How to approach SEO for a new website?


We have just launched (yesterday actually!) a website for our startup - providing mobile and Facebook app development services. Sales will totally drive from leads generated from the website. Therefore SEO is of highest importance to us. However, we have limited funds for investing in SEO and finding the right ethical white-hat SEO professional (who are not scammers - considering there are so many SEO self-proclaimed experts out there) is always a challenge. One safe option (but will probably take too long) is that I get myself trained in SEO (I have a background in technology).

In this scenario, what would be our best approach towards SEO.

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asked Jul 21 '12 at 17:21
179 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

6 Answers


The only thing that really makes a difference in organic SEO matters these days is quality content and links to your site (from other good sites i.e. not mass-ad sites).

I don't know what your business is going to be about but you should think about how to get generating useful content for your users, in a broader sense than only the services that you provide.

For example, if I had a site offering phone unlock services, I might start writing a wiki or knowledge base about how it works and why carriers block phones in the first place - in simple words. Something that is useful to your potential customer both in general knowledge and in the scope of your business.

Another good thing is publishing papers and stuff related to what you or your development team is doing. A lot of big web agencies tend to develop some internal library and later open-source them; then they write a blog about updates, ways it works and how it's useful, etc.

If your content is interesting and useful, then people that have directly or indirectly worked with your company's products will almost certainly start mentioning and linking the reads in blogs, facebook, twitter, you name it. That's the best external SEO you get.

Apart from that, good internal SEO techniques are also important. Make sure all your pages are accessible to the google bot (at least the ones you want google to crawl), include good keyword headers and decent titles. Read the google webmaster blog to learn how to make your content semantic and how to write smart (include the most important keywords in your text, without bloating).

Paid advertising still renders traffic, but it's your job to make that traffic stick and make people come back to your site and make it attractive to new visitors.

PS: Don't hire SEO experts unless you need some very specific advice from them (e.g. how to make shebang style URLs accessible to the google bot). In my experience, even if they're not a scam as per dictionary; everything they know you can find on the internet by yourself.

EDIT Regarding your question in the comment; think like this:

  • Q: What topic do you want google to associate your content with?
    • A: Android and iPhone Applications. Facebook Applications.

  • Q: Who talks about that topic on the internet?
    • A: Other developers. Mobile-devoted communities.

  • Q: What's useful content for other app developers?
    • A: Tipps and tricks, experiences (both positive and negative), code snippets.

  • Q: What's useful content for mobile communities?
    • A: Updates, new app features, releases.

A good start would be to set up a categorized blog, on Wordpress or some other well-known blogging system (they have good integrated SEO facilities). Then think of your first project (or some recent one if you already completed some) and share your thoughts and experiences. It doesn't have to be an endless read, 2 or 3 paragraphs is already enough.

Suppose one of your iphone apps got turned down at the apple store for design issues (pretty common thing). What was the reason? How did you feel about it? What steps did you take to solve it? How did you deal with your client's deadline? Make sure to include the e-mail you got from apple somewhere so people that get something similar can google it and find a solution on your site.

answered Jul 21 '12 at 18:16
435 points
  • Thanks Tom for your valuable reply. Basically we are mobile and facebook app developers. You are correct - having useful quality content can get us best SEO. Our target audience are individuals and SMEs who want to develop facebook, iphone and/or android apps. I am having difficulty in identifying what to write and where to post in order to get to our intended audience. Can you please suggest any ideas about this. Your help is much appreciated. – Ali 12 years ago
  • updated the answer ;) – Tom 12 years ago
  • Thanks Tom! Excellent answer with brilliant ideas. Totally appreciate your help. – Ali 12 years ago
  • Good answer, thanks. – Kosta Kontos 11 years ago


  1. Search for websites that have a supporters page for those who donate: donate.
  2. Submit your site to webpage galleries, app galleries and startup lists.
  3. Submit screenshots of your site to Deviant, Flickr, etc--they also have web site gallery sections...and while the links may be no-follow, people do repost links they like. (There are submission services that will send your site to hundreds of galleries. Google it.)
  4. Create a blog that is a subfolder (rather than a sub-domain) on your site so that Google juice stays on your main domain.

    • Interview/mention/review people/businesses related to your industry (they will invariably post a link to your site on their blog)
    • Try to generate content (link bait) that is design related and post it on sites like
    • Do a search for "Design Community News" to find other sites that showcase user submitted links
    • Buy tweets from people related to your industry--direct those tweets to your articles that people will want to share.
  5. Posts messages on forums that allow signatures. Don't talk about your business. Just have regular conversations. (Or buy link signatures from sites like WarriorForum and Digital Point Forums)
  6. Submit your site to free/deals sites like TheFreeSite and RedFlagDeals (if you don't have a free offer, come up with something. It could be as simple as an ebook.)
  7. Start a kickstarter project (or join some other crowd sourcing site) related to your company. It's a good way to gain attention and people might link to you.
  8. Submit your site to directories like HotScipts (Remotely Hosted section) if you have a web app.
  9. Get interviewed by bloggers. They don't have to be big names.
  10. Generate press. Conduct a survey, offer a contest, whatever...just do something that will get you noticed in a big way.
  11. Pitch yourself to LifeHacker, Mashable, etc.
  12. Blog about your business (the industry and/or the company itself) -- Share your insights, hopes, fears, trials and tribulations. (Drive traffic to your blog using aforementioned steps).
  13. Showcases and Testimonials. Say, you use WordPress try to get listed in teh showcase section of If you use some other product or service for your business try to submit a testimonial that is featured on their site (with a link to your business).
  14. Position yourself as an expert in your field. Join HARO (and similar organizations) so that reporters might use you as a source for their articles (while dropping the name of your business).
  15. Search answer sites (StackExchange, Quora, Yahoo) for terms related to your business and shameless promote your services to people who are specifically looking for what you offer (while disclosing your relationship with the comoany).
  16. Create a funny video that explicity (or vaguely) promotes your business.
  17. Create some controversy. Get people to hate you and then tip off the press to write about.
  18. Get mentioned in your local paper.
  19. Also target niche papers related to any group/community that you are connected to (race, age, gender, religion, region, whatever...)
  20. Once you have done all of this. Get listed on Wikipedia. (Make sure you have lots of third party sources to cite in your article or they wiill delete your page).
  21. Sponsor local events. Some local photography competition or group (it doesn't even need to be local to where "you" live)...just make sure they offer a link on their page. Note: Sponsoring a small town event can cost as little as $200. Be creative. Use Google.
  22. Find blogs that mention products/services related to your business and post in their comment section (and even ask if they could review your product).
  23. And of course, submit your link bait to Yahoo, DMOZ, Digg, Reddit, Slashdot, etc.
  24. And of course, optimize your titles, headings, anchor text, etc.

*I've had a lot of success using varying combinations of these tactics. Recently, one of my sites got a Google Pagerank of 5/10 in just a little over six weeks after registering the domain--mostly, by interviewing my peers and posting on forums. You don't need to spend any money to get love from Google, you just got to work like a dog.

**. Stay away from mass directory submission services that get your listed on thousands of sites. The directories they submit to are worthless.

* Also, don't bother releasing free WordPress themes. I have over a hundred sites linked to one of my themes, but when I search for my theme, it doesn't even show up in the top 100 results. So imagine my credit link back to my site isn't doing me much good.

answered Jul 25 '12 at 09:45
357 points
  • Hey Richard, THANKS! You have not only answered my question, you have actually gave me a whole workable plan. Thanks a bunch! I will work on these items and may be we can connect offline so that I may inform you about my success :) – Ali 12 years ago
  • +1 - best answer on the thread, imho – Warren 12 years ago
  • +1 "you just got to work like a dog" - this is a very important point for new web site owners. Link building part of SEO (vs site/content optimizations, see my post below) takes time and a lot of leg work, so if you decide to do it yourself make sure to allocate time for it and be patient about seeing results. Also, the post above explains how to get links to your site, but not how to rank how for certain keywords. If you are in a very competitive space you need to make sure link anchor text uses keywords, not just your name (in a signature). – Webbie 12 years ago
  • Thanks webbie for further elaborating this. Really appreciate that! – Ali 12 years ago


SEO takes a long time to build. Maybe up to 6 months before you reap the rewards. I agree with Tom that the best approach to this is creating content related to the service your are providing. Start a blog but don't write with the intention of selling. Instead write with the intention of helping others solve their problems. You will eventually build a reputation in your industry and people will start referring to you.

Now since your website has already launched, you are probably eagerly looking for visitors and can't afford to wait for 6 months. If this is what you are thinking, then go for paid advertising to get yourself quick prospective customers.

If you are looking for a good resource to learn SEO by yourself, check out

answered Jul 23 '12 at 03:59
56 points
  • Thanks Jason for your reply. Unfortunately we can't go to paid advertising option due to limited budget. Our intended audience or customer base is SMEs and individuals and we are trying to identify what kind of content we should write and where to post it in order for it to be reachable by our customer base. If you any ideas about that, please suggest. Thanks a bunch! – Ali 12 years ago
  • Start your own blog and write about things specific to your SMEs who might be interested in apps. Some topics I can think of "5 Ways to Leverage Mobile Apps for Your Business", "How to Build Movile Apps with No Programming" (I know this may be in conflict with your business but this is only helping people build simple apps. If they need customized apps they will come to you) or "Engaging Customers with Facebook Games". These are just quick ideas but to really find out what your target audience are searching, use the Google keyword tool and you will get a better idea of what to write. – Jason 12 years ago
  • Thanks Jason for sharing ideas about blog posts. They are just brilliant and exactly what I was looking for! Thanks a lot! – Ali 12 years ago


When starting out with SEO for a new web site you need to understand the basic strategy, goals, metrics and finally tasks that will deliver you the desired results. Understanding the basics will help you decide if you should do it yourself or hire a consultant/firm to do it for you.

There are 2 main activity tracks within SEO:

  1. SITE OPTIMIZATION. This is what many free and premium SEO tools
    analyze, so naturally is what most people start working with. It

    a) Content optimization work : making sure site content is
    keyword-rich and original, titles and descriptions of pages are
    optimized for length and describe your content well. This is a task
    for your content writer.

    b) Basic site architecture : URL structure,
    redirects, link format, and finally code implementation (making sure
    your site is indexable). c) A mix of the two. If your site has a lot
    of dynamic pages, you will need to generate page titles and
    descriptions automatically based on a template, so your content
    writer and engineer/developer will need to work together to figure
    out the best formula.

    TIMELINE. This will depend on how often your site is indexed by
    search engines. While for new sites the frequency can be only once a
    month, some established sites can get indexed by Google daily. So, if you make content optimizations
    to your pages you could see results as soon as your site is

    WHEN TO DO. As soon as you start building your web site (before
    launch) and on ongoing basis after launch. If you haven’t
    registered a domain name yet, consider choosing a name that uses a
    keyword for your product or market; this can become a heavy
    competitive advantage later on.

  2. SITE PROMOTION. This is basically work done towards improving a
    site’s rank, mainly via link building as well as trust building.
    This work is of marketing nature, so learning about various
    marketing techniques adds an advantage.

    There are many different ranks that SEO tools check for. I tend to
    focus on these two:

    a) Google’s Page Rank (aka PR) that uses a 10-point scale. This rank
    doesn’t change often – only 1-3 times a year – so there is no point
    in checking it obsessively. It is one of many factors that affect a
    site’s position in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Result’s Page) and
    can be used to evaluate your competition, among other things.

    b) MOZrank that SEOMOZ describes as a “link popularity score.”
    It uses a 100-point scale and updates about once a month, so it can
    be very useful in evaluating progress on your SEO efforts. If you’ve
    never heard of it, go check your site’s MOZrank using Site

    TIMELINE. To see the results of your link building work will take
    some time: at least a month and possibly many months. This is
    because your efforts might or might not translate into the results
    you seek, and you will not have full control over the entire

    WHEN TO DO. I suggest to start before you are even ready for a full
    launch of your web site. And never, ever stop.

SEO Tools:, DIYSEO, SEOMoz ========================================

The answer above is a partial repost of my blog post - Introduction to SEO for startups (explains metrics and timeline): To get started with site promotion and link building without spending any money, see my other post - Free link building for beginners (do it yourself, no-cost SEO):

answered Jul 24 '12 at 08:38
2,835 points
  • Thanks webbie for your detailed answer. Links to your blog were very helpful. Appreciate your help. – Ali 12 years ago


In my experience with the various startups I've worked for, you have to know when to spend your money on SEM.

Don't blow your money just to say you did -- use tools to determine appropriate keywords and spend on them while building a content base.

Also, a really, really profitable portion of our SEO came from the fact that we did a lot of research on the keywords used by our competitors. A lot of the time you can get a feel for whether or not your keywords are as useful to your SEO as you think by simply comparing them against those of your competition.

Also, look at those who kick butt at SEO and do what they do. For example, the stack exchange has struck the right balance of user generated content and URL structure that allows for search indexes to totally drive new users to existing content... all while the content base is exploding in size. its a fundamental strategy that makes the odds for SEO success insanely high.

answered Jul 24 '12 at 01:03
141 points
  • Thanks Krisitian for sharing your thoughts. You are right, keyword research is the first thing that we are going to invest our efforts in. Much appreciate your help. – Ali 12 years ago


Following Jason and Kristians comments, research and monitoring are extremely important. You cannot just "buy" optimization and expect it to work - constant tweaking is necessary to determine what keyword / optimizations work for your particular goals.

I would suggest focusing on three competitors and determine what it is that makes them "important" to you - is it transactions? SERP? Social presense? Usually its a combination of the three (and then some).

Then I would take the time to learn about the ongoing monitoring tools that help you make informed decisions (and train you in the process) I've used seomoz before - their tools and advice columns are high quality - and they seem to have a good feel for the startup space. Here's an example.

Of course, there are other providers out there - YRMV. Pick one and start learning. But constant, iterative analysis of your position and how it meets your business goals is an important step.

answered Jul 24 '12 at 04:40
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • Thanks jimg for sharing your thoughts. Appreciate your help. – Ali 12 years ago

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