Where’s the SEO advice for startups?

I read a blog post today that really resonated with me. Rand points out that a lot of startup advice doesn’t mention SEO. As someone trying to get a new startup off the ground I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how best to market it. Now we don’t have much money to spend on traditional marketing, and as we are a web based business it makes sense to do most of our marketing on the web. How come others don’t consider SEO when planning their marketing campaigns?

I’ve seen other online businesses cover every bus stop around with expensive advertising, plough money into radio and print, and still not rank on first page in google.

In the world of internet where there are such low barriers to entry (building a website is comparatively cheap compared to starting up a bricks and mortar business) and you are going to be playing in a crowded market place – what are your differentiators?

Will you be ignoring SEO?

Simple ASP.NET SEO Enhancement

As many people have mentioned one of the most important (and easy) SEO related enhancements you can make to your site is to use a unique title and meta description on each page.

In ASP.NET 2.0 the page title is easily set either via either the title attribute of the page directive in the markup, or by setting it directly in code e.g

this.Title = “my unique title”;

Creating a unique meta description is slightly more involved but still pretty straight forward.

HtmlMeta metaDescription = new HtmlMeta();
metaDescription.Name = “description”;
metaDescription.Content = “my unique description”;

These are two of the simplest and quickest SEO related enhancements you can make to your ASP.NET site – you’ve really got no excuse not to!

How good is your content?

The market I am planning to play in is geographically constrained. Because of this there aren’t many competitors at this stage in the game which, initially you would think is a good thing. However this particular market can only support a small number of players, and because there are already established businesses operating and building brand recognition it will make my job as an SEO all that more difficult, but subsequently much more important.

I firmly believe that the defining factor will be the quality of the content provided. The value the customer perceives they are receiving by using one site vs another will ultimately dictate where their brand loyalty lies. Rand covers this quite well in this video.

Something web users are slowly coming to realise is that most markets are flooded with poor quality copies and once you find a site that produces quality content in the area you are interested in you stick with it.

SEO Newbie

I have a new super secret project I am working on and as a result I am learning a great deal of new skills. It is a web based project and to that end I have started reading up on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) with a view to applying these new skills in the near future.

The first thing that strikes you as a SEO newbie is where do I start? There seems to be a mountain of information out on the web, but as always sorting the wheat from the chaff is not easy. Also, a lot of the blogs assume quite a bit of domain knowledge. There don’t seem to be too many people answering the really simple questions like “what exactly is a keyword?” and what does SERP stand for? (Search Engine Results Page by the way).

To that end I am going to start posting any little tid bits of information that I think might be useful to a real SEO newbie in the hope that I might help someone short cut the whole process somewhat. To start off with, here is a list of blogs that I’ve found to be really useful and contain well written and insightful content:

Lots more to come on this topic, and hopefully I’ll be able to provide some insight on SEO considerations specific to ASP.NET development soon.