A new startup is born every day.
In garages, dorm rooms, and basements all around the world, people are bringing their business ideas to life. But this surge of entrepreneurial energy isn’t limited to actual startups. Big brands like Coca-Cola and Red Bull are adopting lean and agile methods to mimic the flexibility and rapid innovation of Silicon Valley’s hottest up-and-comers.
While it may not be practical to adjust every aspect of your company to be more like a startup, adjusting your SEO strategy at the enterprise level to mirror a startup’s methods can help you stay ahead of the game.
Here are a few SEO tips ripped right from the entrepreneur playbook:
1. Remove Bureaucracy
When you have to submit a request and go through multiple layers of approval to make even the smallest change, it squelches productivity. SEO is no different.
Your SEO team should constantly be adding and altering keywords and phrases. If every change has to be approved by the legal team and the board of directors, it destroys efficiency.
Cut the red tape, and place your trust in your SEO team. Make sure they can easily access web files, CSS, and other privileged information.
2. Stop Keyword Stuffing
SEO operates in a pyramid structure, where main terms are targeted on the home page, ancillary terms are placed on secondary pages, and so forth.
For example, if you have 1,500 terms you want to target about smoke detectors, your home page will target “smoke detectors,” and your internal pages will target long-tail keywords.
However, big companies often try to bypass this process by placing all their keywords on the home page. This method can produce quick results, but Google will ultimately penalize them for bad SEO practices. This year, we saw quite a few big brands — including eBay — tumble down search results for trying to game the system.
Cramming in low-quality links with too many anchor texts will yield feeble SEO results. Instead, hire a qualified PR professional to get you on reputable sites like CNN. The organic, healthy links will filter in naturally and boost your SEO without keyword stuffing.
3. Be Relentless About Creating a Great User Experience
Ultimately, startups succeed due to their commitment to producing the best possible user experience. Big brands can harness this mentality simply by striving to build a better site than their competitors. By producing superior content and increasing your website’s load speed, you nurture a positive brand image.
The Internet marketing blog ShoeMoneyonce described this idea as the “screw Google” mentality, which suggests that you manage your website as if Google doesn’t exist. This will keep you focused solely on building a great website that customers will return to again and again.
4. Embrace Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have a larger impact on SEO than you think, and startups know this. The most successful ones know that creating a community around branded content begins a cycle that ultimately elevates a site’s SEO.
When you create attention-grabbing posts and your followers click through, Google notices your site’s traffic spike, and you boost brand awareness.
It may not be a traditional SEO move, but it’s a great one for your site.
5. Don’t Take Shortcuts
Every entrepreneur knows there’s no substitute for hard work and dedication, and that includes a sound SEO strategy.
Back in 2007, SEO “specialists” advised their clients to set SEO bait, which tricked viewers into organically linking to a site. On Myspace, users often took quizzes that produced results in easy-to-copy banner ads. When they embedded them on their Myspace profile, it artificially inflated that site’s visibility. Google eventually caught on, and sites were penalized.
There aren’t any shortcuts to good SEO. It all comes down to great content, an engaged audience, and a solid SEO team that gets your customers the information they’re looking for every time.
While the Internet landscape is constantly evolving, SEO has remained a valuable marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. If there’s one method your company can steal from startups, it’s this: Get to work.