If you’re like most startups, you’re always looking for ways to grow your business. And one of the best ways to do that is by optimizing your website for search engines. After all, what’s the use of having a great product or service if no one can find it? That’s where SEO for startups comes in.
By understanding how people search and using the right keywords, you can make sure your website appears at the top of the results page. And that means more visitors and customers for your business.
So if you’re ready to take your startup to the next level, read on for our tips on SEO for startups!
SEO for Startups: Why Does It Matter?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of making your content rank highly in search engine results. For instance, if you own a pet store, you’d want to rank for terms like “pet food” or “dog toys”.
If you want people to find your store, you’ll want to be listed on Google for searches like “dog toy shops in [your town]” or “where can I buy pet supplies near me?”.
SEO is important for startups because it is a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your site. By appearing on the first page of search results, you are more likely to get clicks from qualified users who are looking for what you offer. The goal is to convert these users into customers, which can help your startup grow.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. It goes beyond your landing pages and extends to your blog, social media, and other channels.
SEO is a long-term commitment that has compounding benefits. It can’t be “growth-hacked.”.
These benefits include greater brand visibility and discoverability online, greater brand authority, a marketing tactic that doesn’t cost much to maintain, the ability to target leads at various stages of the conversion funnel, and more.
As a startup, you’re probably aware of the stats.
Every 24 hours, 137,000 new startups are created—and 120,000 businesses close. While many are forced to close due to running out of money, others shut down because their marketing efforts have failed.
SEO is a great marketing tool for startups because it is affordable and easy to implement. Additionally, SEO can have a lasting impact on your business, providing results long after you’ve implemented it.
It is an affordable, easy way to start, and it continues to produce fruit many years into the future.
Wondering how search engine optimization (SEO) can help your startup? Look no further! We’ll walk you through the basics.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Before we dive into the steps you should take to optimize your SEO, you should understand the basics of what Google and other search engines look for.
While several factors contribute to your rankings, many can be broken down into a few main categories. These general categories of search engine optimization include:
- Content: If you want to promote your fitness application, then you’ll want to write content that people would be looking for. For instance, you might write about “how to do a push-up” or “best exercises for senior citizens.”
- Backlinks: Backlinks, also called inbound links, are links from an external site pointing back to your site. These are extremely valuable because backlinks are like reviews in the eyes of Google. The more links you have from good sources, the better you’ll rank.
- Technical SEO: Your website should be technically sound and load quickly on both mobile and desktop. Also, make sure the menus are well organized and the content is easy to consume.
While there are many other factors to consider, these serve as the base level understanding of what makes a quality page.
Most startup companies fail to use the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
According to research, 50% of venture funding is spent on advertising, not SEO.
The big problem? Most people despise advertisements.
The other problem is that 68% of consumers begin their buying experience with a Google search. Only 6% of those searches result in clicks on ads. The other 94% goes to organic results.
The other 94% of clicks go to organic search results.
If you’re not showing up in search results, you’re not getting the opportunity to convert customers and grow your company.
Should You Invest in SEO for Your Startup?
Before investing in any marketing strategy, it’s important to understand if it will be effective. If no one is searching for your product or service, then investing time and money in search engine optimization (SEO) might not be the best use of your resources.
Some businesses don’t have the time to wait around for SEO to start working. They need to get traffic now.
On the other hand, SEO for startups is a great investment because it works. You can rank for a super-high-volume keyword in three months.
Finally, as we know that search engine optimization (SEO) can take time, especially for a new business, it’s important to be patient.
Startup founders should focus their limited budgets on marketing activities that generate the highest return on investment (ROI) since they typically have small marketing budgets and a high monthly spend.
However, it’s also important to focus on foundational SEO activities so that as you start to get press and mentions online, you’ll reap the full benefits of each link.
Startup SEO Best Practices
There are different things you can do to improve your search engine optimization. You don’t have to do all of them at once, but you can pick a few to start with.
Trying to do everything right from the start is a mistake.
If you don’t have a large SEO budget, you’ll need to focus your efforts on a few key areas instead of trying to do everything at once.
When you have a larger marketing budget, you can increase your website traffic at a faster rate.
Don’t try to do too much at once or you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and your hard work won’t be as effective. Instead, focus on the 20% of your efforts that will give you 80% of your results. This is known as the Pareto Principle.
As you review the following startup SEO best practices, try not to get overwhelmed. Just pick a few to focus on, test, measure, and adjust as needed. This way, you can ensure that your SEO strategy is effective and efficient.
1. Choose an SEO Strategy
If you know why you need a website, you’ll know where to begin.
Startups are often too busy focusing on product development to spend much time on marketing.
But, it’s important to integrate a strategy at the beginning of a project.
As a startup, it’s important to have an understanding of where you are currently and where you want to be in the future. With this knowledge, you can develop a strategy with specific tasks that will help you achieve your desired goals.
2. Define Your SEO Goals
You need to establish realistic, attainable goals for search engine optimization. Most startup companies either aren’t given the right guidance or are so busy with the day-to-day challenges of running a business that they overlook this crucial step.
Figure out exactly what your goals are for this quarter or year.
What metrics are you trying to optimize? Is it search traffic to specific pages, the average time people spend on your site, the bounce rate, or something else entirely?
Once you’ve answered those questions, set yourself some goals that are realistic and attainable.
For example, ‘more’ is a word that lacks meaning unless a numerical value is attached to it.
Instead of saying more traffic, make it “increase your traffic by 30% in Q1” or “50% in 2020”.
When creating your SEO strategy, it is important to make sure that your SEO goals are aligned with your business goals. If you do not consider this, achieving your business goals through your SEO strategy would be nothing short of a miracle.
For instance, focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) while ignoring your business goals means you’re only concerned with getting lots of traffic to your website. This is a waste of time and energy.
3. Allocate Budget for SEO
Many startup companies often forget to budget for search engine optimization. If you want your optimization efforts to be as effective as possible, you should set aside some money for it from the start.
So, what budget should a startup have for search engine optimization? The majority of our survey respondents said between $500 and $5,000 per month.
But not every company can afford to hire an SEO firm for $5,000 a month.
If you’re working with a limited budget as an SEO for a startup, it’s important to focus on high-impact opportunities. This can be frustrating, but start-ups are especially vulnerable and need to make the most of their limited resources.
4. Start With a Strong Foundation
By starting your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts before building a website, you can significantly speed up the growth of your site.
If you don’t, you can end up suffering the exact opposite.
A startup’s website is often the first point of contact for potential customers. “Unfortunately, many founders are building their sites, which can result in a poor user experience.
Their site may not be optimized, have weak e-commerce, or contain a ton of technical errors.
Invest in a professional website designer. From there, it should be easy to update and manage it.
Many web designers and developers prefer to build sites a certain way, which can sometimes clash with your search engine optimization goals.
In cases like this, trust your SEO company!
If you want your website to be successful, you need to make sure it is visible to potential customers. You can have the most amazing website in the world, but if no one can find it, it won’t do you any good.
On the other hand, you could have a less than stellar website that is properly keyword planned and optimized and receive a ton of traffic and sales. Which would you rather have?
Make sure your technical search engine optimization is on point. This is the foundation on which your entire business is built.
If you can’t get this right, then nothing else matters. This is the core of everything you do: your content, your page speeds, etc.
Things to Avoid and/or Watch Out For
Now, let’s look at the mistakes startups make when building their sites—the worst practices that you should avoid at all costs.
1. Beware of Promises of Quick Results
Be wary of SEO companies that make quick results or mass-linking seem easy. Many agencies and freelancers will take your money without delivering results. Make sure to ask for previous results and solid proof before deciding on someone to work with.
A company’s worst enemy is its impatient nature when approaching search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is a long-term strategy
It will take a combination of efforts, including content, keywords, and backlinks, to make things work. And said things won’t work at the drop of a hat.
2. Avoid Blackhat SEO Techniques
Start-ups should be wary about using any ‘black hat’ or ‘grey-hat’ tactics” as these methods violate search engine guidelines and can lead to penalties.
Many companies claim to do ‘white hat’ or ‘organic’ search engine optimization, but few actually follow all of Google’s rules. Read their official guidelines for link building, especially their rules on ‘link scheme’ websites.
If you violate Google’s guidelines, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money trying to fix the issue. Be mindful of the risks before making any decisions.
When it comes to SEO, it’s important to be aware of Google’s guidelines and the potential risks of deviating from them. While it’s okay to take some liberties, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons before making any decisions.
3. Be Patient, But Not Too Patient
Regardless of how good your content is, it will take time to show up in the SERPs.
The delayed results can be frustrating for the obvious reasons (nobody likes to wait) but also because it makes it hard to pin down what’s actually helping.
If you’re not seeing results in 3-6 months though, you should reevaluate your strategy. That should be enough time to get some feedback.
This is especially relevant when you’re paying an SEO agency that says results are always a few months away. Eventually, you need to see results.
4. Watch Out for Outdated Techniques
Be wary of outdated SEO tricks and hacks. A few years ago, many of these tactics worked—or at least did not do much damage—but now they could seriously hurt you.
Techniques that worked a few years ago may attract penalties today.
The majority of folks writing about SEO aren’t true practitioners. A lot of what they are sharing is only based on a couple of experiences or what they’ve read or heard.
It’s important—even in whatever small way—that you measure and test. Or, if you decide to hire outside help, that they do.
Ideally, they don’t just say they do, they can also point to real-life studies they’ve published.
5. Avoid Unsuitable Tactics
Not all SEO strategies are good for everyone. For example, it’s extremely difficult for a new website to follow the skyscraper technique.
If you don’t have authority, people will be less likely to link to your website.
Find a strategy that is beginner-friendly and can be started with zero backlinks (i.e. long-tail-keyword-focused content marketing).
6. Don’t Strive for Backlink Quantity
Don’t make the mistake of going for too many links right away. It is nice to get backlinks, but getting too many in an unnatural manner won’t bring results.
It’s always best to create great content and focus on getting quality links—not bulk links.
7. Don’t Go After High-Competition Keywords
One of the things to be wary of, especially in the beginning, is going after high-competition keywords.
You simply will not outrank websites that have very high authority, so it’s best to go after lower-competition keywords.
When your site acquires higher domain authority, you can start going after those higher-competition keywords.
Don’t invest in content for keywords you can’t compete for yet. It’s a waste of time and money.
Just like starting to lift weights, don’t damage yourself: start slow, build up strength, and keep at it.
8. Don’t Pursue Traffic Blindly
B2B startups, in particular, should remember that SEO should be used to capture leads and not simply to generate traffic.
They should consider how they will maximize the value of their SEO efforts through lead generation via lead capture forms, live chat, and similar methods.
9. Don’t Do SEO Once
SEO is an ongoing process. All too often, businesses fall victim to the convenience of a set-it-and-forget-it mentality, and SEO simply doesn’t work that way.
SEO is a critical part of any tech startup’s growth strategy. By understanding how people search and using the right keywords, you can make sure your website appears at the top of the results page. And that means more visitors and customers for your business. So if you’re ready to take your startup to the next level, follow our tips on SEO for startups!