#SeedStage Startup Advice

SEO Learnings

Wed 19 Aug 2015
By Shan Lian

Improving SEO requires a lot of tweaking and experimenting. There's no one proven way to do it. What works for one company won't necessarily work for the next, even if implemented in the exact same way. Don't fall into the trap of comparing your site's search rankings with those of your competitors. Your best bet is to experiment with specific pages to see what changes you make impact your rankings and which don't.

Here are the five categories of to-dos we're always actively working on to improve our domain authority:



  • Title tags: Primary keywords need to be as close to the beginning of the tag as possible. This is a large factor for SEO. For example, we're changing our homepage's title tag to "Shipping API for E-commerce | Shippo" from "Shippo | The Shipping API for Ecommerce."

  • Edit URLs for our key content pages to ensure that they include the main keyword.

  • Move all urls with the word API in them up higher in the xml sitemap. The priority a page is given in the sitemap can influence ranking for that page.

  • 301 redirect all duplicate urls



  • Primary way to increase domain authority is to have more quality & quantity external links pointing to our site. PR would help us to get more brand mentions vs. proactive link-bargaining, which Google penalizes harshly.

  • If "shipping API" is our main keyword phrase, then getting people to our API Overview Guide and API landing page is top priority. To optimize these pages, we need to get as many links as possible pointing to them and to optimize the content for keywords like "FedEx shipping API" and "multi-carrier shipping API."

  • Increase internal linking across the site.


Site Design

  • Site architecture should be as flat as possible. The further core content is away from the homepage, the less authority Google will grant for those pages because it figures the content isn't that important. It's also easier for Google to crawl a flat site.

  • The universal nav bars should be consistent across all pages of the site and all important content should stem from there in one click.

  • In every case where we link to an external site, use a "no follow" tag as to not dilute our domain authority.



  • Stay up to date on keyword research!

  • Each of our main pages (homepage, shipping API Guide, Pricing, How-It-Works) need more content (keywords).

  • Create relevant pages for top keywords that don't have dedicated landing pages.

  • Add more keywords strategically to blog, sitemap pages, homepage, & API Overview Guide: use primary keywords, like "shipping API," 2-3 times per page for which we want to rank highly for that keyword.

  • Eliminate all duplicate content - duplicate content is one of the biggest SEO detractors.

  • In the blog & shipping resources pages, use a variety of anchor text to link to other key pages. Every blog post should link to a landing page. Don't duplicate anchor text.



  • Create child xml sitemaps for each of the categories in the blog & the shipping resources section - it's easier for Google to crawl and understand how the content relates to each other.

  • All images in gif, jpg or png format must be assigned "alt attributes" in HTML, e.g. API customer showcases.

  • Standard HTML links should replace any JavaScript (or accompany it) on each page needing crawling.

  • Any paginated series, like for a blog, should have rel next rel previous - that will enable SEO equity to be shared across pages.

  • Simplify urls so they're short & sweet.

Shippo is a multi-carrier API and web app that helps retailers, marketplaces and platforms connect to a global network of carriers. Businesses use Shippo to get real-time rates, print labels, automate international paperwork, track packages and facilitate returns. Shippo provides the tools to help businesses succeed through shipping.
Next post

Aug 26, 2015
Let Your Company Culture Flourish, Naturally

Previous posts

Jul 31, 2015
Shipping for C2C and P2P E-Commerce Marketplaces

Jul 15, 2015
6 Best Practices for E-Commerce Shipping

Sign up for the Shippo Blog

Receive emails with news and announcements we post on this blog.