Search engine optimization often is an Achilles heel for startups with a tight budget. For small businesses, online marketing is one of the best ways to grow to beat the competition. Problem is online marketing is resource intensive and often require a large budget. SEO is a sophisticated process and it can be expensive as well.
Things get further complicated with Google introducing search algorithm updates every now and then. Google has an intention to offer the best search experience to users and scour poor-quality sites. But the problem is keeping up with these updates.
Over the years, the industry pricing has gone down and there are SEO packages starting from $299 available but if you own a startup and cannot afford to invest in SEO right away, then this article is just for you. Here we entail the process and tips for bootstrap SEO.
Do-it-yourself SEO is the best way to save a lot of money on online marketing. Given the fact that search optimization is not rocket science, you can boost traffic on your website without having to become an SEO ninja.
Without further ado, let’s start with the DIY SEO tips that will benefit your SEO, without you spending a dime.
1. Start Blogging
Content is one of the topmost ranking signals utilized by Google. On a tight budget, you might not be able to hire writers, but you can work on highly valuable and unique content on your own.
Nobody understands the needs of your startup better than you. This is why you need to get your hands dirty producing content that offers value to your target audience. The key to getting noticed by Google is to regularly update your startup blog with fresh content. Learn to use keywords creatively in your content, optimize it for long-tail keywords and offer relevant solutions to the readers.
Such content will naturally drive traffic to your site and drive up sales.
2. Basic Keyword Research
No matter how many algorithm updates are implements, some SEO factors remain at the top of the must-do list. Keyword research is one such factor that forms the basis of all SEO tactics.
The objective behind basic keyword research is to find two or three high-traffic and relevant keywords in your market that have mid to low competition. Then use these keywords in your blog posts, website copy, use as anchor texts for backlinks, and more.
One of the best tools for keyword research is the Google Keyword Planner. Backlinko has an excellent guide on making most of this Google tool.
3. Create and Distribute Press Releases
Once exploited for backlinks, now the importance of press releases as a way of building backlinks is debatable, still, they have some SEO value. This is why you should send out a press release once every month.
There are many benefits, other than SEO:
- You get referral traffic
- You create brand awareness
- You get social proof
- Citation building for local business SEO
Do not over-do it, PR is meant to be done with conservative limits and once a month is enough.
4. Build Relationships Through Guest Blogs
Building relationships is a key factor in promoting businesses online. Interacting with fellow entrepreneurs and bloggers help you build brand reputation and authority. For this purpose, the guest posts play a very important role.
Through guest posts, you can generate powerful inbounds links from authority sites and blogs that will establish your own credibility and authority. But you cannot just shoot a mail and expect an approval for the guest post from reputed websites.
Start building a relationship with bloggers and get to know their work or startup and then pitch them guest posting ideas. Don’t worry about getting it right everything as you will learn the trade of guest posting on the go.
5. Go mobile-friendly
Google already made it clear that now it evaluates a site based on its mobile version. This is why it is important to make your website mobile friendly.
But most startups already have responsive websites. However, they do lack mobile-friendly content. You need to be aware of creating such content and don’t worry it’s not that difficult. You can also check out Neil Patel’s blog for a complete guide to create mobile-friendly content.
SEO has come a long way from being just about compiling links to building reputation and readership. Now interaction is important if you want to grow as a reputable brand.
Participating in discussions with readers and bloggers on social media, commenting on blogs and answering questions on forums will positively affect your website’s authority.
7. Video content
Consumption of video content is increasing. There’s a reason why YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet.
If you can create industry-specific video content, then you definitely will have an edge over the competition. SEO impact of informative video content is also massive.
8. Follow Industry People/Businesses
No matter how hard you try but nothing will get you as instant visibility as following the right people will. Follow relevant people and businesses on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Create a professional social profile on all major social platforms to follow relevant authority figures and entities.
Usually, you will find a few hundred if not thousands of people and businesses to follow. Just start following a few every day and soon you will start getting followed backs. Making use of the tools like FollowerWonk you can easily find businesses in your niche.
Through proper social expansion you get to know and meet mover and shakers in your field of business and it helps you build traffic and nurture credibility.
9. Find Content to Share
There’s a good chance that when you make your social profiles live, you do not have enough content on your own blog or website to share. Therefore, you will need content that can be shared on your social profiles to get you exposure.
This why you need to work on collecting relevant industry-specific links and information and share them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other profile pages. By sharing such content, you create substance and value, both of which are important to build brand reputation and trust.
This strategy especially works for you if you have a business or product website that is not updated that frequently. Furthermore, searching industry-relevant information offers you the opportunity to find an idea for content for your own blog.
10. Do it more than once
Rinse and repeat is the mantra you have to live by to boost the ranking of your website.
All the tactics described above require time, and when you are on a tight budget it might be difficult for you to hire a staff for the same.
But most startups fail to reap the true benefits of SEO because they think of SEO as a one-time process instead of a consistent effort for sustained traffic.
Keep in mind that rankings don’t exist in a vacuum, if you stop working on SEO then your competitors will outrank you as they are working on the SEO.