to make informed decisions about your marketing activities • Set up Google Analytics • Set up at least one goal • Install the code on your website www.google.com.au/analytics/ Beginners Guide http://bit.ly/1vn9Ye4 22 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  23. 23. Sign up to Google Search Console Search Console allows you to monitor the health and performance of your site in Google • See how many pages are in Google • See if there are any issues with the site • See keywords that generate impressions and clicks www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ 23 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  24. 24. Add Google Remarking Code & Facebook Pixel This will allow you to use paid advertising to reach out to people who found your content via organic search and then pull them through the marketing funnel. • Add code to your site • Create website custom audiences in Facebook https://www.jonloomer.com/2016/11/18/ facebook-remarketing/ http://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to- adwords-remarketing/ 24 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  25. 25. Website Optimisation 25 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  26. 26. Research Your Keywords • Use Semrush.com to high high volume, high relevance keywords • Understand the keyword hierarchy • Search for problem/solution keywords • Find keywords for all stages of the buyer journey 26 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  27. 27. Research Competitor Keywords • Put your top 10 competitors URL’s into Semrush.com • Take note of keywords driving most of their traffic - Ignore non traffic keywords • Add the keywords to your consideration set 27 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  28. 28. Understand the Keyword Hierarchy • Keyword volumes decrease the deeper you go • Specificity increases the deeper you go • Likelihood of conversion increases the deeper you go • Optimise your site correctly to target the right keywords 28 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  29. 29. Optimise Your Home Page for Brand + Headline Keyword Example: Xero.com.au 29 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  30. 30. Optimise Your blog posts for TOFU Keywords Example: 2017 income tax brackets 30 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  31. 31. Website Content31 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  32. 32. Understanding the Customer is Critical • All customers go on a journey before buying your product • Keywords tell you “where” they are in the funnel • Understanding the needs, wants, desires, pain of the customer helps with keyword and content selection • Buyer personas 32 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  33. 33. Have Content at Each Stage • Awareness - Educational, Viral, Guides, Videos, Problem & Solutions • Consideration - Solutions to use case - Case studies, demos using your product, How to's, • Conversion - Testimonials, Reviews, Trials, Webinars, Challenges • Retention - Help documentation, on boarding content, emails A great example https://www.drip.co/blog/ 33 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  34. 34. Make Each Page a High Performing Page • Make your copy focus on the target customer • Make sure on page copy is comprehensive and unique and is not replicated elsewhere • Make sure you have proper calls to action • Make sure each key page has a custom page title and meta description 34 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  35. 35. Answer Every Single Question as a Blog Post • Compile a list of all questions ever asked about your product or service • Write a blog post answering that question and publish it on the site • One page per answer • Can use video or audio but make sure you transcribe the copy into the page use trint.com • Check the search volume with Semrush.com 35 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  36. 36. Use Answerthepublic.com to find more questions 36 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  37. 37. Find Competitors High Performing Content with SEMRush.com • Put competitor Url in SEMrush.com • Click on Organic Research > Pages • Look for blog posts or resources generating a high % of traffic and large # of keywords - make sure they are non brand terms • Write a bigger, better version and then promote it 37 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  38. 38. Newsjack Current Affairs by Commenting on Industry News • Follow the news sites or topical blogs that publish stories relevant to your potential customers • Write a short insightful commentary with the key points and your perspective • Publish the post to your site providing source attribution to the original source • Share it on social media and boost it on Facebook • Notice what stories your audience likes and engages with and publish more of those https://www.onlinekickstart.com/curated-news-case- study/ 38 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  39. 39. Document Your Story/ Journey on your Blog • People love to follow along the Hero’s Journey • Focus your story on what you do, what you offer how you are different • Link out to and ping on social media other founders, startup media,Journalists (if it makes sense) • Publish on your blog and on sites like Medium http://fortune.com/2015/02/09/founders-story/ https://generalassemb.ly/blog/10-startup- founder-blogs-every-entrepreneur-should- read/ 39 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  40. 40. Link Building PR & Outreach 40 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  41. 41. Secure your Brand with Knowem.com • Complete full business profiles on main platforms • Make sure you have a link back to your site • Where relevant & possible include keyword with your brand “Xero Accounting Software” 41 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  42. 42. Submit yourself to all Startup Directories • Make sure you include your website address • Ensure consistency of name, address & phone number • Look for general startup directories “top startup directories” • Look for Local startup directories “Brisbane startup directories” • Look for Niche startup directories “Saas startup directories” 42 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  43. 43. Submit yourself to Quality Local Directories • Make sure you include your website address • Ensure consistency of name, address & phone number • Use other SEO’s lists of directories “top Australian business directories” • Look for location specific directories “top Brisbane directories” 43 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  44. 44. Find Industry Publications you can Guest Post for • Use advanced search operators • Keyword + intitle:“write for us” • Keyword + intitle:“contribute to” • Keyword + intitle:“submit” + inurl:blog • Analyse content, write a blog post and submit • TIP: Ask for their advertising rates and whether they allow sponsored posts. This will allow you to pay for placement 44 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  45. 45. Become an Industry Source • Sign up as a source at HARO https:// www.helpareporter.com/sources/ • Sign up as a source at Source bottle http://www.sourcebottle.com/ subscribe.asp • Check the daily media requests and where relevant provide your content/ insight 45 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  46. 46. Scale Outreach with Mailshake • Pitch bloggers for trials • Pitch bloggers for reviews • Pitch bloggers for joint promotions • Pitch bloggers for sponsored posts • Use Mailshake to do this at scale 46 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  47. 47. Steal Competitor Links • Use ahrefs.com or majestic.com and analyse your top 5 competitors backlink profiles • Find out who is linking to your competitors and why • Go get those links or replicate the content they are linking to 47 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  48. 48. Working with Agencies 48 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  49. 49. 49 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  50. 50. Insights when Working with Agencies • Like everything - there are good and bad agencies • Most of them outsource link building to third parties using Private Blog Networks (PBN’s) • You will be paying at least $125 per hour for labour they will outsource at $30 per hour • Use specialist agencies where possible - Most generalists aren’t necessarily good at everything • Stay away from general marketing agencies for whom SEO is just an add on • Foundational & technical SEO setup is a one off activity and can be done in less than a quarter - Avoid open ended engagements unless you know exactly what you are paying for 50 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES
  51. 51. Contact Me 1. Edmund Pelgen 2. OnlineKickstart.com 3. edmund@onlinekickstart or 0409 517 533 51 SEO STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES

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