Minimum Viable SEO for Startups

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 08, 2013

What’s “minimum viable SEO”? That’s a term that has been discussed a lot lately by SEO experts and small business gurus alike. What it means is the minimum amount of SEO you need to perform on your website – especially if you’re a startup, but even if your website is an older site that’s never had SEO and isn’t ranking well.

5 steps to minimum viable SEO

Make sure your website is at least minimally search engine-friendly with these five techniques:

Titles: Each page should have a clear, descriptive title with an important (and relevant) keyword at the beginning of the title. Don’t leave your home page title as “Home Page,” and make sure you don’t have multiple pages with the same name.

Navigation Style: Use a bread crumb-style navigation structure. Having a bread crumb trail (for example, Home > Product Category > Subcategory > Product) allows Google and the other search engines to go deeper into your website and find more good content to index.

Domain Name and Branding: If you’re at the beginning of the website creation process and you didn’t purchase your domain name yet, be sure to get one with your brand name. Also, see if your brand name is available for use on Twitter and Facebook – and if so, snap it up. That’s an easy and free way to help ensure you show up on the first page of results for your brand.

On-page SEO: Make sure your on-page SEO is covered. That includes properly written meta tags, alt tags for images, subheadings with keywords (but not too many keywords), and good content that’s well-written and useful – not spammy and keyword-stuffed.

User-generated content: Provide ways to users to contribute content to your site. User-generated content such as reviews on ecommerce sites give the search engines valuable information concerning what a particular page is about. And of course, reviews aid the buying process by influencing other users to make a purchase.

SEO beyond the basics

Once your site has launched, you’ll need to promote it and build backlinks. Press releases, guest blogs, forums and social media are all good examples of ways to get web traffic moving in your direction. But these five steps to minimum viable SEO should help you get started, so you can at least achieve a high ranking for your brand and your main product.

SEO isn’t a one-time task, but rather an ongoing process. It requires time and dedication to quality, and to learning more about what the search engines like and what they don’t – and since that can change literally overnight, many businesses find it worth their while to engage an SEO consultant or professional SEO consulting firm.

But if you’re dedicated to performing your own SEO in-house and are able to put in the time and effort to learn about SEO best practices and do them on a regular basis, be sure to check out our blog post on using a 6-Step SEO Monthly Maintenance Plan for Small Businesses. Little improvements can add up to higher search engine rankings if you take the time to do the work!