Welcome to my SEO for startups guide.

If you are serious about driving more traffic to your startup site or product and trying to do it inside or you are an SEO specialist/agency doing SEO for startups, this is a guide for you.

I will try to share my own experience with growing startup project to over 100K sessions per month, with a large percentage of revenue coming from free, organic traffic.

Here is my Google Analytics screenshot.

100K sessions

 

How effective is SEO for startups?

To start with, SEO still has one of the highest ROI among all inbound channels.

Also, organic search results tend to perform 5.7 times better than paid search ads (in terms of conversions).

Also, SEO is the cornerstone of driving evergreen, free traffic, which is one of the keys to growth and making sustainable revenue in the long term.

But, for some reasons, very often SEO is not the favourite online marketing channel for startups.

I think these are the main reasons:

  • SEO takes a long time;
  • SEO can be hard to figure out – both to drive traffic and revenue;
  • All the audience attention is on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, SEO is too old;
  • It can be pricy to start SEO from scratch;
  • “SEO is spam” myth;
  • etc.

Let’s debunk these myths right here:

  • SEO can take a long time, but it’s worth it in the long term;
  • Yes, SEO can be difficult, sometimes it just doesn’t work, but when it does – you have a massive lead machine and competitive advantage;
  • You can do Facebook AND content marketing, which still works like a charm;
  • It can be expensive, but the return on investment is much higher;
  • SEO will ONLY work if it’s NOT spam.

The bottom line: of course, maybe SEO and content marketing don’t own the digital marketing crown anymore (compared to new mediums).

 

SEO tips for startups

B2C with B2B SEO tips (Skyscanner with Buffer)

There are different approaches to SEO for B2C and B2B projects or startups.

Let’s compare Skyscanner with Buffer.

Where will you host most of your content? Usually, it’s homepage, feature pages, landing pages, blog, learning centre, hub (more on that later), etc.

The main difference between B2C and B2B, is that B2C might have the opportunity of thousands of high intent landing pages, while B2B projects might not.

For B2C projects, SEO can be easier.

For example, booking.com or skyscanner.net have thousands of landing pages, dedicated to hotels/ flights.

Basically, you need to create content for each of this page – cheap flights Barcelona-Amsterdam, Lufthansa Airlines, cheap flights NYC-Berlin, United Airlines and so on.

In this case, the user just finds this page on Google and can convert on this exact page (or at least start filling the form) – buy a flight ticket.

And there are thousands of these B2C keywords/landing pages with high buying intent. (Just imagine how many flights combinations or hotel names there can be).

Here is an example of Skyscanner landing page (NYC to Berlin), with a form and relevant content.

On the opposite side, B2B SEO can become much more complicated.

If your project is, let’s say, some niche social media scheduling tool for SMBs.

There aren’t that many landing pages/keyword opportunities with high buying intent. Maybe there will be 30-50 top keywords – e.g. social media software, social media scheduling, social media tool, etc.

For each of these, you need to create a landing page. But, there won’t be tens of thousands of opportunities as in the case with B2C.

What is the answer then? Blog.

If you are a B2B startup – create a blog, immediately.

Then you can have thousands of blog topic ideas – possible hooks for new leads.

Another common issue with startup blogs is that the majority of the blog posts might be Top of the funnel. And not clearly related to buying intent.

You need to divide your SEO content into different funnel stages – TOFU (Top Of The Funnel), MOFU (Middle… ), BOFU (Bottom…).

After that, from TOFU content link to MOFU and BOFU blogs. Also, include relevant CTAs – in TOFU, subscribe for the newsletter, ebook, in MOFU, BOFU – trial or demo.

Here is an example of a Buffer blog page, with a link to free trial in the top.

Buffer blog gets over 1,5 million visitors per month.

So, as you can see, these are two a bit different SEO tactics:

– in B2C SEO you should focus on high-intent landing pages

– in B2B – on a high-quality blog.

Of course, you can also create a B2C blog. 😉

 

Create a hub/directory

There is however another SEO hack for startups. 🙏

It won’t work for every project though, but you should definitely try it.

In short, here is what Hunter.io – popular email finder software – did, to 3x increase daily sessions (from 400-500 to 1200-1500) in the super short term and significantly more in the long term.

Basically, anyone searching for “company email addresses” will land on a hunter.io page. Smart!

Here is the page itself.

And all of these pages didn’t need a lot of new content – they can be generated with a script.

This tactic is applicable to many other cases, in different modifications.

Do you run a digital marketing software? Create a digital marketing directory or hub, with e.g. all digital marketing terms, abbreviations, etc and link to trial of your software.

Or construction software? Create a hub with all construction materials descriptions or all construction companies in each country.

The aim of this exercise is to significantly boost the number of indexed, good quality pages in Google.

Always think how to grow indexable opportunities with your project.

 

Multilingual SEO for startups

In my experience, multilingual SEO can be a goldmine for startups.

Because it is much easier to rank in Google in any other language than English. French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Dutch, etc.

This opportunity is constantly missed by startup marketing teams. They only publish content in English and in best case create few pages sites in different languages.

I recommend translating your most important, buying intent content to all mentioned languages (obviously, if you are or aim to be an international company).

In my experience, most of the high intent traffic and conversions was coming to German, Dutch and French pages and blogs. While on English, I was able to rank only the top of the funnel blogs.

 

Niche SEO

Very often, your startup can be based on some niche product, which works well for some particular audience.

Specific niche is a great thing for SEO!

With your content, go really detailed and “nichy”, create content, stats which can’t be found anywhere else on Internets.

Niche startups have a huge SEO potential.

 

SEO: hard truth for early-stage startups

There are however some nuances you should know.

SEO might NOT be the best fit for super early stage startups.

Here is why.

First of all, SEO is, in fact, a slow process, which requires some patience. Therefore, if you require instant leads today and tomorrow, probably it’s not the top strategy.

Even for a successful SEO setup, it can take 6 months to start bringing some tangible results and revenue, from a fresh new domain.

For instant lead-gen, you can go with Google ads, Facebook and Instagram ads.

Also, early startups quite often change their brand, name, domain, while exploring product-market fit.

From a product point of view, it is the right thing to do. But, sometimes, migration, if not done correctly, can be harmful to SEO. (In theory, you should ensure 301 redirects and notify Search Console of your new domain and ranking should restore in just a few days. But, if these steps are misconfigured – SEO consequences can be harmful).

Also, a lot of your content, which actually ranks and brings organic traffic – can be top of the funnel one. For example, it will come from a blog, where your leads subscribe for a newsletter or download an ebook. It’s harder to get a sale or demo from top of the funnel blog page.

Therefore, it means, that there might be a long sales cycle – newsletter subscriber -> trial -> demo -> qualified lead -> sales accepted lead, etc. It can take some time to go through the funnel for leads from a blog.

In my opinion, you should definitely start working on your SEO with an early-stage startup, but don’t expect instant results from it. They will come in a few months.

Therefore, I think SEO is a great fit for startups after seed, series A rounds, where you can afford to wait sometime, the long sales cycle can be ok and you think more long term.

 

The SEO strategy for startups

Now, let’s deep dive into SEO strategy for startups.

First of all, you need a proper Technical setup.

 

Technical SEO setup for startups

Before starting anything with SEO strategy, you need to do a proper technical SEO setup for your startup site or blog.

In a lot of companies, it is a marketing department, who takes care of website and SEO.

Or quite often, software engineers, in breaks from developing a product, can also create a simple static website (3-5 pages) for marketing.

Here is my quick technical SEO checklist for startups.

1. Site/Blog setup

Very often startups have a separate setup for a website (e.g. just a static site – awesome.site), blog (WordPress – awesome.site/blog) and completely different for a product (app.awesome.site)

It’s recommended for SEO to not host your blog under a subdomain but under a subfolder. (awesome.site/blog)

Also, different hosts can be used for a static website (e.g. AWS) and blog (e.g. Wpengine).

Overall, it really depends on your niche, business type. If it is ecommerce business, where all purchases made on a site itself – maybe it is recommended to develop own, fast site – not WordPress (or at least WordPress custom theme).

But, if your main product – e.g. project management tool – is located under a separate subdomain (app.awesome.tool), it is totally fine to have your main site and blog in WordPress.

In the last case, your site and blog will be used by customers just for marketing purposes, while the main product is under a subdomain.

Also, very often, for content teams, who run the blog, it is much easier to have easy-to-use CMS, instead of asking your frontend-developer every time, when there is a need to add content.

2. Good host

It is really important to choose a good host for your site or blog.

Especially, if you decided to go with WordPress.

A good host can provide you with:

  • 1-click, easy WordPress install;
  • Fast loading speed (one of the key ranking factors for Google);
  • SSL certificate (important ranking factor);
  • Staging environment (to test your ideas);
  • Reliability (your site won’t crash during high traffic);
  • Technical Support, etc.

For WordPress, I really prefer WPEngine, Kinsta or maybe Bluehost (it’s cheap).

3. CMS – WordPress or Hubspot

IMHO, WordPress is a great environment to run your startup blog or site (not product).

WordPress is the most popular CMS platform in the world with a 50-60% share in the market. It provides ease of use, saves time and money – especially, compared to developing a custom website.

WordPress has also a lot of integrations, plugins and also relative security.

If you are going with WordPress, remember to also choose a good quality WordPress theme.

Cheap and poorly designed WordPress themes can:

  • Significantly slow down your website,
  • Lower your conversion rates,
  • Mess up your links and redirects,
  • Break website structure and so on.

All these factors are really important for SEO.

Recently, Hubspot is also becoming a great choice for hosting startup blogs.

Why?

Hubspot combines CMS (content management system) and CRM (customer relationship management) in one place.

You can easily track all your leads, send emails, create forms, CTAs, landing pages, blog posts, campaigns, workflows, automation – in one place. It is suuuuper convenient!

On the other side, Hubspot blogs still offer much less customization (limited design, limited CTAs, there aren’t plugins, etc.)

4. Technical SEO checklist

There are many things you need to take care of for SEO benefits.

Here are some of them.

Search Console – add your site to Search Console and regularly visit this service. It’s your communication point with Google – to track traffic and keywords, request indexing, remove backlinks, track SEO errors and notifications.

Sitemap – a sitemap is basically a list of all your pages. You can auto-generate sitemap with Yoast WordPress plugin or other free tools. And then make sure to submit it in Search Console.

Robots.txt – make sure your site is indexable in Google.

Mobile – it is a MUST to have perfect UX & UI on mobile. Especially, after Google enabled mobile first indexing. Consider also AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages.

SEO plugins – if you are using WordPress, choose Yoast SEO.

Tracking – use at least Google Analytics, Tag manager, also Segment, Mixpanel to track your SEO results.

Image optimization – not optimized images can significantly slow down your site, which will then drop in Google search results. Use Smush, Tinify and other plugins.

Caching – use WP rocket, W3 Total Cache, etc. WPEngine and other premium hosts have good caching options. Also, Cloudflare.

CDN – content delivery networks can also significantly boost your site speed, especially if you have an international audience. CDN options are available with premium hosts.

Security – I would really recommend Cloudflare.

 

SEO strategy for startups: where to start?

Now, when we did some basic overview of technical SEO setup, the question is: how to hike your SEO for startups?

Let’s deep dive into SEO strategy for startups.

In overall, it’s not that different from SEO for regular sites.

In short, here are the three most important things you need to get right in your SEO to make things work and increase traffic:

  • keywords research;
  • content (based on found keywords);
  • backlinks (which link to best-performing content).

I call these three things 3 whales of SEO. 😀

3 SEO whales

Basically, if you remove one of the whales from your SEO strategy, the whole SEO earth will fall.

Of course, there is a gazillion of other SEO factors, but in my experience, these three are most important for Google, where you should focus (especially with limited resources).

 

1. Keyword/Topics research for startups

A lot of startups completely ignore this part for their blogs.

Many content teams publish content, based on the “gut feeling” that it will work.

Another way is that all articles are just related to sales enablement – blog topics are tied to specific personals or sales processes. It’s a great approach, but not always it works with SEO.

Note this, to receive significant traffic from Google, your topics should be tied to keywords.

Here is my detailed keyword research guide, which will help you a lot.

Also, there are a number of keyword research tools, I would really recommend.

If you are a total novice in SEO, just start with Google autosuggest feature.

Google autosuggest

Or “Searches related to” in the bottom of SERP.

People also search

Even this, simplest way of keyword research can significantly boost your organic traffic. This way you organise your content around Google data, not just intuition.

To get more advanced with keyword research, you can use one of many tools.

Among my favourite keyword tools for startups are Ahrefs, Semrush and keywordtool.io.

This is how keyword research looks like in keywordtool.io – my go-to tool. It is very easy to use and you can easily export keyword data into CSV, Excel or just copy to clipboard.

With these tools you can get estimate Search volume, Trend, Competition, cost per click and other data.

keywordtool.io

 

In Ahrefs, you can also see advanced “keyword difficulty” – a fantastic feature! It tells you how many referring domains you need to rank for that keyword.

Keyword difficulty Ahrefs

Start with identifying 20-30 main keyword groups for your project. It would be enough for a start.

Note, there is no need to create a separate blog post/landing page for every keyword. E.g. “project management software”, “best project management software”, “project management software list”. Google is pretty smart these days, and it will understand all variations and even synonyms or related terms.

Here is my handy infographic about keyword research and identifying keyword groups. It describes, how not to get lost in thousands of keyword ideas and focus on a few high-quality blogs.

keyword research 101

 

2. SEO content for startups

Content is the real deal in SEO.

If you still don’t have a blog on your startup site – immediately create one.

Usually, in the startup world, content can be located on the main homepage, feature pages, landing pages and blog etc.

These days, you should only create content, if it’s super high quality.

Otherwise, it just won’t rank in Google.

Btw, here is my ultimate guide to killer content in SEO.

With the help of SEO, your content is evergreen – i.e. even old blogs and landing pages bring traffic from Google. It is key to sustainable and diversified revenue growth in future for your startup.

Of course, on early stages of your startup you may invest heavily in Facebook/Instagram ads, Google ads.

But, it may become quite expensive in time and very often paid advertising hits a “plateau”, where price slowly increases, but the number of leads – no. Additional leads source (which is also free!), such as SEO, will be super helpful.

There isn’t a simple trick to produce content, which will rank on the first page of Google.

Focus on creating comprehensive content, which gives a full answer to a search query.

In other words, the user doesn’t need to go to another site, to get additional info about his search request.

Remember, less is more in SEO content. Instead of writing 10 short blogs, create one, mind-blowing blog on a certain topic.

Long form content also tends to rank better (not always).

Try your blogs to be in between 1800-2500 words. But, also avoid a lot of “water”, go straight to the point.

Make your content visually rich, Include infographics, images, visuals, embed elements (tweets, Instagram posts, podcasts), interactive elements (polls, click to tweet). All these elements can significantly lower your bounce rate, which is a good sign for Google.

Also, Google and users like stats. Include some preferably original numbers and data in your blogs. People very often link to numbers and data.

To sum up, here are some main content marketing tips for startups:

  1. Only original, high-quality content.
  2. Which gives a comprehensive answer to a search query/keyword.
  3. Long form.
  4. Visual and rich content.
  5. With lots of numbers and stats, some original research.

 

3. Backlinks for startups

Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for Google, along with great content.

Here is a Google Analytics screen from one of the startups, who had ok quality content, but didn’t build backlinks at all and neglected keyword research.

organic growth - no backlinks

And here is another startup, which pursued active good quality link building, along with great content, based on keywords.

link building

Here is my ultimate link building guide, with more than 40 ways to build high-quality backlinks to your site. Getting high-quality backlinks can be the hardest part of SEO strategy.

To sum up, among the main ways to build links:

  • SEO outreach
  • High-quality guest posting
  • Directories, yellow pages, business listings
  • Social media links, forums, communities, comments, Reddit
  • PR campaigns
  • Influencer outreach
  • Backlink ideas from competitors
  • Backlinks from your customers
  • Link exchanges (3-way link exchange)
  • Answer questions on Quora, Yahoo Answers, Reddit
  • Ask to be included in “top lists” (e.g. top project management software, top startups in UK, top SMB tools…)
  • etc…

In link building for startups, you should always focus on high-quality. Spam links just don’t work.

The safest and fastest way of getting good backlinks is by participating in the community. You should know top bloggers, influencers, publishers, media sites in your startup niche and be in constant contact with them, ask to publish your blogs, mention your product or a new feature, send PR to them, build a long-lasting relationship.

Also, related to link building in a startup world. What I noticed, if your product is amazing and you are reaching product-market fit – a lot of sites will start linking to you! And your domain gains a strong backlink profile. BUT, many startups don’t use this opportunity for SEO! When your domain is powerful, immediately start pushing a lot of content, based on keywords in your niche. There is a chance, it will start ranking super fast.

For example, look at this startup project (sleep assistant robot), which got a lot of traction and their Ahrefs Rank and DR (Domain Rating) is quite strong – 56.

But, they don’t have a proper blog and only rank for 1.7K organic keywords and ~2k organic traffic (organic traffic estimates are not correct in Ahrefs, you need to multiply by 4-5 for sites with low traffic). This domain has so much more potential and can easily reach 100K sessions per month and bring so many more leads and revenue. Just start blogging!

Here is a startup site with DR 59, but notice how much more organic traffic it gets.

 

To sum up, the SEO strategy for startups

1. Do a proper technical SEO setup

2. Keyword research – identify main 20-30 keyword groups, both high intent and low intent

3. Content – focus on creating comprehensive, long-form content, with lots of data, stats and visuals. Content should be based on your keyword research.

4. Backlinks – build backlinks to your top performing landing pages or blogs.

 

Getting leads and revenue from SEO

Now, if the above-mentioned SEO strategy is implemented correctly, your Google traffic will start to grow. At some point, it will skyrocket, reaching 100K+ sessions per month.

But, very often startup execs and founders are not happy just with traffic, they are much more interested in conversions and revenue from SEO.

First, let’s check what could be the main SEO KPIs for startups.

 

What are the main startup SEO KPIs?

Obviously, if you are doing SEO for startups, you want to track results and then focus on the main key performance indicators.

If you are an SEO agency for a startup – the first thing founders will expect from you – what are you trying to achieve with SEO?

Here is my long form blog on main SEO KPIs and metrics.

To sum it up, the main SEO metrics for startups are:

1. Organic traffic – traffic, which comes to the site from Google.

2. A number of ranking keywords – number of keywords, which rank in top 100 Google results, in different countries.

3. A number of referring domains – how many backlinks does your site have?

4. Domain authority – how strong your domain is (based on the quality of backlinks) – either Moz DA or Ahrefs DR.

5. A number of conversions from SEO – how many leads with source “Organic traffic”.

6. Revenue from SEO – how much revenue comes from the original source “Organic traffic”.

Two most important SEO metrics for startups are – organic traffic and conversions. Basically, how much traffic do you get and how many conversions does it bring.

 

Getting leads and revenue from SEO

So, with implemented SEO strategy you will get a lot of traffic.

The question is: is this the right kind of traffic? Does it have a “buyer intent”?

A lot of bullsh*t SEO agencies can quickly boost your organic traffic – by publishing a lot of viral blogs, which rank well, but are super Top of the funnel and never bring a single customer. Well, sometimes, this strategy can be useful, but mostly not.

It is really different for different startups and businesses, but you need to identify which pages you want to receive the most traffic. With that in mind, do keyword research and then create content.

You need to do a deep keyword research and basically, identify two main groups – keywords with high buying intent (usually, these are the hardest to rank for and most expensive keywords) and low buying intent.

Also, you need to identify keywords with high search volume (also hard to rank) and low search volume (easier to rank). Ideally, you need high volume with low competition. These ones are super rare. 😊So, some long-tail, low search volume keywords will also work.

Create an SEO funnel for startups

Divide all your keywords and content into 3 groups:

TOFU (top of the funnel)

MOFU (middle of the funnel)

BOFU (bottom of the funnel)

And then adjust CTAs in each category.

For B2C startup (e.g. Hotels.com) this SEO funnel can look like this.

TOFU content – blogs (“20 free things to do in NYC”, “Best parks in Washington DC”, “Travel guide to Paris”); TOFU CTAs – signup for the newsletter, download an ebook (where to stay in NYC with Hotels.com), link to MOFU blogs and content.
The aim here is just to get their email or push to MOFU content.

MOFU content – blogs (“Top 20 hotels in Philadelphia”, “Top 15 hostels in NYC”), landing pages, case studies.
MOFU CTAs – newsletter, ebook, link to Hotels.com feature page, to a case study or BOFU blog, link to booking a hotel.

BOFU content – blogs (Top discounted and great hotels in Las Vegas, you should book right now!), LP (Book Four Seasons hotel in Las Vegas), search page (Search for hotels in Las Vegas), etc.
BOFU CTAs – book a hotel form.

For B2B startup – e.g. construction management software Procore.

TOFU content – blogs (“Best construction blogs”, “Why construction productivity is constantly failing?”, “Most viral and funny construction signs”);
TOFU CTAs – signup for the newsletter, download an ebook (“Construction productivity ebook”), link to MOFU blogs and product pages.

MOFU content – blogs (“How to improve efficiency on a construction site?”, “Project management strategy on construction projects”), product pages, case studies.
MOFU CTAs – newsletter, ebook, link to product pages, case studies, BOFU blogs, link to trial or demo.

BOFU content – blogs (Best onsite construction software), LP (Construction management software – Procore, Mobile construction app – Procore, Project management for construction – Procore).
BOFU CTAs – link to trial or demo.

As I explained earlier, for B2C sites, there are naturally more keyword opportunities to have a lot of indexed pages with buyer intent. E.g. in Booking.com – all hotel landing pages are with high buyer intent. User will either search “best hotels New York” or “Book Mariott New York” (you can identify it with keyword research). Therefore, Booking.com SEO team should have created LP or/and blog post “Best 100 hotels in NYC” and “Book Mariott New York” LP. Imagine, how many hotels there are out there and how many landing pages can be created.

For B2B startups, there are naturally, a bit less high buying intent keywords and less indexable opportunities, therefore you need to be more creative. E.g. for a construction software startup, users can search “construction software”, “construction management software”, “on-site software”, “construction checklists software”, “field software”, “construction project management”, and maybe 20-30 keywords like this. And that’s it.

Compare 40-50 high intent keywords for “construction software” with hundreds of thousands for “book *** hotel in ***”.

Therefore, in B2B case, you need to hook your customers with blog articles, which can be top of the funnel and then nurture them with more relevant content, emails, ebooks and so on.

In my experience, due to insane competition for top keywords in each niche, SEO works at its best, if you focus on growing your newsletter from ranking blogs. Either with the help of newsletter popup or ebook.

You can get 1-3K email subscribers per month with 50K+ monthly traffic.

Ebooks also work pretty well. Just create an aggressive popup (e.g. after 4 seconds visiting the site) with form to get an Ebook. In ebooks, you can include some additional questions – how many employees your company has? what is your job role or sector? etc.

After you have all these TOFU leads, nurture them with emails and push down the funnel. This SEO strategy for startups works ok with me.

It is harder to push users immediately to trial, demo or purchase straight from SEO.

Remember, an average person interacts with your content at least 7 times, before taking a decision.

And most of the niches are super competitive these days. So, be aware of this fact. Don’t expect thousands of users rushing into your product demo straight from the blog and don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. It can be ok.

 

SEO tools for startups

You can be surprised, but most important SEO tools – for basic SEO work – can be accessed for free.

I always prefer Google-developed tools, as they have access to original data.

Let’s quickly mention my favourite SEO tools for startups:

 

Search Console – free tool from Google to analyze your SEO metrics.

Google Analytics – free analytics tool.

Buzzstream (paid) – SEO outreach.

Yoast (freemium) – best SEO plugin for WordPress.

 

Keyword research

Google autosuggest (free)

Google keyword planner (free)

Keywordtool.io (paid)

Ahrefs (paid) – advanced level

 

SEO audit tools

SEO analyzer from Neil Patel (free)

SEOptimer (freemium)

Semrush (paid)

Ahrefs

 

Backlinks, Domain authority

Ahrefs

Moz Link Explorer (freemium)

 

Content tools

Grammarly (freemium)

Plagiarism checkers

 

If you want to dive deeper, here is my exhaustive list of 40+ free and paid SEO tools for advanced SEO.

 

Startup SEO mistakes

There can be a lot of pitfalls in startup SEO.

Very often, your team just don’t have any resources for SEO in the beginning.

Here is an overview of some most common mistakes in a startup SEO.

1. Not caring about SEO at all

Very often, technical co-founders don’t have time for SEO, while focusing on the product. And the commercial team – quite often is focusing on outbound sales, not inbound SEO.

Or your team just don’t have an in-house SEO specialist. Or just don’t understand its importance, while focusing on paid campaigns.

Therefore, SEO is quite often neglected. However, it can be crucial for e.g. B2C business.

2. Expecting quick SEO wins

SEO is not the same as Google ads or Facebook ads. You can’t just enable it in few seconds. It can take a few months (usually more than six) for tangible SEO results with a new site.

3. Hiring expensive SEO agency with no clue what they are doing

Outsourcing SEO for startup sounds like a great idea in the beginning.

But, SEO agencies can be really expensive, so you should be super aware, how your money is spent.

Some fancy e.g. London-based SEO agency can easily charge $1500+ for 4-5 quality backlinks with $5000+ minimum order.

Don’t take me wrong, it’s totally fine to invest these amounts in SEO, but you should track and understand these campaigns.

4. Not having a blog

A lot of startups only feature a basic website with 4-5 pages, without any blog.

Start blogging – it’s hard, don’t bring immediate results. But, with a strategic approach, a blog can be a super powerful inbound marketing machine. Look at the Buffer blog, with 1,5+ million visitors per month.

5. Incorrect blog setup

Don’t host your blog on third party domain – e.g. Medium. You can use Medium, but tie it to your domain.

Also, it’s preferable to host a blog in a subfolder, not subdomain – better for SEO.

6. Not building backlinks

Believe me, most startup founders have no idea about link building and why it is important to grow your business.

Read my exhaustive guide with 40+ ways to get backlinks for free.

7. No keyword research

Very often, content teams in startups produce content without proper topic/keyword research.

In other words, it is called “put some sh** on the wall and hope it sticks”. 💩

8. Not proper tech SEO setup

You need to make sure, that your website at least is:

  • fast (it is a whole another topic);
  • indexable (it can be an issue for javascript sites) + robots.txt, sitemaps, etc.;
  • great UX & UI on mobile and desktop;
  • etc.

 

SEO agencies for startups

If you are with limited resources, here are some SEO tools/agencies, which can be useful for startups.

For building backlinks (the hardest part):

TheHoth

Rhinorank.io

Contento.marketing

Marketerscenter

Outreachmama

Just don’t buy 10000 backlinks for $5 on Fiverr 😉

For writing content:

You can find good writers on Upwork or Fiverr.

 

Back to you

Leave your feedback in comments below! Was it useful, what did I miss?

Also, feel free to ping hello@onlinehikes.com if you are a startup and struggling with your SEO.