It’s common for startups and entrepreneurs to look for ways to save on costs. And one thing that can easily be put on the back burner is an SEO strategy.
But this can be a short-sighted approach. A well-implemented SEO strategy has the potential to connect you with your target audience far more quickly than many other (more expensive) forms of marketing. But you also need to consider that those looking to invest in startups will also need to be impressed by your website.
Set yourself realistic goals
As a start up or SME, there’s no point aiming to compete with the top dogs. Let’s look at the S&P 500, a stock market index used in many ways. For example, traders can speculate on how these big players will perform by trading ES1 futures. It also serves as a good indication of the US economy’s health and prospects. But for our purposes, we can look into the companies in it to understand how they have achieved success and which bits smaller entities can and can’t emulate.
Apple and Microsoft are pretty obvious examples. They’ve been around for decades and had an established presence long before SEO became a prime marketing tool. If you have a tech company with any of the products they run, you can’t expect to beat them to the top SERP spot with generic keywords. So when you set yourself SEO targets and develop an SEO strategy, you must first define your target market:
- Who are they?
- What are their pain points?
- What questions or concerns do they have about the sector in which you operate?
- How does your USP address their needs or desires?
You won’t be competing with global giants when it comes to search engine results. But that doesn’t mean you can’t rank highly on Google for your niche.
Creating your SEO strategy
Next, it’s time to do some keyword research. There are plenty of free tools available, like Google’s Keyword Planner, which will help you find out the most common keywords in your sector.
And often, these are the ones to avoid. With more than 2 billion websites online, trying to compete for the most searched-for words and phrases is likely to result in a startup failing to reach page one for these searches.
This is where long tail keywords come into play. These are phrases that users looking for what you sell may type into Google. They’re called longtail as they are typically longer than the most popular keywords. But they allow you to be more specific.
For example, a startup may want to rank highly for ‘organic dog food for delivery’ rather than trying to get to the top of the listing for ‘dog food’. Not only is it easier to rank highly for long tail keywords, but it also means you’re more likely to be found by users who are ready to buy.
Setting up your website for SEO
SEO is about more than just keywords. And one key aspect that can harm SEO is bounce rate. This is the number of times users find your site and then quickly leave.
There could be several reasons for this, including:
- You don’t offer what they were looking for
- The information isn’t clear
- Your site is difficult to navigate
Links between relevant pages can also help make your site easy to navigate and improve SEO.
Be careful not to overcomplicate your site and strategy. Often, less is more. But do clearly signpost what you want users to do. Believe it or not, most prefer this as it saves them from spending time searching and it’s how you’ll rank best for your intended users.