San Diego Startup Week Series: Part 1 Website Design and SEO

What is San Diego Startup Week?

Now in its 5th year, San Diego Startup Week draws entrepreneurs, creatives and tech-savvy San Diegans to celebrate, and learn a few things, from our incredible start-up community.

It was my first time attending, and I'm stoked to share digital marketing tips that can easily be put to use in the outdoor industry to increase brand awareness and community engagement. This is part 1 of a 4-part series.

Designing a new website or rebranding?

One of the first sessions I attended at San Diego Start Up Week was the 3-Step Website Planning Guide. Led by Monica Moon of Elevated Digital Marketing, this was an engaging, get shit done kind of workshop. Very much my style. 

Lessons Learned:

  1. Spend more time in the Discovery Phase. Are you trying to reach millennials? Stay-at-home moms? Corporate executives? Create the specific persona you are trying to reach, and create content for them, not for yourself.
     
  2. If you already have a site, look at the analytics. Which pages are your top performers? Where do people drop off?  Use this to determine where to focus.
     
  3. Organize your content! Create a Google Doc for each page on your site and build a site map that makes sense for your audience.
     
  4. Tell your story!

Results: The last one really hit home for me. Our About Us Page listed our services, but nothing about my 20 years of experience working with sports and outdoor recreation organizations. Nothing that helped us stand out from others in the digital space. I finally got personal and added our story

 Why is the 'About Us' page often the hardest content to write?

Why is the 'About Us' page often the hardest content to write?

SEO (search engine optimization)

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO means designing your website for the highest ranking on search engines through natural, unpaid or organic means. John Bertino, The Agency Guy, was one of the first to tackle SEO at San Diego Startup Week. 

Lessons Learned:

  1. Keyword density is not the answer. Repeating your keywords dozens of times throughout your blog post or webpage is no longer the best way to get your content ranked.

    Google, Bing and Yahoo are now smarter, and use topic modeling and semantically-relevant terms to return your SERPs (search engine results pages).

    SERPs will be based upon:
    • variations of words or synonyms
    • context of search
    • perceived user intent
    • location and temporal or time-based patterns
    • natural, conversational queries
    • long-tail keywords
    • device used, operating system and installed apps
       

Example: Barack Obama

With the addition of the Google Hummingbird update, Google knows that the search entries below are all related to Barack Obama:

  • Who is the 44th president?
  • Michelle Obama's husband
  • Obamacare
  • POTUS
  • President who approved same-sex marriage
  • 1st African American president

Instead of keyword density, use topic modeling to boost your website content.

2.  Use Schema Markup, or a code applied to a webpage to identify certain terms on that page. Schema.org will show you all the different ways to markup your webpages.
 

3.  Cover a topic completely. Update your posts to make them more comprehensive. Answer more questions. 
 

To learn more: Check out John's blog post, Understanding Topic Modeling for SEO. Other sites he recommended:

 Thanks John Bertino for the best slide of San Diego StartUp Week!

Thanks John Bertino for the best slide of San Diego StartUp Week!