(Almost) Everything You Need To Know About On-Page and Off-Page Startup SEO

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This is a complete, comprehensive and up-to-date guide on SEO. In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to optimize your content
  • What is a semantic core
  • How to structure a website correctly
  • Everything about website loading speed and why Mobile is more important than desktop
  • All things Link-Building


To what your audience wants while searching something on Google, you need to follow these steps:

  • Develop an appropriate Semantic Core for your website.
  • Make sure that your website and pages have the appropriate structure.
  • Ensure mobile-friendliness of your website
  • Ensure the high website loading speed for both mobile and desktop
  • Properly distribute your keywords around a page and include appropriate HTML
  • Elements: Title, H1, H2, H3, and Description.
  • Use short and clear URL for your pages
  • Place description with keywords to image alts
  • Use Schema Markup to increase CTR

You can secure 50 Organic Visits per day for a relatively new website with good on-page optimization, but it’s nothing if you want to generate high revenues stably and significantly reduce your monthly marketing budget. For that, you need to go Off-Page.
The best sources for backlinks are submits, Crowdmarketing, Guest-Posting, Partnerships and Press Releases.

Ultimate Guide to Startup SEO: How to deal with On-page and Off-page SEO?

In digital marketing, like in everything, there are such activities that increasingly provide you with regular value and benefits after you properly invested your efforts in them at least once.

And basic On-page and Off-page SEO activities are the most prominent ones of them.



Obtaining the regular influx of FREE target traffic is the balm to the soul of every early-stage startup founder as you save money on lead generation, Customer Acquisition and feedback gathering.

So, it’s evident that as a startup founder, you should address SEO activities in the first place, and the sooner the better in this regard. You are probably wondering “how to get to the top of google search results”?

In this section, I’ll describe the basic On-page and Off-page search engine optimization for startup activities after the implementation of which, your startup will start receiving more and more target traffic through Organic and Referral sources each day.

On-page optimization of your website

On-page SEO refers to a practice of ‘optimizing’ web pages to help them rank higher in the search engines. The end goal here is to increase organic traffic to your site.

Similarly to professional sport, to get better visibility of the TOP teams and coaches, you must meet particular mental and physical requirements. Imagine that Google is a coach picking players (web pages) for its team (top ranking positions for a particular search query). If your physical characteristics (technical background, for example website loading speed) and mental ones (content) isn’t player material — appears to be what searchers are looking for — you will not even be in the game, let alone have the chance to win (be ranked #1).

So how do you figure out what your audience wants while searching something on Google?



Well, it is not rocket science.

A) Develop an appropriate Semantic Core for your website.

It signifies the carrying the keyword analysis, running competitor analysis, and then, creation of a list with relevant keywords your website should rank for to get the target traffic. I have already described what is Semantic Core and how to build it in section 1.2. of our Ultimate Guide to Essential Marketing for Startups.

Soon, I am going to release a separate, more precise article, focused on the process and various approaches to Semantic Core design. Stay tuned and subscribe to updates not to miss it.

B) Make sure that your website and pages have the appropriate structure.

Obviously, Google analyzes pages to understand if they can provide a person searching for particular things with the highest value – right answers. And if your website/webpage isn’t logically structured or does not contain enough information that may be useful for a searching person, there are no chances that Google rank you at TOP 10. Of course, a situation if there is no competition is an exception.

Here is an example of a good website (header) and page structures below.



On this webpage, a visitor gets as much information about the given product as possible: information about the product, its images, link to customer reviews and FAQ, prices and the good variations like amount, flavor, etc.

In terms of the website, there is a convenient navigation at header with links to all major website pages, website localization drop-down menu, global search around the website, and of course categorization of goods (Health & Households/Sports Nutrition/ Protein/…/…/).

Eventually, this perfect website & pager structure enables you as a webmaster to place a lot of relevant keywords on visible places.

All of it tells the Google robot that your website may be utterly useful for a person searching for Whey Protein or Sports Nutrition. Therefore, thanks to appropriate optimization, this page has all abilities to be ranked at TOP 10 by many keywords by default.

To achieve this, you are to do the two main things


  • Analyze the best website and pages structure practices of your competitors and take the best ones for your website;
  • Imitate behavior of your potential website visitor to understand what he/she wants to find and how you can better convert or upsell something to this person.

C) Ensure mobile-friendliness of your website



Today, mobile adaptiveness is a MUST for any website intended to interact with visitors, achieve a high conversion rate, as well as be ranked at TOP 10 to ensure constant influx of FREE organic traffic.

According to Statista, 51.65% of Global Internet traffic is mobile traffic.
What does it mean? If you don’t have mobile user-friendliness on your website, then, its Bounce Rate (BR) will be very high, moving to 100%, while conversion rate will be very low going to 0%. In other words, most people will leave your website as soon as its first screen is loaded on their smartphones or tablets. Today, the Internet users have a great deal of choice and as a result, high requirements to the websites. Also, all of us experience a lack of time due to the fast pace of the digital world. So, nobody wants to interact with a web page if it’s not convenient for usage and information search.
Moreover, mobile friendliness – one of main Google’s ranking criteria today. Google also recently began rolling out their mobile‐first index, and they have confirmed that mobile page speed will be a ranking factor going forward. Therefore, without mobile friendliness your chances to be ranked at TOP of Google search are very moderate.

D) Ensure the high website loading speed for both mobile and desktop



Similarly to mobile friendliness, the loading speed of our website is an important decision making factor for both the Google search robot and website visitors. In fact, Google states that 53% of users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So we would suggest aiming for 2 seconds or under as a general rule. Moreover, Google’s official position on website loading speed and optimization is the following: They spend their resources (electricity, computational power, etc.) to crawl through your website for free. So, if the website is optimized (consumes less time and efforts to be crawled) then Google will rank it higher, to “repay” the efforts of “making their life easier”.

  • To improve the loading speed for your pages, you should start by analyzing a web page in Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. It will analyze your page and give some optimization suggestions.
  • Reduce size of images. Apply plugins like Shortpixel in WordPress, which is free up to 100 images/month, to compress and optimize images automatically, on the wing.
  • Eliminate useless HTML tags and lines of code. Each redundant character of HTML has to load as well. If you’re utilizing WordPress, use the text editor instead of the visual editor. It’ll minimize the amount of excess, redundant HTML code on your pages. You can learn more about WordPress SEO here.

Mind, you shouldn’t get obsessive over page loading speed. Despite there’s no limit to perfection, it’s okay to have 70-95 points to be positively perceived by the crowd and Google Crawl robot.

E) Properly distribute your keywords around a page

Include appropriate HTML Elements: Title, H1, H2, H3, and Description.
Frankly speaking, these elements are the first at which Google searches and users look. Therefore, you have to place the main keywords of your blog post semantic core to Title and H1. H2, H3, and Description are for secondary keywords. In addition, these elements force you to keep a logical & hierarchical structure of your web page or blog post. The main idea is to make everything look organic in terms of the meaning – you must not just stuff these places with keywords. Instead, you have to come up with an interesting Title and Headings for your article. So the priority is the following: firstly it’s relevant content, and secondly it’s appropriate keyword stuffing. Though what you’re looking for is a combination of both points.

Here is a guide-table you should follow while distributing hour keywords around the page.



Mind, along with keyword search volume, you also should pay attention to KD/competition to ensure high ranking and impressions of your page (To learn more, go to the 1st section/Semantic Core).

According to my personal experience, the best places to put keywords are Title, H1, Paragraph after H1, and H2. It’s better to select 3-4 main keywords to focus for successful Search Engine Marketing promotion of a page. Nevertheless, you should also take low-volume and low-difficulty keywords to place them on the rest space of the webpage.

For instance, look at HTML Elements of the RGray blog article – How to Create an Enterprise-Level Corporate Branding for Your Startup



As you can see, TITLE and H1 (a blog post Title) can be different. It means that Google index this article for two different keywords simultaneously. In this case, they are “Create a strong company brand” and “Corporate branding for Startup”.
The same deal with H2 and H3. If possible in terms of meaning, each of them should address a certain keyword.

Meta Description – what people who google a particular term see when it comes to our position. It must be creative and perfectly describe what a blog post is about. Although it’s not an official ranking factor for search engines, it can influence whether your page is clicked on or not — therefore, it’s just as important when doing On-page SEO. Meta descriptions can also be copied over to social media when your content is shared, so it can encourage click-throughs from there, too

You should read more about the HTML elements standards (number of characters) for blog articles and pages – here.

F) Properly distribute your keywords around a page

Look at
Is it clear what that page is about just looking at its URL??

I guess NO.

What about this page?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s a landing page for getting an E-book on Design. That’s a good example of a descriptive URL – it tells you what you should expect from the web page.

It is good practice for on-page SEO due to the following reasons. First of all, people who search for something are most likely to click a website in the search result that best fits their search query. And descriptive URLs enable perpetuate your page as a clear one. Secondly, descriptive URLs will most probably include the keywords you want ro be ranked by.

According to Ahrefs, the most performing pages on the global web has >27 characters in their URL.



So, you should pay attention to this detail to not only increase the amount of incoming organic traffic but also Click-through-rate (CTR) to your website.


G) Place description with keywords to image alts

In fact, “8.1 million (3.3%) Americans have a vision impairment. These people might rely on a screen magnifier or a screen reader, or might have a form of colour blindness”.

To clarify, approximately 1 in 30 users of search engines experience a visual impairment and as a result may use a screen reader.

Why do I mention this while speaking about alt tags?
You’d better use Alt tags to describe your images to cover all possible segments of people (individuals search for something using image section or visitors using a screen reader) and gather more organic traffic. In addition, it will add to your website’s indexing by the Google robot because this text will be shown on the screen if your image loading fails.
The HTML syntax for Alt tags looks like the following:



Placing a keyword in Alt text and a file’s name would be a benefit, but you shouldn’t abuse it as the filenames must relate to the content of the image and related page. Do your best to describe your images as accurately as possible to ensure the best outcome in terms of SERP.



Eventually, just bear this in mind: Using descriptive alt tags and filenames for all images on your website pages doesn’t require much effort, but it’s totally worth doing.

H) Use Schema markup (where appropriate) to increase CTR

I see Schema markup as the best method to increase CTR of a website page. Schema markup means a wider and detailed search appearance of a web page in SERP. It enables people to notice and differentiate your webpage and among competitive ones and then, if it answers their question – click on it.

Here is a perfect example of how it looks like:



To make it more clear, look at the direct comparison.

Here is a page without Schema markup:



Here is a page with it. The additional elements are surrounded by red color:



Which web page would grab your attention more effectively?

I guess one with more relevant and structured information represented, clearly showing you about what this webpage is.

Besides, there is an opinion that Schema markup improves your indexing by the Google search robot.

So, the main takeaway here – to increase your CTR and Indexing in Google Search, you should take a little bit of effort to customize Schema markup on your website.

Read more about On-page SEO optimization tips here – SEO TIPS: HOW TO GET TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS IN 2020.

Unfortunately, performing only a perfect On-page SEO optimization for your website is not enough for getting a considerable amount of FREE traffic from the Organic Source.

Without a doubt, you can secure 50 Organic Visits per day for a relatively new website with good on-page optimization, but it’s nothing if you want to generate high revenues stably and significantly reduce your monthly marketing budget.

According to, 75% of SEO success is actually achieved by Off-page activities.



Each website has its own stats like Domain Rating, and the same goes for its pages – Page Rank or UR. Also, Referring Domains, Backlinks and Organic keywords your website is ranked by are crucial metrics.

Here is the website stats of our website – – represented above. It’s a young website, almost 6 months old, so the stats are relatively moderate now. But as you can see, they are increasing exponentially. The reason is that we have already done deep On-page SEO optimization according to the checklist from the previous section. But more importantly, we are also in the process of performing Off-page SEO activities at the moment.

What does it mean?

Here is the logic.

To obtain a considerable amount of organic traffic, gradually increase it over the time, and make it one of the most profitable marketing channels, you must be ranked at TOP 10 by as many relevant target keywords as possible.
To be ranked at TOP 10, your website needs good On-page SEO Optimization. But along with that, it must get authority and trust in the eyes of Google. How?
It can be achieved by gaining link-mass (relevant Referring domains & Backlinks) for your website.

How to understand this?

Imagine that your website is a new young intern having just joined your startup (Google Search) without any previous experience. What will be his/her salary and influence in the company (Organic traffic)? It’s a person who passed all interviews and test assignments (On-page SEO activities), and was eventually hired (Indexed by Google). Of course, you and your top subordinates will assign the employee with tasks (Traffic) to earn some money, however, these tasks would not be one of high significance (Target traffic by top competitive keywords and from Tier 1 countries). So, these duties don’t imply huge, tangible salary, bonuses and promotional opportunities. And to move to another level, the intern has to build social relationships in the company – gain trust and recommendations from his/her colleagues and bosses (other websites), as well as get profound experience in his/her work direction (increase number of pages and amount of quality content) to receive and successfully process significant number of visitors.

The same deal with Google Search robot and indexation of your startup’s website. The robot sees your website as an internet entity with zero start trust weight, who cannot get access to target traffic. And to get trust, you ought to be referred by other websites on the web. Besides, it’s VITAL to get links to your website only from platforms with a good Trust Rate, Domain Rating and Page Rank, and related to your industry and topic.

Gaining enough link-mass to achieve the global search dominance on the major keywords in your target topic – long and painstaking work. It may take months and even years.

However, as in everything, there is a minimum threshold passing with which you will start getting pretty good results in ranking by keywords with low, medium and even some of high difficulty.

All early-stage startups with young websites should follow the following ledger in gaining links to start ranking in Google Search at least by some of target keywords.



Here is the gradation of SERP competition by keyword difficulty one more time:



Mind that ranking of each page directly depends on its UR and number of relevant links referring to it. It’s like DR for the whole website, but for one page.

How can you get links?

It’s a long monotonous and scrupulous work that requires a lot of your focus and sometimes creativity. In most cases, companies outsource it to other professionals to save time and money, as well as not to lose on quality of the Off-page SEO.

Do you need help with On-page and
Off-page SEO? We’ll be glad to help
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But if you do decide to perform it on your own, here is a little guidance for you.

There are several sources of links for a website:

  • Submits:
    platforms where you can fill in the descriptive information about your company or product. Industry service provider/product aggregators, Recruiting websites, etc.
  • Crowd Marketing
    different forums and crowd platforms where you can interact with people, answer their questions and launch interesting queries. For example, Quora or Reddit.
  • Partnership Cross-linking
    all of us have friends. So, why not use friendship for mutual benefit? Ask your friends and partners for a link to your website in exchange for one from you.
  • Guest Posting
    on the web, there are a lot of websites and companies whose goals means that they have to publish a lot of content. Maybe for getting more and more keywords they are ranked by =). Such websites will gladly place a link to any of your pages in exchange for relevant and high-quality content, meeting their requirements. It’s not so easy to achieve as you have to perform very strong content management, but it really pays off as along with the link, you will also obtain Referral Traffic through the link.
  • News Websites
    this type of web resources place links to websites serving as a source providing some valuable information or having interesting data. So, to get a link to your startup website there, you have to create a strong informational event that will be picked up by the media. You can perform some unique industry research, organize a unique event, announce huge breakthroughs or a loud partnership. As a rule, the media all the time repost news of each other – there is an opportunity to get more than one link from a trusted source. Read this case study as an example.

What you’ll lose if you don’t perform SEO for your on your startup website?

Opportunity to get a steadily growing influx of FREE target Organic and Referral traffic;
Good performance on user acquisition indicators like Conversions, CTR, BR, time spent on site, etc.
Reduction of marketing expenses, thereby, losing the ability to save the budget for testing new growth hypotheses;
Opportunity to get beneficial long-lasting partnerships.


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