SEO Outsourcing Tips for Startup Businesses

With a startup, you should look to outsource as much as possible. The reason is that you have far too much to do as the CEO and need to focus on the core services that your business will provide. To try to create a whole suite of reliable SEO services in-house is tough to do even for a new agency, let alone a company whose primary roles is not that of an SEO agency.

Accordingly, here are some SEO outsourcing tips to use when going this route as a startup.

Don’t Fight That Putting Together an In-house SEO Team Takes Time

Starting an SEO team from scratch, you’ll need to seek out and interview potential SEO employees, build out a team, install a team leader or department head and hope it will all gel together. The whole gelling together / working as a team process takes time and won’t happen overnight either. Also, if you’re trying to put a complete team together, you’ll need a collection of people where everyone is a specialist instead of a generalist which takes longer to arrange.

As a startup, you already have far too much to do. Just putting together the right people to provide core services or create products to sell is hard enough. Trying to create the internal processes for too many departments can quickly lead you astray.

Understand, It’s Less Risky to Use an Agency

Working with an existing SEO agency is a far better prospect in the early years. They’ve been in business for years already. They know what they’re doing and have established processes to follow. They’re not making it up as they go along!Outsourcing SEO tips

There are also talented people on their team who can be relied upon. Usually, each person is a specialist with some degree of overlap to cover responsibilities that get busy and need a second person to help out. Structuring it this way means the agency can handle extra business on demand.

Seek Out Proven Past Results and Validate Them

What separates acceptable SEO agencies from ones that are worth their price is demonstrated in their past SEO results.

Results like search page bumps upwards and/or more search keywords ranking for what their clients wanted are results that take 6-12 months to achieve in most cases.

Look at before and after information. See if you can access tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to check on the previous traffic and ranking and where their clients rank today. Use a proxy tool or a VPN that support Google to perform US-located lookups on current positions to check claims about ranking positions made by agencies. They’re easy to validate and you can also see if the position has improved or declined recently too.

Select Between Providers Based on SEO Techniques and Policies Used

It’s important to decide ahead of time what type of SEO techniques are acceptable and which are not. This can fall into a few categories:

  • White Hat Only

Largely speaking, the white hat can mean either no manual links being sought after or created or only links that are done in the most natural-looking way possible.

For instance, with white hat linking, backlinks are only sought at a time when it makes sense. This might exclude a brand-new site getting links pointing to its review pages as this is unlikely to happen unassisted. However, links pointing to informational content that’s genuinely useful appearing in the first few months makes perfect sense! Links to more commercial content can be sought at a later date when there’s a nice backlink profile created for a new site and it has a bit of age at that point.

  • Grey Hat

Grey hat is where most website is today. There are varying degrees of this type of linking. On the upper level, you may see links from sites with traffic coming to them, making the links more likely. On the lower end, you may see backlinks originating from websites with no organic search traffic and basic, short articles used just for linking purposes.

It is up to your company to decide what their priorities are within the grey hat realm of link building. Some links are less powerful but pose less risk of getting a penalty from Google. Others, such as private blog network links from zero traffic sites pose a greater risk.

Choosing an agency with the in-house capabilities to produce the type of link building campaign that is decided upon is crucial. Not all agencies can handle different types of SEO adroitly.

See How the SEO Agency Handles Google Algorithm Updates

Discuss with any SEO agency you’re considering how the past Google algorithm updates have affected their clients’ sites?

It’s extremely unlikely that they’ve not been affected at all. Most sites are seeing regular movements in search ranking and traffic volume attributed to these frequent changes.

Ask questions about what actions the agency took on behalf of clients who owned sites that were impacted by an update. This provides some indication as to how they’ll handle your site in such a situation.

Talk Timeframes

The timeframe for ranking improvements or other changes as a result of the agency’s work is something to enquire about too.

Whilst you may be under pressure to deliver ranking improvements within the quarter or six-month period, that’s not always realistic. Discuss with the agency to see what their impressions are about the website and the possibility for better ranking. Check how they plan to do that and what their plan of action will be should better rankings fail to materialize?

If anything, an SEO agency should be given more time at the outset to deliver results; not less time. Google is intentionally slowing down responses to changes to thwart any attempt to manually make improvements to ranking. As such, more patience is required to get sustainable results compared with in the past.

SEO agencies making bold claims about rapid ranking improvements, especially over unrealistically short timeframes and/or providing guarantees of such should be looked upon with suspicion. Good results take time and hard work to achieve them.

9 Easiest Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

To make your website and be efficient with the use of available funds, the best initial approach is to promote using free methods. When these are exhausted, then switch to paid methods such as paid advertising or other forms of active promotion.

Here are 9 free ways to drive traffic to your site.

  • Create Content Around Keywords

Some search terms are popular in Google while others are rarely searched. Use a search tool like Long Tail Pro or to find relevant terms for the niche(s) that the website is involved with.

Write or outsource content produced around each relevant term. Aim for low to medium competition terms that your site has a good chance to rank free website traffic

Learn to assess the top 10 sites for Domain Authority and Page Authority (MOZ metrics), domain age, total word count, and backlinks.

  • Build Backlinks

Build relevant backlinks (or have an SEO agency do it for you to save time and money).

The goal is to build links to the main domain and the money pages that you’d want to rank. Ensure that the links mainly build brand authority and only a few mention the targeted keywords specifically to avoid getting hit by Google.

Links as well as content now take longer to affect page results today. It depends on the age of the site and the niche how quickly it responds to new links being added.

  • Create a Facebook Page

Facebook is still one of the largest social media networks. It doesn’t send as many Facebook user over to your website as it used to, but it’s still a heavyweight.

You cannot afford to not have a Facebook page. However, don’t just stop there. You can post links and post unique blurbs for any new content added to your site in its blog or provide updates to changes in other areas too.

Be careful not to create an issue with duplicate content.

  • Use Facebook Groups

There are relevant Facebook groups for just about anything. FB groups are the new message boards or forums on the web. Easy to hop into and post a message.

Take temperature of the types of posts on the group. Some don’t allow commercial postings. Others permit them from people who are known to the group and regularly share other useful information. A few have a designated ‘pitch day ‘– when promotional posts are permitted.

  • Spread the Word on Pinterest

Pinterest has become a significant traffic driver whether the site is already receiving Google traffic or not. Their search engine works far more based on images that have been re-pined on other visual pin boards and not based on the number of followers that you have.

This social network relies on daily actions. Pinning some images promoting your own products, services or written content, but mix it up with pinning other things you’ve found. Re-pin other pins that will appeal to the topic of each pin board you interact with.

Time on the service has a meaningful impact on the success rate. The longer you have been promoting and getting positive attention from your pins, the more Pinterest will reward your account and its pins.

Add a Pinterest button on your site that appears when hovering over images. This way, visitors can pin your images to their favorite pin boards on Pinterest too.

  • Think in Terms of Hashtags

Many social networks use hashtags to capsulate what a message or post is all about. So, whether you’re posting a message on Twitter, an Instagram post or elsewhere, be sure to use relevant hashtags.

Keep it positive too. You don’t want to get into a flame war just because someone else is having a bad life and using transference to move their misery onto you. Keep it positive, upbeat and helpful.

  • Consider Using Landing Pages Selectively

A landing page is a separately created page that is sculpted around a particular action that you wish the visitor to take.

The action might be subscribing to your newsletter, making a specific purchase, getting a guide, or liking something to boost your Facebook account.

Landing pages only focus on one topic to solicit the desired response. In almost all cases, they move your website forward in a meaningful way.

  • Outreach SEO for Guest Posting

Outreach is designed around the idea of contacting other relevant websites and pitching them on an idea for a piece of content for their site. Usually, the quality of the research and writing needs to be comparable to what’s already on their site to be of interest.

It’s important to get the owner’s name or who runs PR for the site, at least. Otherwise it just looks like a mass mailer. In a perfect world, each approach should be individually drafted but that takes extra time.

The idea with guest posts is that you put your ideas and brand in front of another audience with crossover to your site. Some of the readers of your guest post will respond positively to it and click over to see what else your site has to offer.

  • Infographic Marketing

Infographics are visual representations of useful datapoints that support what you’re saying in an article. They include the originating website’s web address which provides a way for viewers of the infographic to click through when it’s posted on a third-party site too.

There are infographic directory sites for webmasters to search for a suitable infographic to publish. Or, a graphic can be created and then work down a list of relevant websites that might be interested in publishing it.

Taking the extra time to locate suitable articles where your infographic will be most relevant. This will lead to a highest success rate. Usually, when someone posts an infographic they’ll link back to your site – if they fail to so, you can follow up later.

Getting free traffic is always optimal instead of going after paid traffic which gets costly quickly. While traffic from SEO takes months to appear in responsible numbers, many of the above techniques work out of the box. Don’t wait for Google to rank your site highly – be proactive about it.

How to build high quality backlinks for new website

Building backlinks pointing from someone else’s website to your brand-new site is more challenging than with an older site. For one thing, you must be careful about the kind of links you get. Also, it’s necessary to be wary about both the quality and the link velocity (the speed new links are acquired). They must be spaced out to look natural. As such, building backlinks for new sites requires a different discipline than for older websites.

Here are some tips on how to build backlinks for a new website.

  • Guest Posting the Right Way

Guest posting is the act of getting another website owner to accept a guest post – an article – on their website. The benefit for them is a decent piece of content essentially for free and the benefit for your site is a new inbound link. You may also receive some referral traffic from people visiting your site from the site with the guest post published on it too.

Most people do guest posting incorrectly. It must be particularly relevant to the audience where it will be published. The content must speak to their audience and not your own. While there’s often some overlap between the two, that’s not always the case.

The guest post should be a reasonable length. Usually 1,000 words or greater. It’s not likely that a detailed post can impart useful information when it’s only 500 words. The article will barely touch the surface of any topic that it covers and provide poor value for the readers’ time.

  • Using Broken Link Building

The broken link building method isn’t new, but it still works incredibly well because it involves helping another website owner with a problem they didn’t even know they had and providing a ready-made solution too. Sounds good? Dig in!

The broken link building plan works around finding links on other websites that are no longer valid. In other works, a website is linking out to a page/post on a website that’s no longer there. Perhaps they deleted the page and failed to setup a 301 redirect or the website is no longer live.backlinks for new website

Using scanner apps that can check sites for broken links on a website, it’s possible to find pages or posts with outbound links that go nowhere. Once a list has been built, a plan can be devised. Either you already have a published article which would be a great replacement for the link, or you can have one written, publish it and then get a link to that new article put in place of the one that isn’t resolving any longer.

  • See What Your Competitors’ Are Doing

Finding good backlinks to go after is never easy. But if you look at what your competitors’ have already done, it gives you a leg up. Let’s say that you have a similar post to them where you’re reviewing aalmost identical collection of products. They could have one or more links pointing to their review and that same site might be willing to link out to your review too.

Using a tool like Ahrefs, it’s possible to enter the full URL of the site and post directly. The online SEO tool will then spit out information about how many inbound links that post has. By looking up the backlinks page, it’s possible to get a full list of all the visible backlinks pointing to the page. At that point, an assessment can be made as to which links are valuable and worth trying to get the same or similar link for your post, and which are low-quality and best avoided.

Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to!

  • HARO

Help a reporter out (HARO) is a network for journalists who need reputable sources. When you read an article in Forbes where they’ve gotten quotes from people in the industry that the article is reporting in, these usually use established contacts. The reporter gets new information and the brands mentioned received a bit of promotion and often a backlink too.

The benefit with HARO is that articles by journalists tend to be published on good reputation websites like newspapers where they have a high domain authority and page authority. This makes these links very valuable. Google also pays attention to brand mentions within an article even if their site wasn’t linked to.

  • Reddit & Industry Sites

Reddit and other conversational sites are good places to get links pointing to your site.

Not every link needs to be a do-follow one. After all, most websites have 60% do-follow links and 40% no-follow links that supposedly Google ignores. Therefore, it’s necessary to get a good bunch of no-follow links so that your new site looks natural to avoid getting penalized for unnatural link building.

A Final Word

When adding backlinks to a new site, it’s important to space them out. Too many, too fast looks unrealistic and risks a penalty from Google. Rushing to rank too soon is just as bad as not bothering with backlinking at all.

In terms of the anchor text – the text within the link itself – it should only have a low single-digit percentage of relevant terms. Mostly, links should be brand or site related. This is normal and expected. Therefore, most backlinks will have the name of the site, the URL, and a bunch of mixed terms that don’t help rank the site for valuable search terms. And then a few powerful links that do help rank for commercial terms. It’s all in getting the balance right.

Importance of SEO for Small Businesses

SEO (or search engine optimization)is the process of attempting to rank higher in Google and other search engines for chosen search terms (referred to as keywords). These keywords reference topics or products that are of most interest to that small business.

For instance, an international travel agency might wish to rank highly for ‘cheap flight to Malaysia’ because they already sell many such flights to walk-in customers or have particular expertise In Malaysia as a vacation destination. SEO can help with that intention.

Here are some of the reasons why SEO is of importance to small businesses:

  • Free Organic Search Traffic

When it comes to traffic, there’s freely generated traffic and paid traffic.

Free traffic is termed that way because the business doesn’t have to pay a provider for said traffic, i.e. when ranking well in Google for ‘cheap flight to Malaysia’ no money is paid to Google if ranking in the top 5 search results.

Paid traffic such as spending on paid advertising across travel websites or Google, Twitter or another website costs money for small businesses. They have to run an ad campaign and make more from the profits on the new customer deals than the advertising costs, labor & other related costs associated with the activity. A significant percentage of paid ad campaigns lose money when factoring in all the very real costs involved.seo services for small business

  • Brand Visibility

Brand visibility is important, especially for small businesses that lack the funding to pay for ongoing ad campaigns to build brand awareness through TV and magazines advertising methods.

By ranking well for topical search terms, potential new website visitors (and eventual new customers) get to see the brand perhaps for the first time. As such, ranking high in Google & Bing search engines through the use of SEO can massively increase brand visibility over a short 12-month period.

  • Site Optimized for Readers

While it’s possible to optimize a site for SEO purposes, these days the best approach is to design and optimize a site for the visitors. While the site must be accessible by automated services like the Googlebot spider that crawls the web to find new sites and content, the main consumer of content is still humans.

When optimizing a site to make it better for usability, fast to load, with good navigation and clear links to relevant internal (and external) pages, the visitor is encouraged to stay for longer. And when visitors look at more pages and remain on the site longer, this is a significant ranking signal to Google and other search facilities. It says that their initial recommendation about the site was correct and it’s proving popular. In response, they often boost the ranking of the site once they see the time on site is significant and rising created a virtuous circle of rising benefits.

  • Return on Investment

While organic search traffic appeals to some small businesses on a limited budget due to the fact that it’s free, for others they’re looking more to the medium and long-term. The news is also good for the ROI with search compared to other sources like social media or paid traffic in all its forms.

The time and financial investment in SEO are significantly less but deliver a healthier return when viewed over a 1-3-year period. Growing traffic figures and rising income from gradual increases in ranking positions starting usually when the site is out of the Google Sandbox (a delayed ranking process that continues until 4-8 months post-launch) provides a meaningful ROI. Indeed, growth in traffic can double or more within a short time once the site begins to really take off.

  • Conversion Rates

Conversion rates are only usually important to e-commerce websites. That’s a mistake. Every new visitor arriving because of SEO should be provided an optimized experience. It’s necessary to capitalize on every free visitor or the opportunity created by SEO will be lost.

Business owners and their teams must look at what they earn per customer and per 1,000 customers. Compare this to industry averages. Track data points week to week; month to month. Whilst there will be seasonal differences and holiday surges too, it’s possible to look for trends.

Consider using a heatmap on your site to see what areas visitors spend time on. Look at those pages to see how they can be improved. Perhaps adding better quality content or expanding it. Include images, slideshows, or video content which all appeal to both visitors and the search engines.

SEO assists business owners in getting as much free traffic as possible. Without a focus on SEO, businesses lose potential visitors some of whom would have become new customers. Instead, businesses spend money on expensive advertising to locate new customers pushing up their customer acquisition costs. With SEO, the customer acquisition costs are close to zero. For small businesses trying to survive the early years or grow their customer base, they should be emphasizing SEO to boost traffic levels. It’s a hugely cost-efficient way to operate, especially in the early years.