At the beginning of your business journey, it can seem counterintuitive to invest time and money into SEO strategies, particularly when you don’t have a great deal of resources. When you take a moment to consider how most people go about making significant purchases, however, enabling users to find you online suddenly becomes one of the most important tasks you can undertake. SEO is more crucial to your startup than you might think.
Why Does SEO Matter?
As of January 2020, there were just over 4.5 billion active internet users, globally. That translates to billions of people, all with the potential to access your startup’s most critical details and perhaps eventually convert into the valuable clients your startup needs. Entrepreneurs are well aware of this fact, based on the hours of dedication put towards developing websites full of the products, services, and content these potential clients need.
To consider your product and service offerings, however, users must first be able to find you. Unfortunately, the internet landscape is likely cluttered with a vast assortment of other startups and established competitors providing the same assortment of offerings you do. Therefore, SEO efforts that hinge on bringing in qualified leads are a crucial component of any startup’s business plan.
Over time, you’ll build up a set of performance metrics that will not only justify your attention to SEO but continue to highlight areas of strength and need. Overall, you’ll want to show:
- Growth in organic search traffic. Depending on your business type and a host of other needs, you may want to compare year to year, month over month, or even week over week. In any case, the point is to highlight how your SEO efforts have affected the number of visitors to your website.
- Brand visibility across search result types. Aside from the basic search engine results page (SERP) text results, you can boost your brand by achieving results like answer boxes, video or image answers, People Also Ask boxes, and other types. These instances help to build your brand awareness, as well as expertise, authority, and trust (what Google likes to shorten as EAT).
- Inbound links. Eventually, your SEO efforts should increase your startup’s perceived EAT to the point where your content, products, or services may be featured on high-quality, third-party sites. These inbound links not only help augment your brand’s perception as an industry leader but help your SEO efforts as well by increasing your rankings and driving more site traffic.
SEO Basics For Startups
To work towards the performance metrics listed above, begin with a focus on the major, most actionable components of SEO and develop a broader strategy around them. Follow these steps to begin a simple SEO approach for your startup:
- Set goals. What is the purpose of your website? Whether it’s to sell a product or service, to get important information, to generate qualified leads for your business, to find investors, to promote a download or sign-up, or to find network partners, your website’s purpose will drive the SEO choices you make.
- Understand your target audience. Once you’ve determined your website’s purpose, you’ll need to decide who has to view your site in order for it to fulfill the goals you’ve outlined above. With a thorough understanding of your target audience, you’ll have insights into what drives them to seek your offerings.
- Perform keyword research. When a user enters a search query that’s relevant to your business, you want to ensure you appear on the SERP so users can access your website. The trick here is to find keywords relevant to your business and optimize your page to rank for them but avoid oversaturated (and expensive) keywords your competition has already employed. You can use Google Search Console, Google suggestions, and other branded keyword research tools to determine which will work best for you.
- Hone your website. First, ensure your website is technically sound, mobile-optimized, and up to speed. Then, optimize your website for your best keywords. Be careful not to overdo it; using too many keywords will get your website flagged, which is counterproductive to your SEO efforts.
- Add content and be social. In addition to your product or service descriptions and other page copy, you’ll need to provide informational content to engage users and improve your SEO keyword rankings. Whether you choose to provide a blog, a social media page, or a combination of the two, ensure your content is of the highest quality and incorporates the keywords you’re targeting. If your content is quality, other sites will likely link back to your page, further improving your SEO efforts as well as your authority on the subject.