Many startups nowadays rely on a company blog to attract, engage and retain potential leads. A company blog for a product or service startup is another way to present achievements and development, without pitching directly potential clients. Although it increases also the branding aspect of a startup, many ignore some basic principles. Here below we take a look at the top SEO mistakes startups make in 2018 with their company blog.
But Before That… Is SEO Still Relevant?
In the digital world, SEO is still one of the best ways to gain organic traffic. However, SEO is a long-term strategy. Results don’t come overnight, especially if the blog is not the core of your business.
Startups seeking to increase organic traffic through SEO activities might need to start looking into a dedicated person to take over digital marketing activities. As with any other activity that yields results organically, it takes dedication and time.
Top Seo Mistakes In 2018
SEO is an evolving topic. Google ranking algorithm gets updated constantly and while you might think that you know enough about it, there’s a constant need to be up-to-date. On top of that, Google, even though the main one, is not the only search engine you should be looking into.
Bing, Yahoo, although not the 1st choice for many, can result in a good amount of inbound traffic for your company website. It’s also important to consider the region your startup operates into as your SEO strategy might vary.
Ignoring Analytics Data
In the last 20 years, marketing has become more data-focused. Marketers who don’t look at analytics data are failing at optimizing for the right actions. Taking a look at data though is not something uniquely related to SEO, but rather to the whole digital marketing space.
Startup founders, even if not marketing experts, can learn a lot from tools like Google Analytics, KISSmetrics or Moz. The last one has a paid version, but we believe also the free version is good enough for actionable learnings.
Using these tools has several advantages. You can understand:
- Which keywords bring traffic to your website
- Which channels work best when engaging with your audience
- Which websites are linking back to your content
- Where competitors are sharing their content and who is linking to them
- How potential clients interact on your website
- Where is the exit point for potential leads
TIP: Google provides a tool called “Google Search Console“, which shows for which keywords your website is ranking. To access it go to Google Webmaster Tool, click on “Traffic” and then “Search Queries“.
Thinking That A Keyword Strategy Is Not Needed
SEO is constantly evolving. What was relevant a few years back, it is not today.
Focusing on the right keywords and understand which ones to focus on became crucial lately. Repeating, however, the same keywords over and over again in a post doesn’t have a good effect anymore for your SEO strategy.
Google and other search engines have become aware of what is called “keywords stuffing“. If the algorithm thinks you are trying to trick the system, it might penalize your website.
A keyword strategy is something to think about when planning your company blog. After understanding the analytics data, you should be able to identify the keywords you want to focus on and then strategize on how to implement these.
TIP: Avoid using general keywords or those that are too broad. It’s going to be very hard to rank for these. if you focus on keywords that don’t target your desired users, you are wasting your SEO efforts. Lastly, try identifying long-tail keywords rather than high-competing ones.
Writing Low-Quality & Duplicate Content
An important step in building a strong company blog that can help you attract and retain leads is to write good quality content. Startup founders, however, don’t often see the value in writing in-depth articles. This requires time and especially in early-stage startups, time is never enough.
Keeping an eye on the content you or your team produce is crucial. Writing low-quality content, with no value for the readers will affect your ranking in search engines. The easiest way to control this is by looking at the bounce rate of specific pages on your blog. Bounce rate is something that you will need to work on. It doesn’t improve overnight and it requires a lot of work.
Another important factor to consider when talking about a company blog is duplicate content. Raven found out that duplicate content still represents a third of what’s published on the Internet.
There have been a lot of theories on how Google and other search engines consider duplicate content. Generally speaking, your website should not get penalized for it. However, your page might not rank well. Google, for example, analyzes similar content and ranks first what it thinks to be the original post.
In the last few years, however, it has become normal to post content on several platforms to amplify the reach. For example, today, LinkedIn and Medium offer a way for bloggers, marketers, and founders to reach new users through their platform.
The main issue is that these two platforms have a domain authority that is much higher than yours, hence potentially ranking better on Google. A way to avoid that search engines don’t recognize your website as the original source is to wait 1 or 2 weeks to repost the content. On top of that, we suggest making small changes in the title and content itself.
TIP: Content marketing is the main way to grow your company blog. It is crucial to understand though that content requires time. Low-quality and duplicate content won’t help you achieve any results. Having a good content strategy will get you the results you need. Focus on the type of content that your readers like.
Disregarding The User Experience
Times have changed. Users nowadays access most of the content through their smartphone. Google in the last couple of years has been putting a lot of pressure on websites’ speed and UX. AMP (or Accelerated Mobile Page) has taken the spotlight lately. Although Google has made clear that AMP by itself will not affect your website ranking, they have stated that page speed will become a factor in mobile ranking.
So, is it worth to think about it? Of course, it is!
Let’s put aside for a moment SEO and ranking topics. In the first half of 2018, we have seen that the share of mobile traffic has crossed the 50% mark. The trend is increasing.
Although it might not have a direct impact on your ranking per se, it has an effect on the user experience. Today users can access news from anywhere, delays are not accepted. If potential leads land on your blog and the user experience is bad, they will not read your content, nor buy anything.
Recommendation: Check Pingdom for a website speed test.
Another important factor, when it comes to user experience is safety. Google has already implemented a way to recognize websites that don’t have an SSL certificate. In some instances, your website might lose traffic, because Google blocks access to it.
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend getting an SSL certificate. Usually, your web host provider should have an option for that.
Thinking All Links Are Created Equally
External and internal linking is an important way to increase the authority of the blog posts you write. However, it’s important to keep mind where and how you link.
First of all, internal linking helps users find more information about a topic on your company blog. It’s important to make sure that anything you link within your website is relevant to the topic you are talking about. Don’t focus on the number of internal links, but rather the quality. Always think about your users.
If you would be an external reader on your blog and clicked on that internal link landing on something unrelated to the initial topic, how would you feel? Yes, exactly. So, don’t do it.
External linking is also a very good practice especially when done correctly. If you link to high authority websites, your post quality increases. Sometimes, however, we might allow 3rd parties to do guest blogging on our website. This means that the outbound links will direct to the guest author’s website, most likely. It’s a good practice to check the quality of the websites you are linking to.
One last thing about linking and guest blogging. The rule for guest authors on your blog applies also to you when writing on other blogs and place a link back to your website. What type of website are you posting on? Is the blog related to yours?
TIP: Creating a “net” of links within your blog it’s a good practice to increase relevancy to the topic you are writing about. Internal linking can improve the stickiness of users, but if done wrongly can increase the bounce rate. The same applies to external links. Be careful.
Final Thoughts On SEO & Mistakes To Avoid
Search Engine Optimization is an essential part of digital marketing. As a startup founder, you don’t need to understand the ins and outs of it. However, it’s good practice to get at least the basics of how it works. SEO will help your company blog and business attract more relevant leads. Remember, you can fix mistakes done in the past by following these steps:
- Build a clear strategy around which keywords to focus on
- Write good quality content frequently
- Forget about shortcuts – There are no shortcuts in SEO
- Keep reading and learning about the changes and updates (Moz Blog)
- Be patient
If you have a website, SEO plays an important role and cannot be ignored. Take your time to get familiar with it and eventually you will see results.
What SEO strategy do you implement on a daily basis? Do you have a dedicated person who follows digital marketing or SEO? Share with us your experience in the comment section below.