5 SEO Rules of Engagement for Startups

Billy Portland
by Billy Portland 16 Feb, 2016

With the first month of 2016 in the books, there is much speculation concerning what changes will impact the SEO world this year.


While SEO is a dynamic industry, it's much more stable than most people give it credit for. There are rules of user engagement that will likely never change, starting with providing website visitors with relevant, high-quality content such as Mint.com did to get its name out there and rank higher on the search engine result pages.


Let's look at their strategy first and then discuss the five basic SEO rules of engagement for startups.


Mint's digital marketing


Thanks to good digital marketing, Mint.com is a recognizable name for most. The problem that Mint had, however, was presenting itself as an authoritative source of information on finance - especially in the beginning when it didn't have a huge marketing budget.


The Mint strategy involved tons of content marketing, social media marketing and, of course, SEO. The company first started out by creating a really good website. It was mobile-responsive, easily to navigate and such. The next step was creating content on various topics related to finance.


The financial blog of the company is inspiring. With tons of information regarding how to save money, tips and tricks on mortgage access and repayment. As long as it dealt with finances, Mint had that topic covered. With frequent updates to its blog, the company slowly became an authority on financial matters. The content that was posted on the blog was not limited to articles. Mint also created videos, podcasts, webinars and other relevant work. On top of that, this content was not limited to self-promotion but rather a majority of it was to help the reader benefit from it.


Principles to abide by


For those thinking of leveraging Mint's strategy and maximizing their content marketing investments, they will need to focus on the following rules:


1. Have an intention


Intention is everything in digital marketing. What is it that you want to achieve with your marketing campaign? For instance, Mint's intention was to be seen as an authority in the financial world. They became the authority and to do so they set up a fantastic marketing campaign that helped create quality experience for its audience. It is this audience that later became the Mint's customers.


2. Keywords are not everything


Gone are the days when you would create an article with the keywords "best restaurants" appearing three times so that you can rank favorable for that keyword. It is helpful to conduct keyword research, but SEOs should always write for users, not the search engines.


3. User experience is vital


Placing a lot of focus on user experience is the best way to succeed in digital marketing - SEO to be more specific. Internet users love content that they can easily digest. While longer content does tend to have SEO benefits to it, organizing your content so that it's easily scannable (e.g. numbers, bullets, subheadings) will ensure readers take the time to stay on your site and digest the content.


4. Size does matter


If you create an article that is 1,000 words long but it is boring, people will not read it. Consider repurposing longer-form content into videos, infographics and other visual content to supplement the longer content.


5. Mobile optimization cannot be ignored


You should never ignore mobile optimization. Provide your audience access to content regardless of device they are using.