It’s 2018, and SEO is as important as ever.

So, you’d like to have more people find out about your startup in 2018? If you’re interested in securing more web traffic—and having relevant prospective customers discover you—you’ll want to check out the following search engine optimization tips from Rand Fishkin, founder and current ‘wizard’ (https://moz.com/about/team/randfish) of Seattle-based SEO powerhouse, Moz (https://moz.com).

Startups are known to have limited resources. (Yes, truer words may never have been said.) If an entrepreneur had to choose from the 2018 list that Fishkin shared at the Web Summit in Lisbon this past November, here are the tips he believes will get them the most bang for their buck.

  1. Know Your Keywords.

“If you can do nothing else, I’d urge you to invest in keyword research,” Fishkin recommends. “Uncover the terms and phrases your audience is using to search, and match those keywords to content you’re creating (or will create) so you can start the optimization process.”

This could involve some keyword research using Google’s keyword planner tool (https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/) to see how current searches stack up, or scouring Quora (https://www.quora.com), Reddit (https://www.reddit.com) or other forums in order to get the terminology just right.

Fishkin notes that at this stage, it truly pays to do your homework. “If you don’t have a grounding in keyword research, it’s next to impossible to do the rest of what’s needed for SEO.”

  1. Solve the Searcher’s Task Better Than Anyone Else.

He also advises companies to ‘solve the searcher’s task better than anyone else’. What does this mean exactly? Should entrepreneurs try to get granular and focus on specific responses to achieve a first page search result, or should they attempt to answer a question more broadly (e.g. a catch-all approach)?

“Generally speaking, you want to serve the searcher’s intent,” he said. “Sometimes that means serving multiple intents when keywords have multiple types of questions behind them.

Consider what intentions your current or desired customers might have, including the pain points they’re experiencing, as a means for shaping their searches—then adjust your content accordingly.

“Something like ‘dentists in San Diego’ is fairly clear. Folks want a list, some way of choosing and sorting, and ways to trust that the list is reliable, up-to-date, includes pertinent contact info, etc.”

That’s clear enough, but how should entrepreneurs approach more generalized searches?

  1. Explore Current High-Ranking Results.

Search engine algorithms can’t be fooled, nor can they easily be fully understood. However, there is a straightforward way to reveal what they prioritize. Here’s a concrete example.

“A query like ‘hiring developers’ is tougher,” Fishkin says. “Do searchers want lists of companies who are hiring? Advice on how to hire? Pros and cons of whether to hire vs outsource? Or something else? In this case, it pays to research what’s already appearing on page 1 (and page 2 and 3) to see what content Google believes to be of primary interest to searchers. That’s where you’ll want to start.”

Ready to generate more online visibility and build a stronger sales funnel in the New Year? You now have all the insights you need to successfully launch your startup’s SEO efforts—it’s time to get to work!

 

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