Do you own a startup or work to promote startup businesses? Then, you must agree that with fast-evolving ranking algorithms and SEO techniques, it is difficult for businesses to optimize their presence in search results.
And you know the catch? SEO for startups gets even more challenging as they need to spread the word about their business before the funds run out.
As a startup, you need to tell people who you are and how you can help them. And the best way to get found by people who might be interested in your products or services is to rank higher in relevant search results.
Leveraging effective SEO for startups can help you leave a mark on the minds of your target consumers and get an edge over your competitors. You can drive targeted traffic to your website and get an opportunity to engage an audience that matters.
But how do you do this? But for this to happen, you need to draft a solid SEO strategy for your brand. I recommend that you hire a leading SEO consultant or firm to work on SEO for your startup.
An SEO expert can help you get your website noticed by the right audience easily. They can also help you choose the right SEO practices for startups and protect your site against Google penalties.
In this post, I’ll discuss the major SEO challenges that startups face and how you can overcome them to grow your business.
Ready to dive in?
SEO for Startups: Main Challenges
Being aware of the major challenges of optimizing your content for an improved search presence can make the journey easier. As a startup owner, you should take a look at the challenges below, and get ready to overcome them.
Expectations vs. Reality of SEO
When you hire an expert to work on SEO your startup, you obviously expect to get quick results.
But are quick results a reality?
Results can sometimes take time. No matter how well you optimize your website, it can still take you time to earn the respect and trust of the search engines.
There are a number of factors, including search engine algorithms, that can impact the results of your SEO strategy. You will need to produce great content consistently and build a decent number of high-quality links over time.
Sometimes, your competitors might be spending much more money on their SEO strategies. This can also prevent you from ranking higher against them. Makes sense, right?
So before you question the knowledge and expertise of your SEO consultant, you should get a realistic picture of when you can expect your SEO tactics to yield visible results.
Fake SEO Companies
Fake SEO companies have popped up in dozens. They’ll tell you that SEO is all about keywords, black-hat practices, and hoodwinking search engines.
How can you identify the fake ones? If someone promises you heaven and earth for $50 a week, you better be skeptical about it. Unreasonably low cost is the first bait that a fake SEO company will throw at you.
They’ll likely urge you to guest post on irrelevant, low-ranking websites and create accounts on social media websites that have abysmal memberships just to show you that work is being done.
If a company promises results within a week, you better steer clear from them. You should take the time to analyze and choose the right consultant or company to handle your SEO needs for startups.
Many startups forget to allocate a budget for their SEO needs. Does that sound like you?
If you want to maximize the results of an SEO strategy for startups, you should allocate an SEO budget for it right from the start.
It is important for startups to determine specific SEO goals such as the amount of traffic they want to drive or the keywords they want to rank for. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can draft a strategy that can help you get there.
Your next job is to distribute your budget to specific areas, including:
Hiring an expert to work on SEO for startups
- Producing high-quality content that is authentic, relevant, and keyword-optimized
- Reaching out to high DA websites for guest posting and link building opportunities
- Promoting content through social media, press releases, community forums, etc.
- Subscribing to paid tools for keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink analysis, and more
You should learn how to plan a budget for SEO for startups and how to use your budget wisely for various SEO activities.
New vs. Old SEO Tactics
Search engines like Google constantly change their algorithms and introduce new ones. In other words, the parameters to index your business presence online will always change.
Why should you care? To succeed at SEO, startups need to be in-sync with the latest updates.
Most old SEO tactics that were sure-shot winners a few years ago, attract penalties from search engines today. So, webmasters dwelling in the past can actually pull down startup businesses in SEO.
SEO is a culmination of several online efforts at getting your brand name noticed on the World Wide Web.
Certain SEO tactics, such as AdWords and paid social media campaigns, can show instant results. However, other generic SEO efforts can take time to show results.
So, what can you do about it?
If you want a clearer picture about the amount of time it takes, ask your SEO consultant about it. You should conduct some research on your own and verify the claims too.
Social Media vs. SEO
We’re surrounded by social media nowadays. It’s natural to believe that presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms is the end of all.
However, the reality can be quite different. Social media and SEO aren’t competing forces, but they do complement each other.
In other words, social media management is a part of SEO. So, if you’re facing the dilemma of choosing between the two, stop worrying. Your startup needs both.
Return on Investment (ROI)
It makes common sense for startup businesses in SEO to shelve any particular campaign if it fails to generate adequate ROI. Calculating the ROI of SEO campaigns can be quite a challenge though.
Luckily, there are enough tools out there to effectively measure the ROI. So, your startup can easily judge if you are on the right track.
And the good news? Most SEO experts will conveniently give you the statistics on ROI so that you don’t end up calculating it erroneously.
Producing quality content is at the core of your SEO strategy. It’s not directly related to SEO, but it’s closely interlinked.
If you want to build a good reputation for your startup, you need to focus on the quality of your content. That’s because it reflects your brand’s image.
Search engines use various different metrics to determine how readable your content is. So, keep in mind that your copy needs to appeal to crawlers as well as your audience. You need to find the right balance to appeal to both.
When you’re looking for copywriters for your startup, it’s likely that you’ll come across people who are offering their services for very cheap rates.
It’s tempting to decrease your budget and go with the person who has the lowest rates. But before you make a decision, make sure that you’re going to get quality work.
Why is that important? If the content on your website is full of grammatical errors, it reflects poorly on your brand. Ultimately, it ends up damaging the reputation of your startup.
Even while you’re working on your content strategy, you might be torn between quality and quantity. It may be tempting to publish more articles and content. But in the long run, it can be counter-productive.
On the other hand, you might also face the challenge of choosing between keyword-centric content or something that’s truly engaging.
What should you do? Stuffing your content with keywords isn’t a good idea. Along with keywords, search engines also look at engagement. And you’ll only get engagement on your content if it provides some value to the readers.
How Can You Overcome SEO Challenges for Startups?
Overcoming these SEO challenges for startups isn’t as tough as it seems.
You need to take the time to conduct adequate research, strategize, find the right SEO expert or firm, and get going.
Want to learn more about it?
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to maximize the results of your SEO strategies for startups.
Make a List of Competing Experts
Initially, you’ll have to take enough time to find the right person. Don’t engage the first SEO expert that you put your sights on. You’ll be entrusting your startup’s online visibility to the SEO expert. So, it’s important that you find the right person. Makes sense, right?
Narrow down your list to a few experts that you feel are good for the job. You can then eliminate the rest and stick to one.
An expert who gives a tailor-made solution to problems poised by startup businesses in SEO is always the best choice.
Check Online Reviews
Online reviews by reputable businesses and business personalities are important.
Why so? This is mainly because one can’t forge reviews by such entities. Try to find out if they have worked for a startup before.
These reviews will give you a good idea of how happy clients have been with the SEO expert. The expert’s response to the reviews will also throw light on the kind of personality you’re dealing with.
Get Referrals and Recommendations
Don’t ignore suggestions made by family members, friends, colleagues, and business acquaintances. If you get a reliable referral through someone who has your best interests in mind, there’s nothing like it.
Get in touch with the referred SEO expert and explain your startup to him or her in detail. Even if the person isn’t the best fit, you’ll surely get some valuable advice. What do you have to lose?
Make Certain the Expert is Up-to-Date
As mentioned before, it’s imperative that you hire an SEO consultant who knows current SEO strategies.
Someone who is stuck with old tactics can spell doom for your online presence. Prepare a number of questions to ask your expert.
Make sure that they’re not suggesting any unethical online practices like link farms. Ultimately, startup businesses in SEO who use these strategies are penalized.
Double Check Past Experience
People can easily claim to have extensive experience to get ahead of the competition. Steer clear of fraudulent claims by cross verifying the expert’s past work history. You don’t want such people working for your startup.
Don’t shy away from calling the reference or previous employer to check the expert out. Be wary of so-called SEO experts who tell you that reference contacts can’t be provided.
If they’ve mentioned a name in the proposal given to you, they must be open to verification.
Make an Appointment
In this modern world of technology, you don’t necessarily need to meet someone in person. You can always use tools like Skype to get in touch with the SEO expert at a particular time to discuss matters and strategies. This can also become a channel for quick communication in the future if you strike a deal.
Whatever medium you choose, make sure you’re setting up enough meetings to understand who they are and what they can bring to the table. Only once you are convinced that they are competent, move on to discussing details.
Negotiate a Competitive Fee
A majority of experienced SEO professionals for startups may ask for high fees.
Can you really afford such a pricey resource? As a startup, you need to keep your outward cash flow in check.
What’s the magic number? You should try to negotiate a fair fee that works the best for both of you. Understand the kind of time that the job demands. Ensure that your payment is in accordance to the expert’s skill sets and experience level.
Execute an Engagement Letter or Retainer
Make your deal with the SEO expert official by executing an engagement letter or retainer. Don’t involve yourself in an informal relationship that’s not governed by anything in writing.
This works in two ways. For you, it’s a guarantee that the expert works for you at least a set number of hours a week. For the expert, the agreement signifies a guarantee of payment. You are more likely to trust each other in this setting.
Set Realistic Expectations
Once you have zeroed in on an SEO expert, make sure you have discussed what you expect to be done.
How should you proceed?
Appreciate their expertise and ask them what they think you should work on first. Based on that, set realistic goals for your startup’s SEO campaign.
It’s very important to be on the same page with your SEO expert. Clear communication and setting goals and expectations right at the start is a prerequisite of any successful SEO strategy.
Many startups hire an expert and give them goals that are not in-sync with the budget they have allotted. Or they may just begin work without having a clear direction. In such cases, it’s difficult to stay focused on your goals in the long term.
As a startup, of course, you may need to change your goals and strategies from time to time. So, leave space for some flexibility but have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
Get Monthly Updates
Sure you’re not an expert on SEO, but that doesn’t mean you don’t check on the progress. You must know what the expert is doing and how it works. At the end of it, you should know where your startup’s SEO strategy is headed.
A good SEO consultant will explain the progress in a language that you understand. What if they don’t? You can always ask them to do so. Simple?
Just ensure that you’re not impeding the work while trying to keep track of things. Have a set time each month to check whether the previously set milestones have been reached.
It’s natural to face these SEO challenges for startups during your initial phases of optimizing for search results. All you need to overcome these challenges is a solid SEO strategy and the guidance of an experienced SEO consultant or firm.
An SEO consultant can help you optimize your business website for relevant search queries so that you can get the attention of your target audience. Together, you can create and implement SEO strategies that can work well for your niche and business.
Have you faced any challenges while optimizing your business for the SERPs? I’d be happy to discuss and help you overcome them. Please feel free to write to me in the comments section below or you can also schedule a 30-minute FREE consultation call with me.
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This post was very useful considering I am looking to start a business! Thank you for posting this.
Oh that’s very true. I own an SEO company and I can second you that budget play a very important role in good seo campaign execution. Having a solid budget can deliver solid results and long term growth for business.
Thanks for the comment Tomas! And I couldn’t agree more with your comment. Generating loyalty is a key component!
Hello Shane Barker, this is really an interesting post. I am personally a digital marketing professional and an SEO coach too. I have many students who do businesses, and many of them are startup company owners. The challenges you mentioned in this post are really the real-life-SEO problems for businesses. Fake companies, slow improvements, low budget, unavailability of good resources, complicated techniques and frequent updates make things difficult for small companies. We do our best to help businesses by sharing knowledge and techniques, but we strongly believe that at least one core business member must know how SEO works and how to monitor and gauge the job and the improvements over time.
This is so interesting and inspiring post because when I read it I feel joyful. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post ever.
Thank you. It helped me a lot.
Love to read your post! All the info about SEO are very interesting and informative. Keep up the great writing.
Thanks for sharing your tips, I super needed them!!
Thank you Shane for this beautiful article which you will not see in any other blog
Thank you for the auspicious writeup.