Online Marketing: The 6 most important SEO practices for Startups
Did you hear this one before? “What’s the best place to hide a body?” Answer: “On the second page of Google search results.” Now this is of course a joke, but that doesn’t undermine the underlying truth – that most people don’t go beyond the first page of search results, regardless of the search engine that they use.
Moreover, most users don’t even go beyond the first 3 search results anymore, especially when their snippets appear to answer the question already. This speaks to the importance of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your website. Even for startuppers, SEO is important, because at the early stages you want to invest as little as possible in SEA (Search Engine Advertising) or other paid ads.
But how do you as startupper get on top of all those other companies? Read on to learn about the most important SEO practices of today.
1. Help the algorithms
Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Mobile, Rankbrain, Medic, BERT – no we’re not just spitting random words here. These are the names of the Google algorithms that parse search queries and make up the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for users.
You have probably heard that keywords are important to be visible on Google. Many people picked up on this and started making unnatural sentences just to get as many keywords in their content as possible. However, because of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) that’s not necessary anymore. This most recent algorithm helps Google parse regular sentences for relevant keywords.
So, just write as you would normally write, and rest assured that BERT will connect you to the right user search queries. This way, you don’t have to annoy your users with unreadable content, which means that you can focus on presenting your company in the best way possible.
2. Accommodate voice searchers
The use of AI voice command systems such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa is increasingly common nowadays. When users of these systems want to search or know something, they will pose their request in the form of a question. Thus, in order to play into the way that these users interact with their AI systems, you have to write part of your content in the form of questions.
So, write the questions that your content is answering in your text headings, primarily the H1, and the H2s of the relevant paragraphs.
3. Content snippets: “featured snippets” and “rich snippets”
Featured Snippets & Position 0
In order to have Google feature a snippet of your content on top of the search results, it helps once again to explicitly write out the questions that your content will answer. If your content appears to precisely answer a user’s search query, Google will make a “featured snippet” of the section that does so and display it on position 0 of the SERP.
Normal search result consists of 50-60 characters of the Meta Title, or “Title tag,” 120 (mobile) – 158 (desktop) characters of the Meta Description, and the URL to the webpage. Make sure to stay within these character limits to have them optimized SEO. However, if you want to stimulate a higher click-through-rate (CTR) to your webpages, you can create “rich snippets,” or “rich results,” of your webpages. This way, Google search results can display all kinds of extra content, such as FAQs, reviews, organization info, event info, product markup, and much more.
Rich Snippets & Structured Data
In order to make rich snippets out of your content, you need to add structured data. To find the right markup for your website code, you can use Schema.org (for all search engines) or Google’s Developer Section. For WordPress websites, there are various plugins available, and if you want to add structured data to your webpage’s HTML, you can conveniently use JSON-LD.
Then, if you’ve done everything to make rich snippets available, you can check whether Google reads your structured data correctly. Keep in mind that regardless of your data is structured correctly, Google does not guarantee that it will actually display rich snippets of your webpages.
4. Implement video content
If users like video, then Google does too. It is no surprise, then, that 55% of the webpages on the first SERP contain at least 1 video! In addition, your visitors will remain longer on your webpage if they’re watching a video on there, and they are more likely to share pages with video content than ones with just text. This, in turn, increases the number of backlinks to your page, which is also an important factor for your website’s SEO score.
If you want to optimize your webpage, even more, you can add the right keywords to the closed captions of your video. If you do this well, you even have the chance to have your video indexed on position 0 of the SERP.
5. Mobile all the way
Google weighing in heavier on mobile optimization has been around since 2018 already, but that doesn’t make it less important today. It is even the case that it is preferable to make your web design “mobile-first,” meaning that you design it first to display well on a mobile device, and then use the mobile design as the starting point for your desktop design.
This way, you’re getting the optimal SEO score for your website, and your users won’t have to zoom in on various page elements in order to read the content on there. Keep in mind that you have to leave some white spaces here and there when you’re writing your content for mobile use because a mobile screen is filled within no-time!
6. Facilitate local search queries
Although searching on the web is a global practice, many people are using search engines to look for companies close to them. An Uberall survey demonstrates that over 80% of users make use of the “near me” function at least once a week. Now you might think that this is only relevant if you have a store, restaurant, bar or some other company that customers physically go to, but also people looking for services or business partnerships use this function so they can work with companies close to them.
So, in order to make sure that you've found by the people around you, make sure to list your company in Google Mijn Bedrijf. Besides filling in your professional details, make sure to add as many relevant keywords as possible in your company description.
Staying on top
Keep in mind that although these are the most relevant SEO practices of today, Google tends to switch up its preferences. With every new algorithm and update, there are slight changes in Google’s SERP indexing hierarchy, which means that the top search results are always fluid.
Since SEO is part of our business, we’re always on top of the latest SEO practices. Keep an eye out on our platform or follow us on our socials to make sure that you’re always up to date as well!