SEO for start-ups: initial phase
You have just started a company and have already been able to rake in quite a few orders and are ready for the next step. How are you going to achieve that in the short term? There are several options that you can take, for example freshening up your marketing budget to invest money in your social media accounts or for paid advertisements to stand out more. In addition, it is wise to start setting up and executing a SEO strategy as a start-up on time. Why? I will explain that in this article.
In this article you, as an entrepreneur, get a better picture of what SEO can bring to your company and how you can best approach this. For someone who has little experience and knowledge in this field, it is quite a difficult task to do this properly in one go.
What exactly does SEO mean?
SEO is a commonly used term in the digital marketing world, but what exactly does this term mean? SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization. The word says it all: with SEO you try - as a company - to get as high as possible with a search engine in the organic results of the keywords that a person searches and on which you want to rank your website. Google is still by far the largest and most used search engine worldwide.
What does SEO consist of?
The field of SEO consists of the following 3 parts:
This relates to the technical aspect of your website and is an important part of SEO. If your website is not optimal for use, it becomes more difficult for search engine robots to find your website at all, which can hinder your SEO campaign. Think of the correct use of headers, user-friendly URLs, fast loading time and structured data.
This is the literal content that you share on your website. This must be rock solid so that Google can recognize this and know that you are actively engaged in SEO. Depending on the target group, products and visitors you have on your site, it is important to make it as readable and clear as possible. The goal of sharing the right content on your website, in addition to achieving conversion, is also to reduce the number of visitors who immediately click away when they land on the website. The direct click away is also referred to as the bounce rate. A high bounce rate can be detrimental to the ranking in the organic search results.
These are aspects of SEO that are not on your website but do contribute to getting visitors to your site. Think of link building, social media, shares, etc. This is a good tool to get more visitors to your website.
If these 3 components work well together, you can say - as a company - that you stand a good chance of being ranked number 1 on Google for certain keywords. This ensures that people who search for keywords that you rank highly on will come across your website as the first result and that is what everyone is fighting for.
Difference between start-ups and large companies?
Now that you've figured out exactly what SEO is all about, let's take a look at the differences between SEO for large companies and for start-ups, if any. In fact, Google does not differentiate by size of companies to determine who will be the number 1 position as a search result. So it has not been established that if you have a large company, you will immediately be the highest on the SEO ranking: it has all to do with how much a company has made the effort to excel in content and technical optimization. Technically, there is no difference between SEO for start-ups and SEO for large companies. Although a large company has the advantage that it has built up considerable authority over the years.
Pay to win:
To take an example, I used 'sports shoes' as the search term in the organic search results. These results show that Nike and Zalando are at the top and not the local shoe store in the center. How can this be? This is because large companies see the value of SEO more compared to start-ups and can obviously put more budget into it. They have the resources to hire SEO specialists who can write quality content for them, build authority and also use the right technology to rank high. Large companies, such as Nike and Zalando, therefore have a very big advantage over start-ups.
Do not give up:
After reading the paragraph above, you may have given up hope in SEO because the distance between your company and that of a multinational/large company just seems too far. This is certainly not the case: it is true that large companies have an advantage over you due to the difference in budget, however this does not mean that SEO is completely useless for your company. It is actually very good to start with SEO in the growth phase of your company, and especially now with the COVID-19 crisis it is essential to be found online.
It is meant to rank higher on organic search results.
It is all about paying for being listed in the advertised section of search results.
It is a long-term investment that leads to establish a fixed position among search results.
It gives you instant visibility that lasts as long as you keep your advertising campaign running.
Good for getting a persistent and solid online visibility.
Good for getting easy visibility in very quick time, but surely not for establishing a solid online visibility (unless the company is willing to pay forever for ads).
What can you do as a start-up to become successful with SEO?
Despite the fact that large companies release plenty of budgets to get their SEO as good as possible, it is not time for you - as a start-up - to give up. There are plenty of searches and keywords that the big companies don't specify that exactly fall within your purview or, in other words, your niche. It is important to know the difference between short tail and long tail keywords, as this is exactly where you as a start-up can excel.
Short-tail keywords are short searches with 3 or fewer words, this is where large companies really want to be at number 1. This is because short tail keywords generally have more search volume. For a start-up, it is not really necessary to be at the top when someone is looking for sports shoes. It's good to be somewhat in the top ranking, but of course you can't ignore the big companies.
Long tail keywords:
In addition to short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords are also important for SEO. Long-tail keywords are searches that are longer and specific to certain topics. These searches consist of approximately 3-5 keywords and are therefore less controversial than short tail keywords and so you can try to come to the top of a number of long tail searches with the right steps. By using long-tail keywords it is possible to rank more easily in the organic search results. The advice is therefore to mainly write content using long-tail keywords, especially at the beginning of your SEO activities.
If you have taken these steps, you are already well on your way to developing a SEO strategy and precisely because you - as a start-up yourself - start with SEO and try to get more visitors to your website through SEO, this will bring many benefits in the long run. You now learn the ups-and-downs of SEO while other entrepreneurs will only experience this at a later stage. Another major advantage of SEO is that all the work remains on the site, so that, if you decide to stop, the activities will remain, which is not the case with SEA.
In short, SEO is a very good means of attracting visitors to your website and it is also good to start as early as possible. This ensures that you, as an entrepreneur, already master the intricacies of SEO. So in the beginning, think about specific long-tail search terms and focus on them in order to compete with the large companies. With the use of this step-by-step plan you can certainly become successful in the field of SEO.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Alessio Ganci