SEO Practices For Startups: Transform Your Business In 2023

By Gaurav Sharma

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One crucial marketing strategy every startup ought to leverage regularly is its SEO practices. 

Most people looking for information online do so through organic search as opposed to social media marketing and paid search. 

This creates the need to not only scale your SEO, but also have proactive SEO practices to maintain your conversions.

Growing a small business means constantly accessing this number of people as potential leads. Ranking highly on search engines makes your business available to be seen by 53% of users online.

The more leads you get, the higher your chances are for conversion. Therefore, as a marketer or small business owner, here are SEO practices you should look into regularly.

Consistently Updating Content

Producing new content consistently is great. But did you also know that updating your existing content can give you the same SEO boost?

Most search engines, including Google, are constantly looking for fresh content. And fresh doesn’t necessarily mean new. As long as your content has been updated, it’s considered fresh.

SEO crawlers love fresh content. Hence, updated and new content boosts your site's chances at higher SEO rankings and increased traffic.

Part of updating your content includes ensuring your content is evergreen. This includes both timeliness and relevance. Information that is not up to date may be irrelevant, and irrelevant content loses value over time, along with your ranking.

Updating content could also mean:

  • Improving and enriching existing content. This may involve adding tables, images, and videos to make your post more resourceful. You can also restructure your posts to look and sound better.

  • Improving the accuracy of your content. This can involve editing for grammar or fact-checking.

  • Reoptimizing your keywords. You may have ranked for certain keywords at the time the post was last updated, but it shouldn’t stop there. You could always look for higher-ranking keywords and add them to your content.

  • Using ideas from an existing blog to create fresh post content and use it as a guest post on other websites.

These all lead to higher click-through rates for your website which is what organic traffic and SEO ranking are all about.

Search engines change their algorithms and rules from time to time. Therefore, updating your content is also one way to keep up with these changes.

Regularly Testing Page Experience Scores

One of the most important SEO practices is having your page optimized for user experience. You don’t need to wait for your bounce rates to hit highs to look at your website’s functionality.

There are several metrics that you can use to test your website’s user experience. Google in their Core Web Vitals program provided unified guidelines to check the general health of a website.

Whether you’re a marketer or business owner, these guidelines are essential to the success of any website. The metrics they consider basic for every website include:

  • Loading speed

  • Interactivity 

  • Visual stability

Here’s an illustration:

Image via Web.Dev

When a page’s loading speed rates are high, the bounce rates increase, reducing your conversion rates. A study by Portent found 0 to 4 seconds load time ideal for conversion rates. 

Here’s a quick peek into their analytics.

Image via Portent

As for interactivity, this refers to the first experience users have with your website, right from finding the URL. 

Website visual stability involves items such as:

  • How mobile-friendly your website is

  • Security of your website. For instance, your site should be secured with HTTPS and shouldn’t have any malware

  • Minimal pop-ups that interrupt your site visitors.

Besides these vitals, businesses have unique customer experience metrics based on the nature of their operations. 

For example, You can integrate live chat tools to your website for instant replies to queries raised by your customers.

Every marketer or small business owner needs to know what these metrics are.

A simple way would be by conducting a customer needs analysis. This way, you can mold your website to provide the best customer experience.

Checking for 3xx/4xx Errors

Errors and site redirection affect your page’s overall traffic. 

To minimize broken links and website errors, constantly checking and fixing them is one of the SEO practices every marketer should adopt.

But what exactly are these errors? You may ask.

4xx errors occur either when a site is restricted, doesn’t exist or you’re unable to reach it. 

These may be due to broken links or simply a mistyped or wrong URL. Examples of 4xx errors include:

  • 400 bad requests: This happens when you place an incorrect website request or if your request is corrupted.

  • 404 not found: You get this error when your target website has been removed from public view.

  • 404 forbidden: This happens when the website you’re requesting is strictly forbidden to certain viewers.

These appear as shown below:

Image via Blue Frontier

With 3xx codes, the user gets redirected to a different page or resource. 

They require a user to take action to fulfil a certain request. For instance, these errors may include being redirected to a temporary website, or a new domain. 

Here are examples:

  • 301 code: This occurs when a website moves its contents permanently to a new domain. Here, any user requesting the old page gets redirected to the new domain.

  • 302 code: Occurs when a website has been temporarily moved to another domain.

  • 300 code: This redirects a user to multiple pages, giving them the option to choose which one to proceed to.

Here’s why checking for 4xx errors and updating 3xx codes are crucial SEO practices. 

It helps you identify and fix both internal and external broken links. Broken links are those that have either been changed or removed. 

They hurt your website’s credibility. 

As a business, having unreachable links make your website and brand appear unestablished. Search engines love credible and established sites. 

Also, broken links prevent search engine crawlers from indexing your site. 

How do you track these links?

Google Webmaster tools allow you to trace broken links. All you need to do is go to your Google Search Console and find your crawl errors. This way, you can figure out what’s causing the crawl errors and fix your links. To improve your internal linking once you’ve found broken links, you can use tools that help suggest relevant internal links you can use.

By constantly checking for broken links, you’ll track how much traffic they’re making you lose. You can use applications like Google Analytics for this.

With 3xx codes, you can fix broken URLs with a permanent redirect and maintain your SEO ranking.

Closing Backlink Gaps

Building on your external backlinks is one of the most valuable SEO practices for high-ranking websites.

However, it’s not as much about the number of backlinks you build as it is their quality.

When calculating your backlink gap, it’s crucial to ensure your links are valuable. Valuable backlinks could be from guest blogs, webinars, free tools, guest author bios, and acknowledgements from other sites. 

A backlink gap is simply the quantity of referring domains your site has compared to your competitors. 

Determining the value of a referring domain depends on several factors:

  • The website must have a domain rating (DR) higher than 50.

  • The referring domain’s growth history should be gradual as opposed to a spike.

  • The reference website should have a blog section that publishes high-quality content.

  • The referring domains should be related to your niche.

You can use SEO tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush to monitor the value of your backlinks and calculate your backlink gap. 

After determining your backlinks along with their value, compare that against those of sites you want to outrank. Your reports should look something like this:

Image via Ahrefs

With this information, you can apply the following SEO practices to close your backlink gap.

  • As emphasized, focus on the quality of your backlinks.

  • Try building your links on startup SaaS websites as those have a solid track record of DR growth.

  • Focus on backlinks from pages that have many valuable links. They may be competitive, but their SEO implications are massive.

Finding and Testing Long-tail Keywords

Short keywords are generally competitive and difficult to rank for. Therefore, another of the many SEO practices marketers need to focus on is finding long-tail keywords that set them apart. 

These are lengthier and more detailed. 

A starting point to finding these words on Google is through:

  • Google autocomplete suggestions on the search bar

LSI KEYWORDS

Image via Google

  • The ‘people also ask’ section.

Image via Google

  • The “related search” section at the bottom of your page.

Image via Google

However, these are barely accurate and SEO tools such as Wordtracker, Semrush, and HubSpot are more effective.

Another way would be phrasing keywords as questions given that most users search for information online in question form.

It also helps to add details to your keywords like size, color, and location. 

When testing your long-tail keywords, be sure to research what your competitors are ranking highly for. Then, you’ll know what’s working and move towards that.

Updating GMB Listings & NAP

Google my Business (GMB) listings are important to startup businesses as they help them appear in local searches. 

GMB is how Google shows businesses in certain areas and their information such as name, address and phone number (NAP), and the industry.

Optimizing your GMB and updating your NAP information makes your business ranking higher. It will not only appear in searches on Google but also on Google Maps as a business. 

For startups, showing up in searches may be difficult. These SEO practices will give your business the local SEO boosts you need. 

Searches such as “restaurant near me” or “the nearest gas station” are common, especially on Google Maps. 

Most people also go looking for services online. When this happens, the results that Google is likely to bring are either business listings, or websites offering relevant information. For Example, you can book flights directly with your chosen carrier online or even use a ticket aggregator like Google Flights.

If your GMB listings and NAP are up to date, the search engine will likely pick it up if it's relevant to the search. This exposes your business to more traffic.

Also, Google search engines will pick up on fresh listings, which gives your updated GMB listings and SEO boost.

GMB listings are free, easy to use, and they make it easier for customers to identify your business. 

With NAP updates, making sure your address and contacts are accurate at all times increases your credibility. 

It can be frustrating for customers if they find themselves at the wrong address or call the wrong numbers. If you move your business to a new location or change phone numbers, be sure to make these updates. 

Here’s an example of a Google My Business listing:

GMB

Image via Google Search

Time To Be Proactive With Your SEO Practices

The SEO practices discussed above are just a few of the many you could regularly employ in your digital marketing strategy. 

As a startup, it’s better to maintain your SEO ratings than mitigate losses from flopping organic search conversions.

As a marketer or a small business owner, being proactive saves you time and increases your conversion. Make sure you actively promote your business on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

What’s more? You don’t need any technical developer-level knowledge to apply these tips.

The key is to maintain your website, both internally and externally, and have quality up-to-date content.

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