It’s not easy to do SEO for a brand new site. Whether you are in the role of an in-house SEO specialist or SEO agency, the business owner will always want to see the results as soon as possible, ie ROI (return on investment). The situation is, however, such that it will be months before the results become tangible, and a few more will pass before the investment starts to pay off, hopefully before you spend your startup’s search engine optimization money and your budget get depleted.
There is a number of reasons why this is so. For example, the “Google sandbox” – many people claim it exists. Another reason, regardless of the Google sandbox, is the fact that more or less in every industry competition is quite large and your site is faced with a significant lack of authority.
For this reason, it is very important to approach the SEO campaign strategically. Spending time and resources on an automatic SEO strategy to solve this problem will take you a lot of time and chances to reach your competitors will be lower each day. So it is important to put things on a sound ground from the beginning, so let’s start with:
Before you even get started, you need to do four types of research: Keyword research, market research, competition research, and influential online communities research in your industry (in that order).
Keyword research is anything but new in the SEO world. It is the foundation of any SEO campaign. There are many good tools and tutorials online on how to do good keyword research (for different search engines) so we won’t spend a lot of words on it. However, it worths mentioning that as a startup you will still need to be focused on phrases that are more likely to rank well (keywords with ower keyword difficulty but still with some search volume, traffic potential and business potential) as soon as possible. These will mostly be long-tail phrases. Of course, the most important and popular phrases should not be ignored. The sooner you start working on them the better the chances will be and you will be ranked eventually, but the priority will certainly be in the long tail phrases in the beginning.
Don’t forget that your customers’ and visitors’ journey starts with Google, so make some efforts to appear well on the search results page. Test different title and descriptions to see what will your CTR and position be and if it will bring more or less search traffic. Try to cover all the search terms, but make sure to prioritize term by term based on what you can actually rank for at the moment. Usually it’s easier to rank better for blog posts and to build some brand awareness than to rank for your product or services with some product pages or landing pages, where no matter how much SEO efforts you provide, you simply don’t have that much space for optimization
Exploring a potential market
By researching a potential market, you essentially want to get to know your potential customers, the entire niche, but also to understand how they buy a product or service. This is hard work, but you need to know how your customers buy and which channels they mostly use.
Let’s say you are running a campaign for an online toy store. Your customers are not children. The toys are bought by their parents (even though children will look for any kind of video about their favorite toys). Their parents are likely to knock online sales of toy X. However, they will not reach that step until they see their children’s interest in that toy. For this reason, you should create interesting content related to that toy to make children crave for it (or at least use the popularity of a certain product).
As you can see, knowing the process of buying a particular product or service is very important to the design of your campaign strategy.
Exploring competition and influential online communities
Competitor research will help you determine which keywords you want to prioritize. You will be familiar with the difficulty of ranking for the phrases you want, but it will also help you to know more about the industry and the advantages and disadvantages of your products or services. I personally use the Ahrefs tool for this specific task.
Knowing the communities where your potential customers (blogs, social networks, forums, portals, etc.) gather, enables you to actively work to strengthen your brand and reach your future clients, as well as people who can also raise awareness of your brand or products. This will certainly help you with content marketing if you decide to do the same.
Finally the fourth survey, and actually the first and most important, which was not mentioned because it is somehow obvious to research your own company, products, and services. If you are someone who is engaged in a campaign, it is essential for you to have deep knowledge and understanding of every single product and service that the company offers. You have to be completely informed and confident about the advantages and disadvantages of your business.
Creating a strategy
Only when you are familiar with all this information can you fully create a strategy. SEO is just a part of the overall digital marketing strategy and must be considered that way. SEO must complement the other digital marketing segments but it also needs various digital marketing support. You need to understand and adjust the role of SEO in your overall campaign. People may not buy your product online at all. Maybe branding is the only role of SEO. How much help does the PPC campaign need for SEO? Who do you want to address, and in what tone? What will you prioritize? – These are some questions that you need to answer and that will help you create a strategy.
Technical refinement of the site
In theory, everything is clear here. Just follow the Google webmaster guidelines and there will be no problems. In practice, however, we face all sorts of problems, as this is not sufficiently taken into account when developing sites. Make sure your site has clean, readable (Google) code, as good as possible user experience (UI / UX), that it loads fast and contains quality content, and everything should be fine.
On the other hand, do your best to optimize your pages (on-page optimization). You have already done Keyword research. Map your pages, determine which pages should be ranked for which topics (phrases), and optimize them accordingly.
Endless SEO campaign
Okay, now you have everything you need. All you have to do is do SEO for the rest of your life and compete with your competition for the best possible position. Positions are earned and lost, and users are searching for new products and services in new ways. There are two things you can always work on: content and authority. You can never have too much authority, and the content can always be better and there is always something that has not been said yet.
SEO Authority Building – Link Building
SEO experts know that without authority, your site has no chance of ranking well. Authority is built with backlinks (quality and relevant) and there are plenty of tutorials for link building, so this time we won’t spend too much time on it.
However, when you have a new site, you want to get links that will move you from scratch as soon as possible. Use these obvious examples to get links. If someone mentions you on the internet, ask them to link to your site. If you have business partners, ask them to create links to you. You collaborate with an association or companies, ask them for a link to you. If you sponsor a sports club or a specific institution, they could also link to your website.
Use the full potential of your site and business to get all the links you can, and then get creative with how to get (or earn) links.
Developing textual content and creating new pages allows you to rank for new keywords. During an SEO campaign, from time to time, you can do additional keyword research and see if there are any novelties in the way people search for things related to your products. You can also write about things that are not directly related to your product or service but are things that interest your customers. This is a way to introduce yourself to them and subtly introduce them to your product.
You can also publish quality content on influential blogs or other sites in your industry, thus reaching a greater audience reach and further working on your branding. You can also use this approach to get backlinks from strong relevant sites, further empowering yours and increasing its chances of ranking well.
Don’t forget your site
Of course one of the first steps would be to structure well your website. Make an effort to use all the keyword opportunities to cover all the possible keyword searches and cluster them into a different topic. Any page, guide, article, images should be high quality and right on the point. In addition to that, there are a lot of SEO tools that would optimize your content for different algorithms (some of them even uses big data and AI to cover all the ranking factors). Also make sure to focus on your most important goal. What is in the bottom of your funnel. Are those leads, getting more reviews, more visitors
Once you finished all those steps you can plan your SEO strategies and put more attention to ones that are giving you more benefit, no matter if it’s writing new articles, making partnerships with other websites, social media profiles, solving some tech issues on your website that would impact your whole website or doing some other type of content strategy or any other idea that might come to your mind.
Remember to keep track of what’s happening on your site (always track more metrics). Google is changing daily and what is relevant today was not relevant 5 years ago. The future will tell you the same story. Follow all Google-related news, but follow Google Search Console and Google Analytics as well and react if you notice any anomalies.
Also, no site is ever perfect. It can always get better. Better UX, higher CTR, improved conversion rates. In some cases, small percentages make a huge difference in revenue.
And finally, one important thing. Good business, good product and a good website will create the need to talk about you and thus you will have quality content and quality links. Your role will mostly be to create the initial buzz and things will grow organically. Your job will only be to utilize the full SEO potential in the overall situation. On the other hand, doing SEO (and marketing in general) for a boring, non-inventive product or service offered by another 1000 other businesses will be really difficult. So do what you can to develop the quality of your business, products or services, but never forget that your website is equally important and SEO will be so much easier.
As you can see, and as I said at the beginning, SEO for startups is not easy and it takes a long time before it can work, but SEO goals are changing in different phases of your business, so make . So, arm yourself with patience and good luck with the campaign.