SEO for Startups
SEO is a buzzword these days. Everyone is constantly talking about backlinks, high-volume keywords, and how to rank as high as possible in search engine results.
It’s easy for larger companies that are already established to get into the SEO game. They can draw on their existing presence and funds in order to set up and continually refine their strategies. Slapping a company blog onto a thriving e-commerce website or hiring a stable of freelance writers in order to quickly build your online presence with quality, SEO-optimized content is fairly straightforward.
But what about new companies? What about startups that are scrounging for every penny and have little to no momentum? After all, it’s hard enough tending to the endless list of responsibilities that go into starting a new company as it is.
If you are operating a startup, it can be helpful to get a broad view of the SEO world so that you can see where your company’s understandably limited resources can be best used in order to build online traffic and gain some exposure.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This, in a nutshell, is the process of creating and tailoring online content that aims at getting as much organic online traffic as possible. Good SEO helps boost your results on search engine result pages, also known as SERPs. Considering the fact that 95% of all web traffic goes to the first page of results, good SEO naturally leads more people to your site, your content, and your products.
What Startups Should Focus On
While SEO practices can be extremely nuanced, here are a few of the basic things that startups should be focused on as they formulate their first SEO strategy.
Consider Your Goals
Remember, good SEO doesn’t just deliver a ton of traffic — it brings you qualified traffic. As you begin creating an SEO strategy, it can be helpful to first take time to consider what, exactly, you want to get out of your efforts. Obvious goals include:
- Fostering brand recognition within your niche.
- Discovering potential customers and then fostering customer loyalty through in-depth custom content.
- Developing quality leads, which translate to sales and revenue.
Learn About Your Audience
Next, take the time to learn about your audience. You can lean on your own knowledge initially, but you should also conduct research within your niche or industry in order to see what questions people are asking and what knowledge is lacking. This will help you come up with content and topic ideas that answer a need and will be more likely to draw traffic.
Build a Company Blog
One of the best ways to start to build that SEO momentum is by setting up a company blog. Remember, this is a long-term strategy that won’t see thousands of new customers flocking to your site overnight. However, a thoughtful company blog can slowly but surely build momentum, which can be a huge boon for a startup during its early years.
SEO considerations while building your blog include:
- Keeping consistent with your content including images, fonts, voice, and tone.
- Making sure your content comprehensively covers each topic and keeps your customers in mind just as much as your SEO goals.
- Using a free tool to find keywords related to your topic and then including at least a handful of them in each post.
- Linking from content pages to other pages (especially product pages) within your site (internal linking) as well as quality external sources.
- Along with text-driven content, creating compelling infographics that can be quickly and easily shared by others.
Along with creating a “home base” of SEO content on your company site, make sure to take the time to network and interact with others across the internet. This can be done through:
- Setting up social media profiles on sites that are relevant to your business.
- Writing guest posts for other sites that include natural, well-placed links to your own site.
- Connecting with reporters.
- Finding influencers that you can work with to cross-promote one another.
Set Up the Back-End
While your content and networking are obviously important, you also want to have a game plan for the back-end of your site as well. The technical end of SEO can be incredibly complex, and it’s probably a good idea to get a professional SEO expert on staff as soon as you can afford it in order to help keep things running well. However, in the meantime, it’s important to take the time to do what you can right from the get-go. Important back-end elements include:
- Setting up a sitemap.
- Including title tags and meta descriptions for your content.
- Setting up a free analytics tool like Google Analytics in order to measure the effectiveness of your efforts and make adjustments where necessary.
SEO From the Start
SEO can feel like a huge undertaking for a startup. However, covering the basics can allow new businesses to take advantage of the raw power of SEO without breaking the bank on a complex strategy. Key activities — like creating a quality company blog, networking, and tending to some simple back-end metadata — can give your fledgling company a huge boost as it seeks to create some momentum and build towards a bright future.