SEO for Startups: Using SEO to Energize Organic Traffic in the First Year

search engine optimization


Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the more crucial elements of your marketing strategy. This strategy is what makes your website, your content, and your products stand out in crowded search engines like Google. 


An effective marketing strategy must emphasize SEO best practices, but a startup can’t afford to get lost in the shuffle. Major brands are easily recognized, trusted, and even sought after directly. Your startup won’t have that level of online leverage. 


Usually, in the first year of a startup’s life, the marketing budget is light. Most funds are filtered into product development and overhead. You must make SEO and marketing a priority for your startup so your brand can be discovered by a new audience and you can make more sales. 


Most search engines will produce enough results to keep people on the first page, maybe the first two. Websites and products that fall lower down on the search engine results page (SERP) or that don’t make it on the first page are far less likely to get a good click-through rate. 


If you’re not ranking high on the SERP, your chances of generating organic traffic decrease dramatically. Optimizing your website, content, and digital assets for SEO is the long game and requires consistency and patience but there’s no replacement for organic traffic that only costs effort and zero ad spend. 


Here are a few best practices in SEO to help boost organic traffic to your startup!


SEO Basics

SEO helps your website generate more unpaid traffic instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on pricey ads or affiliate links. Search engines crawl your content for “on-page SEO” in your articles, videos, website copy, blogs, newsletters, and social media to compile search results.


For example, someone studying for a driver’s permit test in Oklahoma may search for “how to pass a practice permit test in Oklahoma.” When the results are displayed, typically websites that rank higher on the page are what will draw the most clicks from searchers, like this permit test on the Zutobi website.


Google will recognize that your website is a match for that search to verify your ranking. This adds to your brand’s credibility in Google’s eyes, and you will be displayed in more relevant searches. 


There are also more technical elements of an SEO strategy, like backlinking and schema markups. These are both elements that help search engines verify your website’s credibility and prove you deserve to be displayed higher up in search results.


Why Startups Need an Effective SEO Strategy

Higher search engine ranking is one of the best ways to be discovered by new customers. But for a brand-new business like yours, it can be tough to add another thing to your plate. 


Here are a few reasons to inspire you to implement a solid SEO strategy. 


Brand Awareness


Most searchers find new brands when they need to solve a problem, such as how to change the oil in their car or if they need to learn about proper passing laws before a driver’s test. When your brand shows up in search rankings and helps them solve their problem, they’ll remember and be excited to share how you helped them with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and the internet!


As you gain customers, make sure they walk away happy with your product or services. You can then leverage their reviews and testimonials to advance your credibility even further. This, in turn, lends itself to even more sales. 


Inexpensive Website Traffic


If you’re like most startups, you’re not working with a huge marketing budget. You don’t have unlimited funds to drop into paid strategies like ads, influencers, or affiliates. This is why SEO is the most cost-effective strategy at this stage of your business


Most of the budget is expended in time and maybe the cost of a few tools to help enhance your efforts. Due to the low cost, SEO has the potential to generate some of the highest ROI of any marketing strategy.  


Building Brand Credibility


Your company’s credibility is directly tied to the level of trust customers, and visitors have in your brand. Credibility can be established through positive customer experiences, consistent content creation, and positioning your brand as an expert in the industry. 


You want to be the “go-to” solution your customer seeks out when they have the problem you solve. In order to do that, you have to be findable! If your content is ranking on search engines, this shows the user that you’re serious about what you do, and they’re more likely to trust you. 


Improved User Experience


User experience refers to how easily it is for visitors to use and navigate your website. While user experience isn’t technically a component of SEO strategy, it’s still important.


Google can track how long someone stays on your website and how well it’s performing. If a user clicked on your result and then abandoned ship because your graphics are terrible or nothing will load, this could impact future rankings.


How to Use SEO to Boost Traffic

The following are several tips that can help you generate organic traffic for your startup using effective SEO strategies. 


Zero In on Your Target Audience


While organic traffic is exactly what you need, it’s meaningless if you’re attracting the wrong customers who won’t actually buy from you. 


Targeting your services, messaging, graphics, and branding to attract only your ideal customers is the best way to turn clicks into sales and one-time sales into repeat customers. 


How can you identify your target audience? 


Get in their head!


  • Determine your target demographics
  • What problem are they trying to solve?
  • What pain are they experiencing?
  • How can you produce content they want to see?


These are all questions that will help you zero in on your target audience. 


Aim for the Low-Hanging Fruit


Work smarter, not harder! Keywords that are considered “low-hanging keywords” are phrases that already rank well on search engines and that aren’t highly competitive. These words already perform well and can improve your search rankings just by using them. 


Put the time into researching the keywords that are relevant to your audience. Longtail keywords are full phrases, instead of just a few words, and yield better SEO results. Once you’ve done the research, you can reverse engineer what content will connect with your target customer.


Patience Is a Virtue


While an SEO strategy is extremely cost-effective, it’s not a fast-track strategy. Developing an effective strategy takes time and consistent content production before you really see results. 


You can also run paid ads if the money is available, and this will automatically increase visibility and possibly traffic. Keep in mind you may attract anyone and everyone instead of just the right ones. 


Position Yourself as an Industry Leader


Standing out from the crowd is difficult to do when you’re just launching your startup. You have to create that image of yourself and your brand by creating content that showcases your expertise and helps your target audience.  


Don’t Forget About Technical SEO


Technical SEO takes place on a more behind-the-scenes level that is different from on-page SEO. On-page SEO is keyword-infused content on your website and other digital assets. 


The technical side of an effective SEO strategy is in your programming and website functionality. Here are a few ways to improve technical SEO:


Create a Schema Markup


Also known as structured data or internal code, schema markup is the language of search engines and uses a unique semantic vocabulary. If your website is on the mega internet hoster, WordPress, there are plugins you can install to create or improve your schema markup. 


Mobile Optimization


Most website builder platforms allow you to create and test your site for both desktop and mobile use. Be sure to make any necessary adjustments so visitors can have the same positive experience on either platform. 


Audit Load Time


If your website takes more than a few seconds to fully load, visitors will leave. Reduce the size of images enough to improve the time it takes to load without compromising aesthetics. 


Optimize Navigation


If a visitor is unsure of how to quickly navigate your website or your menu is confusing, they will get frustrated and leave. Make sure your site is optimized and guides the visitor to the action you want them to take.


Stay Consistent


Consistent content creation can be difficult for a startup to implement when you’re still building your business. Creating a reliable schedule or batching your content and uploading it to post at a specific time will help you be consistent. 


There are also writing agencies or affordable virtual assistants who can help you develop content if the task is too overwhelming. 


SEO for Startups: Drive More Organic Traffic!

We all know the internet is crowded, and so many brand voices are trying to stand out, just like you. But don’t let this discourage you! That just means SEO will continue to be an effective strategy in order to serve relevant results to those who search. 


Start now, today even, by optimizing the content and functionality of your website in order to increase brand awareness and drive more organic traffic to your website. 




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