12 Things You Haven't Tried To Improve Your Startup's SEO

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By Jazmin Hupp (Director of Awesome, Tekserve) “Best practices are things you should have done if you had thought of them first.”

If all your competitors are doing it already, you won’t get the returns you’re looking for by jumping in late.

Try taking best practices from other industries and reusing them.

This quote is from Byrne Hobart, who taught the Advanced SEO course at General Assembly I attended last week. How to Advance Your Way Up the Blog Hierarchy

Here’s how to work your way from nothing to a top-level blog or news source.

  • Do a Google search for “your industry blog” and you’ll find the most popular ones. Pick a highly-ranked blog that speaks to your prospects. Then use Google to show sites related to the highly-ranked blog by searching for “related:rankedblog.com.” Less popular related blogs will be returned. Continue to do this until you find the least popular blogs with readership communities. Collect these into a list.
  • Stalk your new blogger friends. Comment on every post they write on your industry and re-tweet their stuff. After a few weeks they’ll start to recognize you as a loyal reader.
  • Write a post they’ll like on your blog and send it to them. For example, write a deeper-dive into a topic they cover or a clarification of something they wrote. If they repost your piece you’re in! Plus you’ll be the girl they turn to when they need a quote or clarification on your industry.
  • Now use their repost of your content to trade up to more popular blogs. Most bloggers read all the blogs larger than theirs and a few sites less popular than theirs. Write an email to a more popular blog, “You may have seen my post on LesserBlog.com, I liked your related post, and so I write this post.”
  • Continue trading up until you reach the top blog in your industry.

Get More Shares By Giving Up Comments

You can get more shares if you make sharing the only action available at the end of your post. When someone gets to the bottom of your post, they typically have a couple of choices: commenting, reading a related article, etc. If you make the only option sharing the article with their network, you’ll get more shares.

This works especially well with controversial content where your audience wants to add their input but can’t because you’ve removed commenting. Google doesn’t discern between people linking to your page because they disagree or agree with you.

Fast Content Gets Shared Faster

Content that is fast to read will get shared more often and more quickly. Shorter posts rise to the top of Reddit because Reddit takes the velocity of votes into account. So a photo that takes five seconds to read and react to will rise further than a well thought-out post that takes ten minutes to read.

So if you have a long article, create an infographic of your top data from the post that you can share everywhere and then link back to your longer article.

Get More Shares By Figuring Out Why Your Audience Really ReTweets

Why do most people actually share your posts? They want to show off that they read your type of content (regardless of whether or not they do). This is why posts by Malcolm Gladwell are tweeted seconds after they’re posted. Your audience wants to show off how smart they are for finding your content and sharing it with their friends (Facebook) or potential bosses (LinkedIn).

Test Keywords Using AdWords Instead of SEO Because It’s Cheaper (Really)

Ranking on your keywords through organic search can take weeks and even months to climb to the top. You can buy the top slot through AdWords and check if the keywords you’ve chosen really convert before investing in a longer-term SEO strategy. Once your keyword terms move into organic search the conversion rate won’t necessarily be the same but this is a great tactic to compare potential keywords against each other.

Swap SEO Friendly Headlines In After Everything-Else Friendly Headlines

SEO friendly headlines are stuffed with keywords that target searchers. Everything-else friendly headlines use a teaser proposition, controversial view point, or question to encourage click-throughs and shares. You can post the article with your teaser headline, get a lot of shares, and then switch it to your keyword stuffed headline later. Your article will retain its popularity for being shared even after you change the headline.

How A Print Ad Can Increase Your Search Rank

Run an ad campaign that tells your audience to search for “your company + what you do” on Google. If you get enough people searching for your brand name in conjunction with high-priority keywords, it will rise your search rankings. You’ll be more likely to appear in the search suggestions for what you do. Coupon Cabin ran subway ads asking people to Google their name for coupons instead of listing their URL.

Optimize Your Guest Blog Bio

We all know that guest blogging (in both directions) will help bring credibility to your site. What you may not have thought of is optimizing the keywords used in your guest blog bio. Try to keyword stuff the link back to your company’s site. So instead of “Jane Smith is Founder of Company.com” try “Jane Smith is Founder of the most popular widget company in New Jersey.”

Links Are Forever

When someone posts about your business but doesn’t link to you, simply contact them and ask. Articles last just as long as the news cycle but links are forever.

Use WordPress if You Can

Simply put, search engines love WordPress. To solve the SEO drawbacks of WordPress, download the All in One SEO Pack.

Use The Most SEO-Friendly URL For Your Blog

Your blog’s URL should be YourSite.com/Blog for maximum SEO benefit to your site. If you’re in a “serious” business and the term “blog” isn’t appropriate for your target audience, use YouSite.com/Articles or YouSite.com/Research.

This post was originally posted at Jazmin Hupp's blog.

Photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz on Flickr About the guest blogger: Jazmin Hupp is the Director of Awesome at Tekserve, the independent Apple computer store in New York City. She volunteers for Women 2.0 in San Francisco and Founder Labs in New York City. Jazmin holds a Bachelors of Science in Management Information Systems. Her passions include travel, learning languages, writing, and yoga. Follow her on Twitter at @jazminhupp.