Search Engine Optimization Tips For Startups Ross | February 24th, 2010

Search engine optimization (SEO) can provide low cost opportunities for a startup to market its products and/or services. However, many startup founders don’t appreciate the difficulty of executing an effective SEO strategy when you have a new company and a new domain. There are SEO experts, of course, and some are outstanding (follow Danny Sullivan on Twitter or read his blog – SearchEngineLand.com – if you’d like to learn more about SEO). And of course there are many SEO “experts” who give the SEO industry a bad name (just as there are bad designers, lawyers, doctors, cops, etc.).

Startups – especially bootstrapped startups – typically don’t have funds to hire SEO experts and must find ways to execute SEO strategies on their own. That’s what we’ve had to do with crowdPSRING. We committed at the end of 2008 to learn as much as we can about SEO and to see what we could do on our own. After reading thousands of posts, making hundreds of mistakes, and tweaking our strategy nonstop throughout the past year, we managed to end 2009 with a respectable PR 7 on Google – as a 20 month old company.

In the following video, I share five tips to help you with your own SEO strategy. These tips reflect what we did at crowdSPRING in trying to execute an SEO strategy with no budget. In the video, I recommend a book about SEO – here’s a link if you’re interested – Search Engine Optimization for Dummies (by Bruce Clay and Susan Esparza).

Do you have questions or other suggestions to help startups with search engine optimization? Please leave them in the comments?

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  • Andy

    Good tips. I especially like the one about taking a position and being vocal about it. I agree that ultimately that will get you a lot of attention and hopefully links.

  • Andy

    Good tips. I especially like the one about taking a position and being vocal about it. I agree that ultimately that will get you a lot of attention and hopefully links.

  • Tony Karrer

    Great advice. And I think that the way you’ve weaved in your social media efforts, brand/position and your SEO is something that people should look at. I actually don’t think your post/video does justice to that part of the equation.

    That said, when it comes to SEO for Startups, I think part of it is to be realistic about what you will get via your SEO efforts. I’ve posted about this in: Startup SEO. Hopefully that provides value.

    By the way, there’s likely a lot you can do to improve your long tail SEO results and possibly better tie in your social media efforts.

  • Tony Karrer

    Great advice. And I think that the way you’ve weaved in your social media efforts, brand/position and your SEO is something that people should look at. I actually don’t think your post/video does justice to that part of the equation.

    That said, when it comes to SEO for Startups, I think part of it is to be realistic about what you will get via your SEO efforts. I’ve posted about this in: Startup SEO. Hopefully that provides value.

    By the way, there’s likely a lot you can do to improve your long tail SEO results and possibly better tie in your social media efforts.

  • Sean

    I have found that industry related forums can give you an opportunity to interact with your customer base/ industry.

    This also can add a lot to your google ranking for instance, if your signature on the forums contains your website.

    P.s why is your face always over-exposed?

  • Sean

    I have found that industry related forums can give you an opportunity to interact with your customer base/ industry.

    This also can add a lot to your google ranking for instance, if your signature on the forums contains your website.

    P.s why is your face always over-exposed?

  • Ross

    Andy – thanks for leaving a comment. There are other important reasons why companies should take positions (SEO is only one of many), but you’re right that attention will often translate into links.

    Tony – I recall reading your post back in November – it’s very well done and I do hope that people take a look. I’m currently working on our long tail SEO efforts (and for sure looking to tie our social media efforts to those as well) so your comment is very timely!

    Sean – good suggestion about industry related forums. Some forum signatures have nofollow tags so don’t impact SEO, but there are those that don’t have such restrictions.

    To answer your question about over-exposure: I try to record during daylight hours and do my best to guess lighting, but don’t always succeed. Ultimately, I focus on the message and not so much on the lighting (but you’re right – I should be able to make some slight tweaks to improve the lighting so that it isn’t distracting).

  • Ross

    Andy – thanks for leaving a comment. There are other important reasons why companies should take positions (SEO is only one of many), but you’re right that attention will often translate into links.

    Tony – I recall reading your post back in November – it’s very well done and I do hope that people take a look. I’m currently working on our long tail SEO efforts (and for sure looking to tie our social media efforts to those as well) so your comment is very timely!

    Sean – good suggestion about industry related forums. Some forum signatures have nofollow tags so don’t impact SEO, but there are those that don’t have such restrictions.

    To answer your question about over-exposure: I try to record during daylight hours and do my best to guess lighting, but don’t always succeed. Ultimately, I focus on the message and not so much on the lighting (but you’re right – I should be able to make some slight tweaks to improve the lighting so that it isn’t distracting).

  • Lisa Pecunia

    Thanks for these great tips and your mentioning this wonderful book. I have the 2nd edition from 2006 and many of the concepts are still valid.

    SEO takes constant work and it’s an easy thing to push to the back burner when other critical tasks come up, especially for us entrepreneurs, who are handling so many thing at once. I’ve found that making a plan to work on it a little bit every day really helps me keep at it.

    One thing I haven’t been able to figure it out is how to effectively analyze the competition. I know who the keyword competitors are for our product grouvia.com), but I’m not sure *how* they got their top spots.

    Lisa

  • Lisa Pecunia

    Thanks for these great tips and your mentioning this wonderful book. I have the 2nd edition from 2006 and many of the concepts are still valid.

    SEO takes constant work and it’s an easy thing to push to the back burner when other critical tasks come up, especially for us entrepreneurs, who are handling so many thing at once. I’ve found that making a plan to work on it a little bit every day really helps me keep at it.

    One thing I haven’t been able to figure it out is how to effectively analyze the competition. I know who the keyword competitors are for our product grouvia.com), but I’m not sure *how* they got their top spots.

    Lisa

  • Gerry Cullen

    Our startup went from zero to $3M in less than 3 years – entirely web-based sales. One of the keys was a clearly defined keyword base of what pain the products solved. Also, our low prices were clearly shown. Gerry

  • Gerry Cullen

    Our startup went from zero to $3M in less than 3 years – entirely web-based sales. One of the keys was a clearly defined keyword base of what pain the products solved. Also, our low prices were clearly shown. Gerry

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  • http://www.cranvas.com/seo-firm.html SEO Firm

    Brilliant article for start ups. Thanks for sharing this. Even I have an experience of 3 years in SEO still I enjoyed this article and your video is superb. Keep it up. All the best.

  • http://www.buraq-technologies.com/ ambreen11

    One of the easiest yet most overlooked elements to optimize is the URL. A
    simple URL which includes a couple of keywords helps the search engine
    determine what’s on the page. Its have a great help for every beginner.

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