By Asad Shaikh, SEO Director at Bruce Clay MENA

As an entrepreneur looking to build a successful startup, creating a solid SEO strategy is vital for you. Not only is SEO a powerful tool that can help you drive organic traffic to your website, but it also typically does not require a large budget. Investing in SEO will help people easily find your business online and learn about your products and services.

There’s no reason why you should ignore this low-cost, high-return strategy, even though it is still being neglected by a lot of startups.

Here are 6 SEO techniques to help you get started.

1 – Choose the right domain name and CMS

Your company’s website name is basically the first thing that users see. This means that it’s very important to choose a unique domain name to make a strong and positive first impression on new users. A domain name that can become synonymous with your product will help you define your brand identity. It will also give you a head start over your competitors, also known as a first-mover advantage (FMA), and will allow you to increase your clickthrough rate (CTR) – the percentage of users who see and click on your ads– to almost 100%.   

Your choice of the content management system (CMS) is crucial and will depend a lot on the nature of your business. For example, WordPress is usually viewed as ideal for startups, while Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce are known to be more tailored for e-commerce businesses. Don’t forget that the CMS you select must also fit the needs of your team. Ultimately, you want to choose an easy-to-use, scalable, and flexible CMS that will facilitate your company’s growth.

2 – Conduct detailed keyword research

Keyword research tells you what users are actively searching for, which helps you customize your content to match the needs of the searchers. In other words, your text has to match with your potential customers’ search queries. Detailed keyword research will also reveal the search volume for specific queries, which will help you measure and validate search demand for your startup. 

Take keyword intent – the user’s purpose for the search – into consideration, as it will help you match your content according to the searchers’ intent. Make sure your landing pages inform searchers about the product or service you are offering. Find the right long-tail keywords to generate leads, as such keywords generally indicate that users are ready to purchase the item or service they are looking for.

3 – Create SEO content 

After keyword research, it’s time to create high-quality content to attract organic traffic. This includes blogs, videos, and infographics. Conduct market research, identify your target audience and create market personas: this will help you optimize your content, which will lead to higher rankings.

Keep search intent in mind. Your website will rank higher if your content is helpful, i.e., if it meets the needs of users. You can also try to repurpose your content for different channels: a blog post can be turned into an infographic or made into a video, depending on the channel that it will be published on. This efficient strategy will increase your company’s organic visibility.

4 – Make sure your website has a solid technical foundation (Technical SEO)

Technical SEO is a subcategory of SEO that involves optimizing the infrastructure and technical aspects of your website to improve your organic search traffic by allowing search engines to efficiently crawl and index your pages. As Neil Patel puts it, technical SEO “refers to any SEO work that is done aside from the content”.

You can start by using tools such as Google Search Console (GSC) to monitor your website’s health and fix SEO-related issues. The tool will inform you if Google is having difficulties in crawling and indexing your website. You can also check the Core Web Vitals report shows how your pages perform on Mobile & Desktop.

5 – Monitor and acquire your brand’s SERP

Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the pages that a search engine like Google displays in response to a user’s query. As Jason Barnard explains, a brand SERP is “what appears on Google when someone searches your brand name”. It basically represents your digital business card. Optimizing your brand SERP is crucial, as it helps you build a better perception of your brand.

Make sure that your brand SERP has a knowledge panel above the fold (the upper half of the page that is visible without scrolling down). The knowledge panel is the information boxes that Google shows when users search for specific entities. Furthermore, the highest-ranking result should be your website’s homepage, with several sitelinks directing users to other relevant pages from your website. 

6- Optimize PageRank and Link Building

PageRank (PR) refers to an algorithm used by Google to rank your website and measure its importance. PR ranking is determined by the number and quality of backlinks pointing to a specific page. Basically, the more high-quality links pointing to your page, the higher would be your website chances to rank well on Google.

This means that you should start focusing on link building. Make sure that links to your website are found on important directories and business listings such as Google My Business, Crunchbase, and Trustpilot.

Create content that has a high probability of acquiring backlinks or “linkable assets”. Useful, in-depth, and non-promotional content that provides real value to readers can help attract high-quality backlinks.

Guest posting – when you post an article on someone else’s website or blog – is also a great way to get backlinks to your own website and build external visibility for your startup.

Don’t postpone setting up an effective SEO strategy: it is essential for driving organic traffic to your website, increasing its visibility, and creating brand awareness. If you haven’t already, use these actionable tips to include SEO in your business plan.