Running a startup involves maximum effort to create awareness about your product, even if many people do not know it yet. This makes starting SEO early important. Getting your site optimised for search engines increases your chances of faster visibility. SEO for Startups should be in your plan because it is the main source of targeted traffic. Unlike several other marketing channels, SEO is not expensive. While it will cost you some money, it is nothing compared to expenses incurred on options such as pay-per-click (PPC).
SEO focuses on gaining organic traffic; you must understand your target audience and build trust to achieve this.
SEO incorporated into a startup promoting strategy has several benefits. It also has a structure to follow for better results. DubSEO Dubai has right strategy for startup business.
How is SEO for startups different from regular SEO?
SEO for startups have a few differences from regular SEO. The requirements of search engines for established businesses are the same for startups. Irrespective of the website or business’s size, creating helpful and high-quality content optimised for search intent is important for a healthy backlink profile. It also helps to monitor and fix any technical issues on the site.
However, startups have some unique SEO challenges. These challenges are less likely to affect established businesses and occur less frequently. They include:
Market challenges have two aspects. Startups that are pioneers in their industry need to interact with a new market, which may be new territory. There are also startups in an existing market offering a new service or product.
In both cases, determining the user intent can be more difficult than normal. These startups may find analysing competitors difficult because startups may not know their competitors or no direct rivals may exist. This often makes building an SEO strategy based on data a challenge.
Startups usually have a limited time frame and budget. With their minimal resources, they must achieve their desired result within a set time which causes less accurate testing and analysis of the business.
Even for startups that have raised funds and have a budget for SEO expenses, the business must report to investors for continued funding.
Benefits of SEO for startups
The benefits of SEO for startups
Increased website visibility
During the early stages of a startup, only your team members will likely search for your company’s website address on Google and other search engines. For people to know you are in business, you may have to invest in SEO or paid advertising to help your website rank high on SERPs.
When your SEO strategies begin to show results, you may rank in the top ten, giving your website visibility, and people can discover your site organically. The number of visitors to your site will vary depending on your niche, your SERP ranking position (higher ranking often means more visibility), and the popularity of the keyword you rank for.
Research shows that one-third of the traffic goes to the site on position one, and the site on position three gets more ranking than sites on positions 6 – 10 combined. This means visibility tends to grow as your ranking moves up. The higher your ranking, the more people will choose your site.
Increases users trust
When ranking high for more keywords, your brand becomes more visible to users. With the right strategy, trust in your brand will grow. Users usually believe that websites with a good SERP ranking are more credible. This is true because Google now gives better ranks to websites that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT).
If you have a top ranking on SERPs for content in your niche, the trust users have in your brand will grow. This means users will be more likely to click on your site’s link whenever they see your brand name anywhere.
Target lasting traffic
A good SEO strategy gives a steady flow of lasting organic traffic even after you stop optimizing the site. Organic traffic usually lasts longer than paid advertising traffic because paid advertising only brings visitors to your site when you pay them. This makes SEO a preferred option for Startups for traffic acquisition.
SEO also brings high-quality traffic that is likely to convert. For example, a startup in the footwear niche ranking for a relevant commercial keyword like ‘buy summer shoes’ will likely have high traffic that converts well.
The main concern is giving users what they need. People visit a website with some intent, whether to find tips to solve a problem or choose their preferred product. If your website meets users’ needs, you will get leads that will convert to customers.
Data for creating customer personas
You need to know your customers and understand their needs to meet them. It may not be easy for a startup to understand its target audience. You can conduct keyword research, an essential aspect of SEO strategies.
Keyword research helps startups gain insights into their potential customer’s pain points and needs. It can help you learn what your target audience wants to find on Google when they prefer watching a video to reading a blog post and the problems they discuss in forum threads.
Meaningful keyword research and using a keyword generation tool for your SEO will help you find more keywords. You can also include a Google Analytics code on your site. This allows you to track useful data, such as the gender, age, and geographical location of users visiting your website.
You may further use the Google Analytics data to determine how the different groups of customers interact with your website and then make any necessary changes to meet the needs of your target audience.
Visitors to your local business
Startups operating locally and running a physical store need to focus on attracting visitors to their shop instead of their website. These businesses can also benefit from SEO as much as online businesses.
Research is important in the buying cycle; most customers do this online. Data from Google shows that the searches for ‘open now near me’ have increased globally by over 400%. People search on Google when they want to do things, like find a nearby dentist with affordable pricing or a restaurant on the weekend.
Like in traditional search, users will click on the first set of results when searching on Google, meaning you need to rank high for users to spot you easily.
You can start by creating or verifying your Google Business Profile, allowing Google to know your business exists.
Smarter budget allocation
SEO for startups is a good investment. It involves some expenses, like hiring technical and SEO experts, including getting the necessary SEO tools. Increasing traffic through paid ads will cost you more, so SEO is an excellent option to save marketing costs to allow you to invest more in website development and your products.
While you can handle SEO for the startup yourself, it may be time-consuming and stressful since you have other aspects of the business to develop; you can consult SEO specialists.
An SEO platform can provide a marketing plan template with a checklist for an effective SEO strategy.
When does a startup need SEO?
A startup’s need for SEO will depend on several factors, such as:
The startup’s goals
SEO requires long-term goals and plans. A startup should understand that achieving the set goals will take a while. SEO is different from paid advertising. It brings in organic traffic, and the result is long-lasting.
The marketing budget
SEO is ideal for startups with limited funds for marketing. It allows for reaching new and potential customers and enhances search visibility cheaply. With SEO, you can avoid high advertising costs.
Many tools are free, like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Combining these with paid tools can give better SEO results.
The marketing and sales channel
SEO is vital if a startup operates online through its website. Effective SEO strategies will help startups rank top on SERPs over competitors and attract the right customers, increasing the company’s revenue.
SEO is also necessary if a startup has an app, but it should focus on the app stores, not search engines. This is knowns as ASO (App Store Optimisation). Like SEO, ASO boosts the app’s visibility in the app store and increases the number of organic downloads.
SEO offers huge organic potential to boost a startup to a new performance level. It helps bring in users from organic search results and increases high-quality organic traffic by creating effective data and targeting.
When is SEO not necessary for a startup?
SEO has several benefits, but not all startups need a full-scale SEO strategy. SEO isn’t advisable in some cases. For example,
- The startup needs fast results within a few weeks or months
- The startup needs to test a project or idea before developing a long-term strategy
Complexities in the market prevent full-scale SEO for a startup. The startup needs to understand its market and niche to determine the customer’s intent. However, it doesn’t mean that SEO shouldn’t be considered. Instead, research more and spend more time creating a strategy.
Some startups may not enjoy the benefits of SEO because no one is researching their service or product, especially when the market is new and has no user search queries. In this case, companies cannot identify the right keywords for optimisation.
Before full-scale SEO, startups need to use other channels to increase awareness of their services or products.
SEO for startups
Google hasn’t made public the factors for ranking, but SEO for startups and regular SEO has the same ranking criteria. However, startups may not have sufficient resources for effective SEO. This may not be an issue if you focus on the SEO factors that help improve the business.
There are certain SEO factors essential for startups.
How to build an effective SEO strategy for startups
The first step is establishing your goals and ensuring they match your marketing budget. Startups may have the following goals.
- Boost sales
- Improve brand awareness
- Generate leads and convert them into customers
- Increase organic traffic
Startups usually combine different goals that complement each other. For example, your sales may also increase if you plan to boost organic traffic.
Researching competitors is important to build an SEO strategy for all startup goals. This helps startups identify their rivals if they have any and the right optimisation approach. Competitor analysis helps determine the following.
- The keywords your competitors rank for
- The weaknesses and technical strengths of rivals
- The site they get backlinks from and sites they link to
Startups can use these insights to improve their SEO strategy.
The next step is drafting a list of target keywords. After researching competitors, you should have several keywords for use during optimisation. You need to identify the phrases and words visitors search to find your service, product, or website.
Start by defining the seed keywords. This helps get a list of similar or related phrases and words to use in your content. Analyse and group these keywords based on their user intent, then use the data to create new content and pages.
Ensure you consider the structure and hierarchy of your site to ensure even distribution of the chosen keywords in the content on your site. You can make the structure linear or choose a network, tree-like structure because an SEO-friendly structure helps search bots and users navigate your site. This also boosts your chances of getting SERP features.
Content should be the next step in your SEO strategy. The general content marketing approach for startups is similar to the SEO strategy for regular businesses. Check for different content types and create a plan from your keyword research to help fill your site with relevant and valuable information. A content plan will also enhance your content creation process.
Consider link building through the following three ways.
Internal link building
Connect pages on your site using internal links to help search engines identify new pages.
Link out to trusted websites
Linking to authority websites encourages cooperation with trusted companies and their resources while making your content more valuable.
Get high-quality backlinks
Point the backlinks to your site to build a strong backlink profile to improve your rankings.
If you run a local startup, ensure you conduct Google Business Profile (GBP) optimization. GBP holds vital information customers need, including your office hours, contact details, store photos, customer reviews, and links to your website.
Ensure you fill in all your details to provide the necessary details for users to visit your physical store. For example, adding a list of services or photos of the store will encourage people to visit. A complete profile with positive user reviews will boost local search rankings because GMB signals are a top-ranking factor for local businesses.
Creating quality content for your website
Quality content has always been key in SEO. Quality content must include well-structured pieces offering unique values and offering solutions to users.
Create well-structured content
Look for a specialist in your field that creates easy-to-understand, grammatically-correct, and meaningful content.
Create unique content
Start by understanding the content in the market, then translate it into competitive research. The result will show you your competitor’s strength and the topic they have written on, so you can create content on something different.
Solve the user’s problems
Conduct keyword research and determine the user intent behind your target keywords.
Keyword suggestion tools are available to help you determine the right keywords and the search intent behind them. You may consider long-tail keywords (keywords with 3 – 5 keywords or more).
Long-tail keywords do not get a lot of monthly searches but convert better and are highly targeted. Researching long-tail keywords will likely give low competition, allowing you to rank for them faster.
However, you shouldn’t ignore other search terms. Medium and short tail keywords are also important.
Short-tail keywords contain 1 – 3 words and are broad. They are competitive and difficult to target because many sites target them. Medium-tail keywords have 2 – 4 words, are more specific than short-tail, and aren’t as competitive.
Only content is insufficient to boost a site for short and medium-tail keywords. Actively building backlinks is important, and this takes resources and time. However, the option is more effective because these keywords can boost profit for a startup.
Sometimes, startups don’t find any short, medium, or long-tail keywords or any keywords describing the product. This may be true for product pioneers with previously non-existent services or products. For example, pet cameras had to be invented and promoted before people searched for them.
If this applies to your startup, understanding your customers will require talking to them. Insights from sales and your support team will also help. You can choose keywords that describe the problem your product or service solves.
Checking your website’s technical health
Well-written and structured content on your website won’t matter if your site’s loading time is long or your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices. Google and users tend towards user-friendly, error-free, and fast-loading websites. Assessing your site for any technical issues that may prevent your SEO growth is important.
You may use a site audit tool to identify any technical issues on your website. These tools can check if you have a mobile-friendly site and measure the site’s speed. They also check for indexing issues, duplicate pages, and server errors and recommend how to fix these issues.
Many startups have non-indexed pages, which won’t appear in search result pages, meaning potential customers can’t find you.
Indexing issues may occur for different reasons.
Poor content quality
If your published content isn’t unique and has low-quality texts that don’t solve users’ problems and meet the requirements of search engines, indexing problems may occur and may lead to a penalty.
Your site pages are blocked from indexing
If your robot meta tags are set to Noindex, it tells Google not to index your page. Search engines may also disallow your website pages in the robots.txt file. These pages can still be indexed if you link them from other sites or pages.
Your pages have canonical tags to other pages
Search engines may consider your pages secondary versions of pages and ignore them.
Your domain is new
This is likely the case with new websites with indexing issues for weeks or months.
On-page optimisation involves setting up and improving your site’s SEO elements. It allows users and search engines to interact with your site and better understand your content.
High-quality content focused on the following can boost your ranking.
Ensure your keyword reads well in the body of your content. Also, consider your content’s keyword headings, uniqueness, and heading.
Meta title and description tags
Each page should have unique titles and descriptions and must be within the acceptable length limits. Ensure you include the relevant keywords, so visitors and bots can understand the page.
An H1 tag is essential to define the content’s purpose. Unlike the title tag, the H1 tag is on the page. Include a unique H1 tag per page and include the relevant keyword.
A URL SEO-friendly page can improve the page’s user experience and increase ranking. Well-optimized URLs include easy-to-read keywords but do not contain underscores and uppercase letters. Target 50 – 60 characters per URL.
An easy way to check your page optimisation is using an on-page SEO checker. When you input your page’s URL, the checker runs an audit and gives you a detailed report on all on-site issues.
An on-page SEO checker can show you the leading organic competitors for your chosen keywords, the page’s quality, and a list of all issues found, divided into passed checks, notices, warnings, and errors.
Startups can also benefit from SEO tasks. Your on-page audit result will provide information on the necessary actions to improve your page to rank higher. The page sorting may be by status, category, and priority, and you can add new tasks and edit others.
Creating a backlink profile
A smoothly running website and the right content that benefits users may be sufficient for Google to rank the site. However, in most cases, you need links from other more authoritative and older resources for Google to start ranking your website.
Startups may have a slight advantage here. If your product or service is groundbreaking, the media will likely write about you and link to your site. At this, you need to look for PR opportunities to publicise your product’s achievements.
Contact authoritative websites in your niche, ask for mentions, and consider influencer marketing. For example, you can have known experts in the niche try out the product and talk about it on their social media platforms and blogs. This may give you backlinks and bring potential clients to your site.
Engage in conferences in your niche to build partnerships with known industry leaders, and then you can publish blog posts on their sites and promote your campaigns.
PR is a priority when starting a business because it helps with the following.
- Provide backlinks and leads from those links
- Increase brand awareness and credibility
Other link-building methods include
- Guest blogging
- Submit your website to different business directories
- Answer business-related questions with links in them
- Join forums
- Discover new and creative ways to get backlinks
Monitor the backlinks you’ve built, as you can lose some over time. This will help you better understand the backlink profile you have. Backlink monitoring tools are available to assess your backlink profile quickly. This tool can identify the following.
- The indexing status
- If the link is dead or not found
- Other SEO metrics such as anchor text used and referring domain authoritativeness
Options to include backlinks you want to monitor manually are available, and you can check the backlinks you have forgotten. When you input your website’s URL into the Backlink Checker and search, you will see all referring domains and the anchor tests used, including all key SEO metrics like last and first seen dates, link type, page, and domain trust.
This tool lets you collect information on any site’s backlink, including your competitors. This may give you an insight into their backlink strategy to update yours.
The quality of your backlinks is more important than quantity. Google will penalise you if you use manipulative link-building techniques. Losing favour from Google by taking shortcuts to get quick results will negatively affect your ranking.
Making your website user-friendly
A good user experience (UX) on a website means the following.
Easy navigation means users can easily move from one page to another on your website to find the information they need. It follows a general rule of four clicks. This rule states that users should click no more than four times to access any page from your site’s home page. Do not use strange buttons or menu texts that will confuse visitors.
Your website’s layout and design should be logical and clear while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing design. You can have visuals but optimise them using the right alt tags and recommended size.
Core web vitals
Google announced it uses CWV to determine the loading speed of websites. Ensure you analyse your site’s screen loading time, visual stability, and ease of interaction, as low values may cause low ranking on Google.
About 59% of web searches are from mobile devices. Pages that take a long time to load on mobile devices with non-adaptive images will rank low. The site’s design should be responsive and adapt to different devices, with all elements displayed correctly.
Tracking SEO results
Regardless of the improvements and changes made, you can’t determine if you are progressing without analysing your results and performances. The metrics may differ depending on the startup’s goal, but monitor the following.
Monitor the keywords you rank for to see your site’s position in SERPs for relevant search queries.
Organic traffic dynamic
Check how many users visit your site from organic searches. If your organic traffic is improving, your SEO strategy is working. Ensure you monitor the country that gives you more visitors from organic services. For example, if you target users from Dubai, traffic from the UK isn’t relevant.
Website quality metrics
Track any deterioration or improvements in your site’s Website Health Score values to determine if the technical condition and quality match the ideal level.
Backlink profile health
Your site’s backlink profile quality directly affects the ranking. The more quality backlinks you have, the more likely you will have better rankings. Monitor your Domain Trust score, lost backlinks, and new backlinks, and analyse referring anchors and domains.
The number of indexed pages
Without indexing, your page won’t drive organic traffic or rank on SERPs. Check your indexed pages, those that are not and why, and how quickly new pages get indexed.
Core web vitals
Monitoring and improving your core web vitals are important because they are factors for ranking.
Search engine optimisation, especially for startups, is time-consuming and resource-intensive but is essential for business development. Our team at DubSEO can help with Dubai SEO strategy for startups and also handle your search engine optimisation.