SEO in under 10 minutes

for startups

Maile Ohye

Developer Programs Tech Lead


Startups better qualified for this talk

  • Have their main content below 50ish pages

  • Hope to rank only for a handful of related terms


  • Provide the basics in an efficient manner

  • Rest assured that you're not doing something totally wrong related to Search

  • Provide pointers for more information

Select www or non-www

Then 301 accordingly to consolidate indexing signals.

301 redirect

Verify ownership in Webmaster Tools

Enable email forwarding to receive critical messages from Google (e.g. hacked, malware, crawling issues)

"Using Webmaster Tools like an SEO"

Domain background check

Previously a spammy domain? Submit a reconsideration request through Webmaster Tools

  • "Keywords" listed in Webmaster Tools
  • Indexed with a [] search
  • Rank when searching for domain name

Webmaster Guidelines:

Penalties and reconsideration requests:

Webmaster Tools: Fetch as Googlebot

Crawl then submit to index

Include analytics code

Start collecting data even if you're not ready to use it.

Strategy in site design

Consider users/personas for your site

  • Customers
    • Parents/kids
    • Developers
    • Enthusiasts
    • First-time vs. loyal customer
  • Investors
  • Press

Site strategy ideas

  • Utility: Does our site design meet the needs of each persona?

  • Navigation: If searcher lands on child page...
    • Can they figure out where they are?
    • Can they easily navigate to where they want to be?

  • Focused: Does each page contain one logical topic obvious to visitors?

Define your conversion

I want my <group foo> visitors to:

  • Sign up for the newsletter
  • Contact our bizdev lead
  • Buy our product
  • Try our product
  • Share our service

Make a relevant conversion possible on every page -- don't force users to make extra clicks.

Be smart about your copy

Include relevant keywords naturally in your text.

  • Include query terms normal people would use to find your product/business (e.g., "running shoes," not "athletic footwear")
    • Research common terms through Adwords keywords tool
    • Consider tag clouds and misspellings as fairly played out

Smart about copy (cont.)

  • Answer your visitors'/personas' questions
    • Is the product reputable? Show reviews, let users review.
    • What if it doesn't work? Explain customer satisfaction policy.

Every page should include

  • Unique topic
  • Unique title (displays in search results)
  • Unique meta description for the snippet
  • For non-dynamic sites: keywords in the filename, lowercase and hyphen separated

  • Descriptive anchor text for every link

Anchor text: Room for improvement

For more information on our product specifications, click here.

Anchor text: Good example!

For more information, please read our product specifications.


More info on sitelinks

Potential pitfalls

  • Hiring a rogue or shady SEO (if they guarantee anything, that's bad news)

  • Participating in link schemes or buying links to pass PageRank

  • Focusing more on site fanciness than having indexable/searchable text


  • Akamai study finds two seconds as customer "acceptability" threshold for e-commerce sites
  • Google aims for under a half-second

More info on performance and SEO


  • Check how you rank for your company name. (Hopefully #1 and with sitelinks.)

  • Understand how you rank for other terms through Webmaster Tools' Search Queries (again, video at

Ranking (cont.)

  • Get involved.
    • No one searches for your new kind of product or service? Perhaps prioritize finding a potential audience/community on existing forums, blogs, or social media sites.

To rank well, provide an awesome product or service, then attract buzz: natural links, +1s, likes, follows, shares...

Social media marketing

You likely have limited resources.

  • Think holistically: Create an identity on key sites, participate, connect users to entry point of conversion

  • Focus your energy where your audience hangs out

  • Play to your authentic strengths
    • CEO likes to tweet
    • Salesperson enjoys Facebook
    • Developer already on Google+, Stack Overflow


Even with great marketing

and terrific advertising,

valuable conversion still happens on your site.

Stay focused and make sure you're ready!

Webmaster and SEO resources

Please visit Webmaster Central:

SEO for startups in under 10 minutes - Google Slides