As a manager running your own small business, or a startup owner, you’re probably in the process of creating an online marketing plan or you’ve drawn out the plan and now looking forward to implementing it as the new year has begun. This plan’s major aim is to make your business visible online for your potential customers majorly through Search Engine Optimization but you do not know the best SEO practices for startups.
It doesn’t matter the size of your company, if you’re a one-man team or you have a handful of employees, building your online presence is very important in this day and age as the majority of the world’s population spend most of their daily hours using the internet.
Establishing your online presence goes beyond implementing a successful SEO strategy as there are other areas of digital marketing to be considered and implemented but developing and implementing successful SEO practices for startups is important for better online visibility and to also drive traffic to your website.
In this article, I will explain why and how startups and small businesses should implement SEO strategies to boost their digital marketing, giving them the end result of better online visibility and reach to their potential customers.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is the process of optimizing your website with the right keywords so that it’s easy for search engines like Google, yahoo, bing, etc to crawl through your website and provide your website as one of the best search results whenever a user queries the search engine with a keyword. Implementing the best SEO strategies will allow your website to rank higher on results pages for queries that are relevant to your website.
You can indicate to Search Engine’s complex algorithms that your website is informative, trustworthy, and a resource for high-quality content by implementing SEO strategies as this serves as the basis for outstanding SEO practices for startups.
Why Is SEO Important For Startups And Small Businesses?
SEO is important because consumers can now easily access any startup’s website online. Facts show that there are approximately 4.66 billion internet users in the world, and 4.32 billion of these users browse through the internet with their mobile phones.
On average, 5.5 billion queries are made on Google each day. With these numbers, the importance of implementing SEO practices for startups cannot be overemphasized.
These statistics show how implementing the best SEO practices for startups and small businesses can greatly increase the business’s online visibility, in turn, increasing the business’s ROI. Not only is improving SEO free, but it also improves your click-through rate (CTR) and builds trust among customers. Not optimizing your website to achieve a higher ranking can make you miss out on potential customers and increase revenue, hence, it’s worth the consideration.
Common SEO Setbacks With Startups And How To Overcome Them
Startups do not consider SEO because, according to their founders or business managers, they consider the following as setbacks for implementing the method of digital marketing:
- SEO is too competitive: SEO is very competitive, but so is every other way of increasing your visibility on the internet. However, according to the 2017 state of inbound, improving SEO is the top digital marketing priority for companies across 5 major world regions. More so, a number of business founders also advise implementing SEO at the very inception of developing the business’s digital marketing strategy. Hence, instead of focusing on the competition, focus on growing your business with the channel by implementing SEO practices for startups because the longer you wait, the further your competition will rise.
- SEO is too expensive: Startup founders complain about not having enough funding to hire professional digital agencies or purchase SEO tools for their businesses. Although to leverage the advantages that come with using SEO, there may be a need to require professional help, but implementing basic SEO practices for startups can be done without spending a dime if done the right way. In reference to Hubspot’s research, SEO is the lowest risk, highest ROI B2B marketing channel. If you can invest your time, you won’t need expensive consultants, and digital marketing agencies to reap the advantages of implementing SEO practices for startups.
- SEO requires a longer time to achieve results: Yes it does require a longer time to achieve results but if done right, leads acquired organically stay longer than leads acquired with PPC. If you want to take the faster route, you can pay for leads and get them faster, but paid channels are mainly costly for startups especially if mistakes are made. With organic SEO, it’s possible to make some early mistakes as the only thing it’ll cost you is time. Forbes estimates that it will take an average of 4 to 6 months before you start seeing results from organic SEO, hence, the earlier you implement SEO practices for startups in your startup journey, the better for your business to reap its results earlier.
6 Effective SEO Practices For Startups And Small Businesses
Now that you’ve understood the common setbacks that most startup founders and small business managers encounter with SEO and how to overcome them with the best SEO practices for startups like yours, let’s dive into the top 6 effective SEO practices for startups that you can implement to succeed in your Search Engine Optimization.
The practices are as follows:
- Define your SEO goal and establish an SEO strategy
- Start with a strong foundation
- Keyword research
- Research your competitors
- Implement Content marketing strategies
- Build authority with backlinks
Define Your SEO Goal And Establish An Seo Strategy
Implementing better SEO practices for startups and small businesses like yours is highly dependent on a well-crafted SEO strategy and clear, realistic goals to be achieved with this strategy.
Defining Your SEO Goals
A lot of startups are either not managed right or are too busy with all the business challenges from the business that they forget the critical step of defining their SEO goals. To achieve success with SEO, you need to set reasonable, achievable goals to be achieved with Search Engine Optimization.
Make it clear on paper and in your head what exactly you’re looking to achieve with SEO within a stipulated period of time, for instance, a quarter or mid-year, or a year. Are you looking to increase your search traffic for specific keywords that you want to optimize? Or the average time spent on your website, or the bounce rate, brand awareness, etc. once you’ve determined your answer, make sure the goal is realistic and achievable.
If you’re looking to achieve “more search traffic”, you can’t achieve this goal without defining “more”. The word “more” can be quite ambiguous, misleading, and unachievable unless it’s given a specific value. For instance, indicating that you want to achieve “ 40% more traffic in the first quarter of the year”, or “60% more traffic in 2022”, etc is more specific, measurable, and realistic.
Establishing An SEO Strategy
After defining your SEO goal, the next best SEO practice for startups and small businesses like yours is to develop an SEO strategy that can aid you to achieve this set goal. Begin your SEO with a well carved out strategy by thinking about why SEO matters for your business. If you understand what your website is required to do for you, you’ll know where to begin.
List out the tools available to you, their purpose, and how they can be used to boost your website’s SEO. This is the first step to developing your SEO strategy. Depending on your startup or small business’s goal, you can build your SEO strategy around this and make sure to implement and stick to it to the latter to achieve the utmost results.
Start With A Strong Foundation
Although This practice is often overlooked by startups and small businesses, it plays a very important part in the success of any business’s SEO as it’s a very effective SEO practice for startups and small businesses. Before you finish building your website, you should consider SEO.
You can accelerate your website’s growth by months if you properly implement SEO at the development stage. If you don’t, you might suffer the opposite and stall your website’s growth by months, thereby experiencing one of the listed SEO setbacks and giving up on your SEO journey.
As a startup, you should be careful of poorly built websites especially if your startup is running on a website poorly built by an inexperienced company founder. While building your website, you should be aware of the load time, and also resolve every technical issue that may occur with the backend of the website.
Make sure your web design and SEO aren’t in conflict. A web designer/developer will have preferred ways of building a website that may conflict with your SEO needs, in this case, stick with your SEO needs. If this requires you to spend money on building your website, do it as this is the foundation for your startup.
Make sure to get your technical SEO right as this is the foundation of your business. If you cannot get it right, make sure to not move forward with anything else until you get it right as it’s very important you do. Content marketing, page speed, integrating the frontend with the backend, mobile and tablet friendliness, web app size, etc. make sure to get everything right before proceeding to the next SEO practice for startups like yours.
After getting your foundations right, the next best SEO practice for startups like yours is to conduct extensive keyword research. It’s important to perform thorough keyword research in the early days of launching your website as one of the biggest mistakes startups make is waiting months, even years before conducting keyword research to start optimizing for specific keywords when this could have been avoided earlier.
Take a few days to conduct extensive keyword research on keywords you want to hone and rank for and then make simple optimizations on your website in the future. This will help you achieve success with your search engine optimization in the long run.
Research Your Competitors
Establishing who your competitors are, and researching them is the next SEO practice for startups like yours. Look at similar websites creating similar content like yours that are ranking higher than your website, and how they’re carrying out their SEO can help you with one or two insights on how to carry out your SEO.
Competitor research is an effective way to find out what your competitors are doing and how to replicate them. Find the terms and strategy that works for them and replicate them in your own way. It saves you a lot of research time and removes the need for “guess and check”.
Get insights on what your competitors are ranking for and what questions they’re answering as this provides you with indication on the right keywords to implement in a content strategy.
Researching your competitors is also a great way to capitalize on what your competitors are neglecting.
Create And Publish High-Quality Content
Focusing on creating insightful, unique, high-quality content that resonates around the solution your startup provides and also reaches your target audience is an important SEO practice for startups like yours. Make sure to write for people, not search engines. Focus on quality, not quantity.
Quality content should possess these three qualities- they should be actionable, accessible, and shareable. Contents are actionable by including call-to-actions, links, and resources in addition to the content, giving customers the tools to implement the information you’re providing.
Your content should be accessible to everyone by using languages that are easy to understand by your consumers. Your content should also be shareable by readers meaning it should be easy for your readers to share your content with their friends via social media, email, text, etc.
Build Authority With Backlinks
The major SEO practice for startups is developing authority which indicates the trustworthiness of content on your website.
Backlinks are places on the internet where your website is linked. You can earn backlinks by reaching out to trusted websites and businesses with similar content as yours to encourage them to share a link to your website.
If you also publish high-quality content, websites will reach out to you to link your website on their website for reference purposes.