In the world of startup businesses, there are two different marketing fields: marketing to investors, and marketing to consumers. Here, we’ll cover the latter, specifically the role of SEO and blogging in your eCommerce startup’s web visibility and recognition.
For better or worse, the current model of internet marketing infrastructure is basically defined by Google. Google owns and operates the highways of the internet, and when we talk about SEO – that’s search engine optimization – we’re really talking about playing by Google’s rules, and taking advantage of Google’s algorithms, to increase our visibility.
The first priority in increasing your SEO is the inclusion of keywords. Every piece of text, every webpage header, and every URL subsection should either be composed of, or heavily feature, keywords relevant to the audience you’re looking to attract. SEO experts, like GoPromotional’s Gareth Parkin, maintain the importance of this SEO tenet. “It’s just common sense: include keywords on your webpage and their variations so that Google will identify your site as relevant for that search result.”
The second priority is having a high-quality website. High-quality, though, doesn’t mean expensive. It just means clean, legible, and organized. A well-put-together site, with uncrowded and efficiently laid out text, logically organized, working links, and generally functional structure, will be more likely to keep visitors around and keep them coming back, increasing your search ranking. And while this isn’t usually a problem for newer websites, make sure your data transfer protocol is HTTPS rather than the now obsolete HTTP, to prevent Google from flagging your website as not secure.
The third priority is links. Not the links on your page, but the links to your page. Part of how Google determines the quality and relevance of a webpage is by measuring inbound links. As more external web pages link to yours, especially high-traffic pages, your startup’s site will seem more relevant to Google, and you’ll see better search ranking as a result. Part of your marketing budget should be devoted to purchasing links on popular online publications, not only to increase your SEO, but also to attract new traffic organically via these links.
SEO is a vast and deep ocean, and this is just a drop of it. Depending on the size of your startup and its budget, consider contracting the services of an SEO professional who can apply their expertise in ways that directly address and remedy your website’s performance issues.
Take a look at some of the companies that may serve as a model for your own budding startup. You might notice that quite a few of them host blogs on their websites, with articles discussing industry-relevant practices, technology, and current events. They might even talk about plain old news unrelated to their business, or give a shout-out to other companies and brands. It’s not just for fun; an in-house blog will go a long way toward making your startup’s webpage more robust in the eyes of potential customers, and every flavor of blog content serves a function. No matter the topic, there is always a way to circle back to your brand.
A company blog is an ever-flowing well of opportunities to highlight the relevance of your brand and portray it as one that stands apart from competitors. Ideally, your startup offers something new, even if it’s operating in an already established industry full of big fish. No matter what the topic of your blog post, it can and should be a tool for self-promotion, authority building, and personification. That last one may sound odd, but it’s extremely important. As a consumer, which young startup are you more likely to patronize: a voiceless company whose identity is made up exclusively of corporate logos and marketing copy, or a company with opinions, concerns, and demonstrable awareness of the world and the industry it inhabits?
Blogs are also another fantastic, accessible front in the forever war of SEO, since a blog is essentially a platform for keywords. Your blog is just as searchable as the rest of your website, and while it certainly is not advantageous to crowd your startup’s website with walls of text, your blog can only benefit from that. You can tailor your blog to match trending searches, targeting the needs, desires, concerns, and curiosities of your specific market and audience. For example, a property management firm seeking new clients in northeastern US states may research which northeastern real estate markets are heating up, and publish articles pertaining to those markets.
While blogs may be a fantastic SEO resource, keep this in mind: the best company blogs are more than just throwaway search bait. Visitors can spot a phony blog from a mile away, and if your blog is cheap and low-effort, it will reflect poorly on your brand. On top of that, Google isn’t as easily fooled as you might think and is able to spot and filter out lazy content, so your keyword-rich-but-insubstantial blog may actually hurt you in the long run.
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