To be clear, the issue is not startup businesses per se, but businesses whose marketing activities are constrained by limited resources.
Jump ahead to:
Startup businesses tend to be short of time and money
And most early-stage ventures (aka startup businesses) fit this profile.
Again, to be clear, if you’re in a very well-funded startup and you have the budget for a 6 person content marketing and SEO team, then by all means, go for it.
But most startup businesses do NOT fit this profile.
Yet cheap and easy SEO is no longer a thing
Back in 2010-ish, SEO was much cheaper and much easier.
A sophisticated keyword research tool (my personal favorite was Market Samurai) could find “golden nugget” keywords that had a high degree of relevancy, a reasonably high search volume, reasonably low SEO competition, and a reasonably high commercial value.
Back then a business could quite literally find SEO success with an SEO team of one person.
Now that the Internet is much more crowded, there are no more 2010-era golden nugget keywords.
And the days of cheap and easy (relative to today) are long gone.Check out our Digital PR Platform
And as regards SEO, there is A LOT to do
I found a really good article titled SEO For Startups – Complete Guide that describes what is involved in SEO today.
It describes what, why, and how.
When you get to the section titled The Three Pillars of SEO, you can see that there is a lot to know and a lot to do.
So how does one person, possibly working on this part-time, make progress?
The answer is slowly.
But this does not mean it’s not worth doing.
It is definitely worth doing.
The article linked above starts with the phrase “SEO is a long-term game”, which it is.
The old adage that the while the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, the second best time is today applies to SEO as well.
If you think your startup business is viable (if you don’t, then why are you doing it?) you already know it’s going to take time to gain traction.
Starting SEO now makes sense for two reasons. First, you can’t start anything in the past, but mostly when it does kick in, it will become your cheapest source of leads.
I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count.Check out our Digital PR Platform
So what do you do, and how do you prioritize?
What do you do?
In this section, I’m going to emphasize things the linked-to article mentions, but I believe deserve more emphasis.
But the short answer is, you do what that article says.
Your blog must be the hub of your digital presence
Your website is the only real estate on the Internet where you make the rules.
Years ago, I knew several business owners who spent years developing Facebook into a quality marketing channel for their businesses.
Then Facebook, in response to user demand, decided to prioritize posts from friends and news organizations and de-prioritize posts from businesses.
That marketing channel dried up overnight.
Because Facebook changed the rules.
When you don’t own the website, you don’t make the rules. It doesn’t matter what the platform is.
Why long tail keywords matter
Long tail keywords are multiword keyword phrases.
While “coffee” might be a search term, “home roasting organic coffee” is a long-tail keyword phrase.
Long tail keywords matter because the narrower the niche, the less competitive it is.
Yes, the audience is smaller, but you can get to them with less effort.
In the reality of today’s more crowded Internet, it’s easier to attract one hundred niche audiences than it is to attract one broader more general one.Check out our Digital PR Platform
How do you prioritize?
Start a blog (ON YOUR WEBSITE)
Enough was said on this above.
Publish good stuff
Who defines good? Actually, Google does, in their Search Quality Rater Guidelines.
If you’re serious about SEO, you need to at least scan through this document.
Do not waste time publishing crap content. It’s not worth it.
You need to add to the conversation. If you’re simply saying what hundreds if not thousands have said before, no one will notice.
Read the top 20 articles that rank for a keyword phrase you’d like to rank for and look for what’s missing.
Then write from that perspective.
Work on attracting links
The importance of links to your content visibility can not be overstated.
To understand why, read this: SEO: Link building, digital PR, and the Google origin story
But how do you attract links?
The article linked to earlier in this post has several ideas, but quite seriously, start with us, Organic Growth.
We’ve built a Digital PR platform whose purpose is to make it easier to attract quality links to your quality content.
You should check it out.Check out our Digital PR Platform