No matter how lean your startup, you can at least afford do-it-yourself SEO.
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For entrepreneurs, SEO is an integral part of building a successful startup from the ground up. Despite this, many founders neglect this low cost, high reward business strategy, according to digital growth expert Scott McGovern.
A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is a powerful tool for any startup — and doesn’t have to kill the budget. There are seven reasons why optimization needs to be a priority for every business owner, according to McGovern.
1. SEO delivers customer behavior data to startups.
SEO uncovers significant data. The more search engine optimization research a startup does, the more data they have about what potential customers are searching for.
“When a founder is just beginning their business, they don’t have much data about their audience,” says Scott McGovern. “SEO helps accumulate that data over time. They can continue to benefit from it long after they’ve launched their business.”
Some of the best SEO tools to help you rank higher in Google have free trial versions. Startups can see which words their target customer audience is using to conduct searches. A founder can also conduct their own Google search and input words that pertain to their business.
From there, Google will auto-fill those terms based on how often people search those words.
Related: 7 Best SEO Tools to Help You Rank Higher in Google
2. SEO results in higher traffic and conversions.
SEO helps startups get traffic that can yield conversions and revenue.
Instead of spending money on social media advertising and other marketing tactics, McGovern recommends building out SEO and staying current with Google’s best practices.
“Maybe you’re installing a product or you’re a publisher and you’re trying to get impressions,” explains Scott McGovern. “If you can rank particular keywords that don’t have high searches and aren’t very competitive like some long-tail keywords, then you can start driving organic traffic.”
“It’s been proven that organic traffic — traffic that comes from a search like on Google — converts 400 percent better than any other type of traffic besides email marketing,” he added.
3. It’s free.
SEO can be free — along with many of the tools necessary to use it, like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
With Google Analytics, it’s possible to see what users are doing on a website or platform. Google Search Console shows a founder exactly what was searched and how visitors landed there. Broken links or 404s, which are bad for SEO health, can also be identified.
“All it takes is time versus money,” says Scott McGovern. “As a startup, all you have is time. You can go through Google’s platform and learn how to set up the entire process whether you use Shopify, WordPress, Magento, or whatever you are using.”
For businesses looking for professional help, there are also ways to keep costs low when choosing your next SEO firm.
Related: 5 Tips for Choosing Your Next SEO Firm
4. SEO helps startups make informed business decisions.
The same data that helps a founder understand customer behavior can be used for other critical startup actions. The information can be applied to an overall business strategy to shape the decisions a founder makes, leading to successful launch and growth stages.
“Once you figure out the consumer, you can decide how to convert them. Then you can vertically integrate that by creating specific clickfunnels geared toward those specific users,” says McGovern.
“For example, you can say, ‘my user is a 24-year-old male who typically lives in this part of the country.’ Then you can create content specifically geared toward that particular user.”
SEO data can also inform other business decisions.
“If one keyword is doing really well, then you can create other keywords off of that which aren’t searched as much,” McGovern explains. “Or, there might be other long-tail keywords which you can also drive other traffic for greater conversions.”
5. Optimizing for Google strengthens consumer trust and value.
SEO helps startups build relationships with potential customers with minimal effort. When a business shows up fairly high on the search results, it builds customer trust. From there, the company can work toward building respect and credibility, which are necessary for a new brand relying on digital channels for conversions.
“The last company I did it for, we collected 180 thousand emails from organic traffic,” McGovern explains. “Whether people sign up for a newsletter or they want alerts about discounts, when they see your search results in Google, it automatically builds intrinsic value for the consumer that they can trust your business.”
6. SEOptimization builds a long term audience.
Paying for advertisements delivers short term results for a high price.
SEO helps businesses provide their visitors with the content they want. Instead, of having traffic tank the moment an advertisement runs out, SEO will build an audience over time.
“The better and more popular your content is, the stronger its SEO will become over time as other sources link to you and Google rewards you for providing quality information, not spam,” Mcgovern explains.
Of course, SEO requires constant upkeep.
“Google is constantly updating its algorithms, which may or may not affect your business,” he adds. “Search isn’t a one-time solution but a constant process of staying up to date.”
That’s why it’s important to stay up to date on SEO marketing trends in 2019.
Related: 6 SEO Marketing Trends in 2019 That Entrepreneurs Should Know About
7. SEO delivers results for startups.
Building a digital presence is crucial for any startup, no matter the industry. The best way to gain awareness, brand equity and traction is through SEO. Optimization tools give businesses easy access to data about their audience. Beyond that, search engine optimization is the cheapest way to build a customer base and inspire consumer trust.
For startups and established companies that don’t want to spend on large scale advertising campaigns, search engine optimization is the best way to build a brand.