Startups have a lot to overcome in the first year, especially with a minimal marketing budget and a ton of competition from established and trusted brands.
The only way to get ahead is with brand exposure – without it, the startup may not survive long enough to reap the rewards. A lot of money may be poured into product development or branding, but marketing can’t be neglected.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost-effective way to boost traffic and brand awareness, and one that should continue long after a brand is established.
Searchers don’t often look past the first page of the search results, however, so it’s vital that you show up there and catch their attention from the start.
What Is SEO?
SEO is a marketing strategy that seeks to optimize a business’s organic traffic to its website and content pages from the search results. This is not like paid ads, which put your business in front of searchers for a price. SEO is free traffic that happens organically when searchers look for related information.
The more you can provide value and answer queries for the relevant audience, the better your ranking will be. You can accomplish this with different content types that address your ideal audience’s needs, such as blogs, articles, videos, and other content.
Why Do Startups Need SEO?
Startups often have minimal marketing budgets and little-to-no marketing expertise in-house, so they simply lack the resources to pour into pricey marketing strategies. SEO offers an inexpensive (and high-quality) alternative to paid advertising. All it takes is some time and effort to boost traffic and improve brand awareness and exposure.
Many brands enlist the help of link building agencies for professional efforts.
Here are some benefits of SEO for startups:
- Cost-effective, organic traffic
- Brand awareness and exposure
- Brand authority and trust
- Positive customer experience
Leverage SEO for Organic Growth
Determine the Target Audience
SEO seeks to drive traffic to your website, but there’s a catch – it needs to be relevant traffic. Sending a ton of people to your site won’t do you any good if they’re not the type of people who want or need your products. Traffic only matters if it’s targeted.
To make sure you’re on the right track, define your target audience and let that guide your content strategy. Think about these questions:
- What are the customers’ pain points?
- What problems are they facing?
- How does my product or service solve those problems?
- What are my customers’ demographics?
- How can I give them value?
- Where do they spend their time online?
- What types of content do they consume?
Opt for Low-Hanging Keywords
So-called low-hanging keywords are keywords with high rankings and low competition. Targeted keywords have plenty of value for SEO, but low-hanging keywords can help you gain a higher ranking from the get-go.
For instance, one of the main focuses for this client was the video wall control room keyword. As you can see from the image below that keyword difficulty is low despite being a low volume keyword.
The best way to find low-hanging keywords is with keyword research. Consider not just keywords, but long tail keywords (phrases). These give you valuable insights into how searchers are looking for information, which you can use to come up with relevant content ideas.
Showcase Your Authority
If you’re facing a lot of competition, it can seem overwhelming to try to stand out. This is essential for surviving your first year as a brand-new startup, however. It takes time to build your band as an authority in your industry, but it’s worth the payoff.
Valuable, relevant content will get you there. You can position yourself as a trusted source of industry information for your audience, bringing more people to your site and content as they search for answers. This pays off in search rankings as well.
Startups can be chaotic in the first year, but B2B SEO needs to be part of your day-to-day. Consistency gives your audience something to look forward to and establishes trust, so set a schedule and stick to it.
Remember, it’s better to have only a few posts that are relevant and quality than producing content just for the sake of it. Once you have a schedule in mind, you can create content in advance to make sure you’re prepared. This way, if something comes up, you know you’re covered.
Check Technical SEO
Technical SEO requires some technical know-how, but it can do wonders for your ranking.
No one knows how search engines determine ranking exactly, but we do know that they use bots to crawl websites and learn about their structure and use that information to determine the ranking. This is where technical SEO can help.
Just a few simple measures can boost your technical SEO tremendously, such as optimizing your site’s load times, zoom capabilities, layout, and mobile-friendliness. Make sure to fix problems as you come across them, such as broken links. If necessary, outsource your technical SEO to get it optimized right from the start.
Work on Linkbuilding
Linkbuilding takes time, so it’s best to start as soon as you can. This is when you get credible websites to link to yours in their own content. Then, when the audience is viewing their content, they may be inclined to follow the link to learn more about the topic.
External links like this do wonders for your domain authority and site traffic.These authoritative websites also pass some of their authority onto you, which search engines interpret as credible.
For example, within an article you can write something like this: “Any one who is interested in learning more about training video production can follow this link.”
Links can be earned through writing high-quality content, or through reaching out to other sites and asking to trade links or offering a guest post. Ideally, use both to boost your backlinks.
SEO has excellent ROI, but remember that it takes time. there’s no way to pay for better search engine rankings, even if you had an unlimited marketing budget. In all likelihood, all you’d get for your marketing spend is indiscriminate traffic that costs a fortune and doesn’t lead to an eventual sale.
Slow and steady wins the race with SEO. Focus on creating a robust SEO strategy that starts your business off right and can scale along with you. The traffic will come in time.
SEO for Your First-Year Startup
It’s more competitive than ever for startups, but SEO can give you an edge and get your brand in front of the right people early in the process. Create your SEO strategy with the customer and value in mind to build a foundation for success in the future.