There are only ten spots on the front page of a Google search — and be honest with yourself, when was the last time you ventured to page two? Maybe it was when you were writing a final paper as an undergrad and desperate for information because you didn’t read the material.

In fact, 91.5 percent of searchers stay on page one, while 4.8 percent stop after page two. That means if you want people to find your brand or product online, you are competing with every matching keyword from North America to South Asia and back again to get on that first page.

This is especially important for startups and fledgling companies — increasing visibility is, after all, an indicator of sustainability, which is something investors look for in a potential portfolio company.

So, what are some ways you can step into the spotlight with that 91.5 percent of searchers on page one?

1. Don’t overdo it

When incorporating keywords into content, don’t use so many keywords or phrases that it becomes obnoxious. That’s like jumping up and down in front of a personified Google saying “Pick me! Pick me!” Your readers will notice the overabundance of tags and phrases that feel forced. Remember, you can’t rely on search engines to do all the work for you, you want readers to work in your favor.

Think about it: When you want to go on vacation, do you search every amazing destination in the world , or do you trust your friends’ opinions based on where they’ve been before? If you want visitors to encourage others to go to your site, they need a reason to do so. Make sure your content is fresh, informative, entertaining, comprehensive, and understandable. If it’s not, no one is going to link to you on their social media sites saying “hey, check this out!”

2. Stick with the right link “community”

According to Emily Ahlbum at Emagine, not all links are created equal. As an “attempt to decrease the number of sites spamming search results, Google’s Penguin algorithm now penalises sites that buy links or obtain spammy links from link farms. To stay in the good graces of Google, focus on the inbound links to your website and avoid questionable link building tactics.”

Also read: SEO expert Frieda Lee explains where startups need to focus to drive sales

Don’t overwhelm your content with links to random sites for the sake of it, make sure they are relevant.

3. Don’t optimise every page 

Sean Si, Founder of SEO Hacker, has a hint for an SEO hack: your crawl budget. He says, “When you allow search engines to crawl and index MASSIVE pages in your site, it consumes the crawl budget that you are given. Google cannot infinitely crawl all pages of your site every day, you know?”

Pick which pages people don’t really need to see in search engine results, then “go into your robots.txt file and put a noindex/nofollow tab” on them.

4. Work with an SEO partner

SEO can be complicated, and there are always new things to learn. If you find yourself struggling to understand it all, or don’t have time to, there are people available to do it for you.

For instance, 180fusion markets itself as a company “dedicated to helping small businesses deliver results to their clientele.” The company focuses on driving traffic and turning potential clients into longtime business partners.

With proper strategy and execution, your SEO partner can help you stand out among the crowd by increasing your visibility online and also helping with customer retention. Aside from content strategy, link building, and organic SEO, companies like 180fusion can also utilise pay-per-click marketing services, which help ensure traffic even amid a competitive landscape. Even Google itself has vetted them and established a strong alliance (something certainly not all SEO marketing firms have), so all of your results will be legitimate and worthwhile.

Josh Jennings, COO of WriteyBoard, attests, “Our Account Manager was really friendly and easy to get a hold of, it was like he was almost waiting for me to call him. He explained things in layman’s terms, which a lot of SEO guys don’t to. Having 180fusion handle our SEO definitely freed up our time, and they do what they say they’re going to do.”

5. Consider an omni-channel approach

Companies like 180fusion also run e-commerce campaigns and help you with social media management. You have to be strategic about using social media—what should you post? When should you post? On what platform?

After all, people are more likely to stumble across your social media channels than organically finding your website by happenstance. While running your social strategy in-house might be inexpensive, you might get better results from professionals who have an in-depth knowledge of optimising social campaigns.

How do you plan to upgrade your SEO strategy?

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