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

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Startups are an ambitious undertaking. It takes determination and long hours to build a brand and get your name out there, especially if you’re the new kid in a market with a lot of competition.

The best way to hit the ground running is with an effective marketing strategy, but most startups are working with minimal marketing budgets and limited marketing teams. Much of the capital is devoted to product development, rather than marketing.

That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. For minimal spend, you can boost your search engine ranking and drive organic traffic to your website and pages.

You need to get that ranking on the first page, however. When people search for information on Google, they tend to focus on the top results on the first page. If your content doesn’t show up until the second, third, or fourth page, it’s like you don’t exist.

Getting those first-page rankings is vital to driving traffic, and SEO is the best way to do it.

Why SEO Matters

SEO is a marketing strategy that optimizes search engine rankings to make your website and pages more discoverable. Unlike paid ads, which cost money for traffic, SEO is free and the traffic comes from users looking up information on search engines and seeing your content.

The better you can serve the needs of those searchers, the better your search engine ranking will be. You can provide valuable content in the form of blog posts, videos, and podcasts that solves problems for the search user, giving your brand value and showing the search engine that your content is relevant.

Here’s an example of how that works in practice:

Imagine you’re the parent of a teen driver preparing for a permit test. You’re searching for information about the permit test and resources to help your teen prepare, such as practice tests and study guides.

You click on the first few results on the search engine results page and find the information you’re looking for, leading you to see what else the brand has to offer. You’re spending more time on the site, giving it more authority and showing the search engine that you found what you were looking for.

How to Create an SEO Strategy

Determine Your Target Audience

Traffic of any kind won’t do much for your business. You need targeted traffic that includes your ideal customers – customers who want what you have to offer and may make a purchase in the future.

Driving traffic from the right audiences starts by understanding who that is. You need to define your audience and put yourself in their shoes to deliver content that speaks to them.

Start by asking questions like:

  • What are my audience’s pain points?
  • What does my product or service do for customers?
  • What is my audience’s demographics? Should I have multiple audience segments?
  • Where does my audience spend time online (search, social media, etc.)?
  • What type of content does my audience like?
  • How can I deliver value to my audience?

Do Keyword Research

Keyword research will determine search intent and guide your content strategy. Research the keywords your audience is likely to use, then plan your content to address their needs. It’s best to choose low-hanging keywords, which are “easy” keywords that have low competition and already rank on search engines.

Longtail keywords will also help. These are typically phrases, such as questions, that you can use to form your content. If you’re seeing a lot of questions, you can create posts that answer them in a comprehensive way.

For example, if you notice a lot of parents are using phrases like “how can I help my teen prepare for a driving test?” or “what are the best teen driver resources?” you have a chance to deliver content that answers those questions. 

Establish Yourself as an Authority

Brand authority is the credibility and expertise your brand demonstrates in a particular industry. if you’re in a saturated market, this is crucial to your success. If you can establish yourself as an authority, you can gain a competitive edge over well-known brands.

The search engine also takes your authority into consideration. If you consistently offer targeted and relevant content to your audience, the search engine will see you as an authority, too.

Post Consistently

Managing a first-year startup and all that comes with it can be busy, but you need to prioritize SEO to be successful. Your audience counts on your consistency – if you’re posting a few times a week then fall off the face of the earth for a month, you’re losing a valuable following.

It’s best to schedule your content. Decide on how often you can manage to post, then schedule it out to make things easier. It’s better to focus on quality over quantity.

Boost Your Organic Traffic with SEO

Many startups fail to gain traction in their first year. SEO gives you an opportunity to boost your online presence, generate organic traffic, and establish your brand trust and authority, all without dumping a ton of money into marketing efforts. 


Author: Tim Waldenback

Tim Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.

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