As of 2023, there are 1.13 billion websites on the internet of which 200,121,724 are active.
With the rise in the number of websites at the rate of 252,000 every single day the chances of people finding your startup are rare.
Unless of course, you know how to let search engines find your Startup and put it on top of their search results.
Wait, is that possible?
Since startups are always on a budget, the best way for them to scale is by growing organically.
For that, you will need a proper search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and consistent implementation of that strategy.
The thing is, it is extremely overwhelming for startups to gain expertise in SEO and implement it for their business.
Fret not, this blog holds the answer to all your SEO queries.
What to expect from this blog?
- Understanding the importance of SEO for startups.
- Benefits of SEO for startups.
- When should you get started with SEO?
- Shortcomings of traditional SEO techniques.
- Latest SEO techniques for Startups in 2023.
- Steps to create an SEO strategy in 2023.
- Best SEO tools in 2023.
- Examples of startups with the best SEO strategy.
- How much you should spend on SEO.
Let’s dive deeper into the realm of SEO for startups.
Why SEO For Startups Is Essential?
Everyone is talking about SEO being important. Yet we have come across very few websites that get into why it is important, especially for startups.
Well, SEO is not essential for everyone. If you are a startup that doesn’t want a website or online presence why bother about SEO at all?
But, if you are planning to launch a website or already have one as a start-up, you have to get into optimization and stuff.
The question is why?
Because there are already 1 billion existing websites on the internet. Niching it down to your industry you might at least find a hundred thousand websites, which means there many competitions.
Some of them might as well have implemented a strategic SEO plan and ranked on the top and others paving their way.
Moreover, search engine aims to provide the most relevant information to their users by crawling through billions of web pages.
With the help of search engine optimization is the way you can tell the crawlers that it is your business that will provide the most relevant information.
What does SEO do for startups or small businesses?
We can’t emphasize the importance of SEO for startups and small businesses enough.
It not only helps you to build trust and authority in your industry but also allows you to turn your audience into customers.
Apart from that SEO also helps a startup in ways that include:
Understand Customer Behavior’s
It’s not just about finding you online. As a startup, you need to understand your customers even more than anyone else.
To succeed, your product and services should be customer-centric. For that to happen the core of your business should lie in understanding and analyzing your customers.
SEO gives you that opportunity by ranking you on the top of search results.
For example, what is the age group of people visiting your website? Do they like a particular content? If not why not?
The answer to these questions can guide you through future business decisions. You can improve your business mindfully by using results from SEO as your guardian.
Boost Organic Traffic
As per research conducted by BrightEdge, 53% of website traffic to businesses was driven by organic search. There’s more!
95% of web traffic is driven from the first page of the search engine. So, if you want organic traffic you have to rank on the first page sooner or later.
That said, only a proper search engine optimization strategy can help you with ranking on the SERP.
Gives Better ROI
According to Search Engine Journal, 49% of marketers have witnessed that organic search has the highest ROI than other marketing.
The reason behind it is that SEO is much cheaper as compared to other forms of marketing.
We are not saying it is free of cost as others claim, but you will spend less amount and the revenue generated will be huge.
When Should Startups Use SEO?
We have often come across questions from clients like “When is the right time to start SEO?”
To them our answer has always been, as soon as you have launched your website, you should start implementing SEO techniques to it. The only thing you should consider before starting is that:
- You have the resources and are willing to win the big game rather than being desperate about immediate results.
- Your website is user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and has a clear navigation structure. Since 92.1% of internet users prefer to use the internet through a mobile, the Search engine prioritizes mobile-responsive websites.
Why Traditional SEO Practices Don’t Work for Startups in 2023?
Everything needs upgradation to sustain and that includes the Google search engine.
The search engine works towards improving its algorithm by accommodating changes that enhance user experience.
For example, earlier keyword density used to play a major role in the ranking of content. Now google no longer uses keyword density to validate whether a web page is worth ranking.
Not just this one, several other outdated SEO practices simply don’t work in today’s scenario.
In 2022, google made two major updates to its algorithm one of which was their Helpful Content update. This update ensures that AI content without editing is ranked as low-quality content.
Gone are those days when you could buy backlinks, market articles, and win over your competitors.
Hence, you need to get rid of outdated practices and focus on what works for your website today.
Best SEO Practices for Startups in 2023
Improve User Experience (UX)
Google aims to provide the best user experience to its users. Be it finding the most relevant results to their queries or other experiences like the page load speed of a website, google takes everything into account.
Some of the most common update of Google algorithm to enhance user experience includes the Google mobile-first indexing in 2018, E-A-T in 2014, Spam update, etc.
Hence to win the game as a startup, you should focus on your audience’s experience more than anything else.
How do you do that?
- Build a mobile-friendly website
- Reduce page load time
- Optimize metadata
- Remove duplicate content
Optimize With Voice Search Feature
Ever since voice assistants like Siri and Alexa brands have been quite creative in optimizing their websites with voice search. This has helped them see a boost in traffic and an increase in user engagement.
As per research, in the USA around 39% of people use voice assistance at least once and voice assistance like Siri takes 40% of answers from featured snippets.
Hence while optimizing your website for voice search make sure you pay extra attention to featured snippets because they are considered the best answers.
Use Different Media Types
There are a few factors that affect your ranking indirectly. One of them is the media types that you use. The type of media directly contributes to the user experience.
Hence, apart from images, you can use audio, GIFs, infographics, videos, etc. These increase the reader’s engagement with your content.
As per research so far video is the top media type. 3.37 billion internet users consumed content in video form. In fact, 92 percent of marketers have reported that short videos provide the maximum ROI.
There’s more to it! Articles that have videos have better chances of getting backlinks and observe a spike in traffic by 157%.
How to optimize your website with video content?
For that, the first step will be to create a YouTube channel as a secondary marketing platform. You can upload videos over there and share them on your website.
Hunt “Top of the Funnel” Keywords
When we choose keywords, we generally intend our readers to have three types of outcomes.
- Awareness of topics related to your brand
- Consideration of your brand
- Make decision.
Building awareness is at the top of the Funnel where the main focus is on grabbing your audience’s attention on topics related to your domain.
These forms of content are fewer sales and draw consumers to your brand without them realizing it. In fact, 95% of top-level marketers have used Top of the funnel content for their clients.
But what is top of the funnel keywords?
These are the keywords that answer the general query about your brand. For example, if you are a brand selling video games your top-of-the-funnel keywords can be “play video games”.
How do we choose these keywords?
- Create a buyer’s personality that resonates with your brand.
- Choose keywords that have high search volume, less difficulty and will provide value to your buyer’s persona.
Optimize With Lazy-Load Images
Lazy Load images is a technique where you can load an image on your website only when it is required.
Lazy Load images help websites to reduce their page load time and as we know lower page load time is extremely crucial when it comes to ranking on Google.
Lazy-load images also reduce the initial load on pages and the unnecessary use of resources.
Step By Step Process to Build an SEO Strategy for Startups In 2023?
Before implementing SEO on your website, you have an optimization strategy in place. To create an optimization strategy, you need to look into your competitor’s set goals, follow some basic SEO techniques, fix errors, etc.
Let’s understand these steps in detail.
Step 1: Find Keywords You Want to Rank For
The search engine crawls through keywords that match the searcher’s intent. The algorithm matches the searcher’s keyword with the website’s keywords to provide the search results.
Hence your SEO strategy’s success is dependent on the keywords you choose to rank for.
To find the keywords you can do an in-depth keyword analysis using keyword research tools. While considering the keywords you must look into their relevance, competition, and search volume.
As a startup, it is suggested to go for fewer competition keywords with decent volume. You also need to look into websites that are already ranking for the keywords you want to rank for and if they are relevant to your industry.
If we put the keyword “best golf shoes” the pages ranking on the top are either e-commerce pages or buying guide and review pages.
Now if you are selling golf courses, this keyword will not be relevant to your domain and you cannot aim to rank with it.
Rather picking up keywords like “golf swing tips”, and “golf swing tips for beginners” should be the ones to target since they have less competition and decent search volumes.
Step 2: Analyze Your Competitor’s SEO Strategy
To build a SEO strategy that performs well for your audience you need to analyze your competitors. Analyzing your competitors gives you an idea of your audience as well as the keywords to target. In fact, you can spot their weaknesses and make them your strength.
Competitor analysis involves three steps:
Identify your competitor
Find the websites that are targeting the same keywords as you are. These websites are your SEO competitors.
Finding your SEO competitors can be hectic if you are trying it manually. We have listed out tools in the later section of this article. You can use some of those tools to fasten your process.
Find the keywords they are ranking
Now that you know whom to compete with, steal the opportunity to find the keywords they are ranking for but you are not. You can use the same tool for this procedure.
By targeting those keywords, you can have a chance to gain more traffic.
Analyze their backlinks
The last step in a competitor analysis is finding the backlink gap between you and your competitor. Although backlinks’ importance in SEO is a matter of debate, having an authentic one gives you an edge.
Find the websites from which your competitors have got a backlink. If you have better content than theirs, they might as well give you a backlink.
Step 3: Set Your SEO Goals
Now you have your keyword list and a complete analysis of your competitors. The next step to build a strategy is to define your goals.
Goals are the outcome you expect from your SEO strategy. This can be anything from gaining visibility to generating more leads.
The thing you must understand is that you need to set realistic and achievable goals. We have come across numerous startups that have loft goals that lead to the quick abandonment of SEO altogether.
When we set SEO goals for our clients, we look into the business’s current data including conversion rate, search volumes, and other parameters, and give them an estimate of sales, leads, or CRT they must target in a time frame.
In order to track your performance, you need to measure the KPIs. You can look into the following KPIs:
- Organic traffic
- Keyword ranking
- Bounce rate
- Page load speed
For example, if your goal is to increase your organic revenue by 10 percent in 3 months. In such cases, the KPI you must target is your organic traffic, ranking, etc.
Step 4: Produce Quality Content
Since you have the keywords, the next step is to produce content for the search engine to find you. By quality content, we refer to different aspects of good content.
The first and most important aspect while producing your content is to provide value to your audience by meeting the searcher’s intent.
Searcher’s intent is the purpose of an online search. It is the reason why your audience is searching in the first place.
Your content can be of different types including blogs, listicles, how-to guides, etc. Some of the most ranked content kinds are:
- Detailed articles
Step 6: Focus on On-Page SEO
Once you have a few pieces of content on your website your next big task is to focus on the On-page SEO.
On-page SEO has remained one of the crucial factors for ranking on Google and it ain’t going anytime soon.
Some of the On-Page SEO with your attention includes:
- Meta Tags
- Internal Links
- Header Tags
- Image optimization
- Keyword Cannibalization
- Content audit
The above-mentioned On-page SEO parameters are some of the most common practices. The main point is that you need to do everything in your power to craft high-quality content that search engines can crawl through and showcase to your audience.
Step 7: Do Not Ignore Your Off-Page SEO
It’s not enough to optimize the content on your website. In order to create a SEO strategy, you must have a well-planned off-page SEO strategy.
While On-page SEO helps you optimize a single piece of content your Off Page SEO strategy will help you build a reputation.
A website with more reputation ranks better because search engine finds them to be trustworthy and expert in its niche.
There are three off-page SEO techniques you must pay attention to:
- Building backlinks
- Increasing branded searches
- Sharing on different social media platforms.
Step 8: Audit Your Site to Fix Technical Errors
You have optimized your content on the website, and done everything to build your reputation, but what about optimizing your overall website?
That’s where technical SEO comes in. Technical SEO refers to website and server optimization such that search engines can index your web pages.
To improve your site’s technical optimization, you need to take into account other factors like:
Some of the technical red flags for your business website include:
- 404 pages
- 301 redirects
- No XML sitemaps
- Duplicate content
- Not enough use of structured data
- No HTTP security
- Presence of thin content
- Presence of Canonical tags
The best way to avoid these red flags is to use the Google search console. Their monitor and troubleshoot the issues.
Fixing technical issues can be a bit overwhelming as at times a wrong move can damage your site. Hence, it is always recommended to seek expert help to ensure that you are on the right track.
Step 9: Track Your Performance and Update Your Strategy
As we mentioned earlier, google keeps on updating its algorithm to provide a better user experience. So, you can’t expect the same strategy to work for months.
Your strategies need time-to-time analysis. You need to track your KPI performance every month and update your strategy as per the requirement.
Best Tools for SEO for Startups in 2023
There are tons of SEO tools in the market. Startups face difficulties in choosing from so many options. That’s why we have jotted down free and paid tools that will assist startups in each step of their SEO strategy. From keyword research to Off-Page SEO these tools have got you covered!
Free Keyword Research Tools
Google keyword planner
Even though the tool is free, the information is quite reliable. Why? Well, because the information is scrapped directly from the search engine. Google keyword planners will help you out with:
- Finding new and relevant keywords
- keyword difficulty
- Keyword volume
Question DB is again another free SEO tool that is quite different from the generic tools. How?
This tool gives the list of questions that people ask for. All you need to do is enter a broad topic or seed keyword.
In a matter of minutes, you will have a list of questions acquired from sites like Reddit, Quora, and Stack Exchange.
Paid Keyword Research Tool
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
There’s both a paid and free version of Ahrefs Keyword Explorer. Of Course, the paid one is much more useful and informative that can bring multiple of information to the table.
All you need to do is enter a keyword or any word and wait! The tool has every minute detail regarding that keyword and numerous other variations of the keyword.
Details like the difficulty, volume, volume difficulty distribution, clicks, etc can be found under one roof.
Price: $99-$999 per month
Now this one is a powerhouse of keywords. With over 21 million keywords on its database, Semrush offers 6 keyword research tools to its customers.
The tools also include questions, content ideas around the keyword, suggestions, intent of the keyword, SERP analysis, and other data.
Price: $119.95 to $449.95 per month.
Tools For SEO Competitor Analysis
Free Competitor analysis tools
Similar Web is an analytical tool that provides comprehensive insights into the market and competitors.
Similar Web will give you a traffic analysis of your competitors and a view of their online DTC.
With Similar Web, you will be able to answer the following questions:
- Am I performing well compared to my competitors?
- Have my competitors seen a rise or drop in traffic?
- Is the drop in traffic due to my SEO strategy Or is everyone in the industry witnessing similar trends?
The ability of Google Trends is not limited to finding keywords and the latest SEO trends to improve your content marketing.
One of their popular benefits includes monitoring brands that are your potential competitors.
You can take multiple competitor websites at once and have a combined comparison graph with your website.
These graphs will let you know when and how well they are doing compared to you.
Paid Competitor Analysis Tools
Semrush SERP analysis tool is one of the best competitor research tools we have come across.
Each URL is assigned an authority based on its traffic, backlinks, etc which will help you understand your competitors ranking game.
Moreover, you can use Semrush to produce a detailed backlink analysis of your competitor. This will help you understand where your competitors and getting backlinks from, the average no. of backlinks they are getting per post, etc.
The best part? Your job is to enter an URL!
Price: $119.95 to $449.95 per month.
SpyFu is an affordable competitor analysis tool that can create a report of data for competitor analysis.
An additional benefit of having SpyFu is that the tool gives you the best web pages from which you can get backlinks.
Once you give the tool an input of a phrase or keyword, it analyses the common backlink domain of the top 5000 sites ranking for the keyword.
You can also get the backlinks sorted by their type.
Price: $39 per month
Tools For On-page SEO
Free Tools for On-Page SEO
Serpstat compares your Page SEO with competitors performing better than you. And then it gives you info on big to little things that matter.
For example, the title tags that are too small or too long, missing or duplicate meta tags, 404 error, missing H2, etc.
The more interesting part is it categorizes issues as per priority from high to medium and low.
Sitechecker is a technical SEO audit tool that crawls through your website to audit your technical SEO performance.
It analyses the technical factors that work as an obstacle to generating traffic with solutions to fix it.
Paid Tools for On-Page SEO
Frase is an end-to-end solution for your entire content workflow, from content planning and creation to optimization and analytics.
Now this one is your one-stop solution for On-Page SEO. From content planning to optimization, you will have it all.
The optimization and analysis tool will compare your on-page SEO with competitors for a particular webpage and find factors that lead your competitors to rank higher.
Apart from that, Frase includes other features such as SERP analysis, keyword volume, etc.
Price: 14.99$ per month
PageOptimiser Pro is an On-Page SEO tool that tests and analyses a website’s on-page performance to provide them with a score.
You have to give the tool a keyword and it will provide a content brief incorporated with SEO suggestions.
The tool’s scoring system is based on 400-plus tests to provide real-time SEO suggestions.
Price: $27 per month
Tools For Off-Page SEO
Free Tools for Off-Page SEO
Check my links
Want to find broken links? Finding broken links manually is too much to take as a Start-Up.
That’s why we put our faith in Check My Links.
Check My Links is one of the most trusted free tools to find broken links. They will give you a list of pages with broken links in your domain.
This will help you level up your off-page SEO by getting backlinks from these sites.
Moreover, your chances of getting backlinks increases since you have a helpful reason to approach the site owner.
Linkclump is a Chrome extension that allows you to perform tasks on multiple links on a web page.
LinkClump can help you copy all the links on a webpage and paste them on a spreadsheet. You can also choose the links you want and then open them on another tab.
This might not be the best, but it will save you a lot of time whenever you want to keep track of your backlinks on a particular page.
Paid Tools for Off-Page SEO
BuzzStream covers different aspects of Off-Page SEO that include link building, and increasing brand awareness through social media and PRs.
The tool helps you in writing personalized emails so that you stay connected with the right people in your industry. This increases the chances of getting backlinks and engagement on your website.
The tool also facilitates scheduling, follow-up emails, and reminders to keep in touch with your email network.
Price: Prices start from $24 per month
Trusted by several marketers Ahrefs is a in-one marketing tool that does impressive Off-Page SEO analysis.
The tool can help startups in link building by finding websites that are in a similar field as your business.
Moreover, the tool has features that provide a complete report of your On-Page and Off-Page SEO that requires improvement.
How Much Should a Startup Spend on SEO In 2023?
As per a study by Backlinko, businesses that spend more than $500 on SEO are likely to be more satisfied than those who spend less.
This is because 54.5% of SEOs service providers offer a single pricing model for their services which is either monthly, hourly, or on per project basis. The hourly rate ranges from $75 – $100 whereas the monthly and per-project pricing lies between $501–$1,000 and $2,501–$5,000 respectively.
But does that mean having less budget is equal to giving up on your ranking dreams?
If you are a startup with less budget, you can still incorporate SEO strategies into your business.
The only thing that startups need to understand is that with less budget it will take longer to achieve the desired goals.
3 Startups with Best SEO Practices
We understand what it is like to be a Startup Company. There is too much on your plate and you might be overwhelmed.
This section is for you to take some inspiration. We have jotted down three Startups that have risen to the top in SEO results and paved their way to a billion-dollar valuation.
Canva is an online designing tool launched in 2013. Their product is for people to create visuals for websites, social media campaigns, carousels, etc. without having prior designing knowledge.
They have monthly organic traffic from the US is 141,678,053 and they have a domain authority of 92.
What is their SEO strategy?
- Creating content for user Intent
- Use of content directories
- Building scalable landing pages
- Structured backlink programs
The company has dominated the SERP with over 4 million backlinks through its brilliant content marketing strategy and execution.
Grammarly is a writing assistant that businesses, freelancers, and agencies use to avoid writing mistakes. They use machine learning and NLP to improve their user’s writing.
Gramamrly’s website has a monthly traffic of around 7.4 million of which 38.6% comes from the term Grammarly.
What are Grammarly’s Strongest SEO strategies?
- Targeting long-tail branded searches
- Good Anchor text distribution
- Awesome Backlink Profile
- Direct response marketing
Grammarly’s website focuses on educational content on better communication through a good piece of writing.
Zapier is an automation tool that works on thousands of web apps without any code. Their motive is to fasten the business process by easing processes that slow down employees.
The company has website traffic of 6,560,139/month in the US. Some of their best SEO practices include:
- Optimizing with keywords that have high search demand.
- Using other people’s branded keywords.
- Using pages with a lot of backlinks to boost other pages.
How to 10x SEO traffic and revenue for your startup
You have two objectives for your startup’s SEO strategy:
- Increase relevant traffic
- Increase sales/leads/demonstrations/signups
These user journey indicators can be divided into four categories, each of which can be highly diverse.
We base our content creation on all 3 of our user intent indicators.
For the purpose of directing traffic to relevant content, target each one individually.
Let’s look at how to optimize keywords for each:
Awareness: Show the user how to resolve their issue. As a solution, provide your product or service.
Example keywords: 5w’s, How, Learn, Guide, Resource, Examples
Consideration: Created for those who are interested in learning more about the product, including its specifications, features, etc. Place your product or service in context with other top-performing options.
Example keywords: Vs, Top, Best, Review, Comparison
Decision: At this point, the user is considering whether or not to sign up or make a purchase. Describe the various possibilities they have.
Example keywords: Get, Buy, Pricing, Coupon, Discount
Every month, publish 5 – 10 quality pieces of content in each of these stages.
That’s it. 10x your organic traffic by meeting your users where they are. And, rather than pushing your customers, HELP them through the user journey until they make a purchase.
Wrapping it Up
The competition for ranking on Google is growing every single day. As a startup, it is difficult to reach your audiences through paid marketing due to budget constraints.
Hence the best shot to gain online visibility is by including SEO in your marketing strategy from the very start.
Having an SEO strategy will espouse your business to new audiences and also give you an edge over your competitors.
Make sure you set realistic goals as well as put in hours of research to create a solid SEO strategy. Follow the tips and tricks mentioned in this article and you are all set to level up your SEO game.