An SEO Strategy for Startups: How to Compete in 2022
SEO for startups should become your focus in 2022. Its importance is often overlooked because business owners have lots to do, and online promotion may not be a priority. But as soon as you build an effective SEO strategy, the results will come quickly.
First, you’ll get more traffic and boost brand awareness. Then, you’ll find your target audience and acquire leads. Finally, you’ll increase conversions and broaden your business, becoming the first pick in your niche.
How does this plan sound?
Let us help you get deeper into startup SEO by sharing the best research strategies and optimization principles.
Why Startups Need SEO in 2022
In 2021, 69% of marketers invested in SEO. What are their SEO goals? They may have different goals, but there’s one they all share – to get to the first place in the SERPs. You can see why by looking at the graph above. The first result on a page gets a 29.17% CTR (click-through rate; as of 2021). In comparison, the second one gets 15.29%.
We can see that every next result gets less attention throughout the years. Therefore, it’s essential to jump to that first place. That’s where SEO for startups helps.
Here are some more benefits of search engine optimization for businesses:
- Improved website experience
- More leads
- Increased conversion rates
- Access to valuable consumer behavioral data, etc.
Moreover, SEO for startups is continuous work.
For example, in 2020, Google ran more than 600,000 experiments, interfering with the search algorithm. The experiments resulted in over 4,500 changes to the Search feature. Besides, mobile search has become increasingly popular, and voice search has evolved. All these changes call for adjustments to your SEO strategy.
Following trends and trying new SEO approaches is vital to sustain growth and amplify it online for a growing startup.
The newest benefit of optimizing your business site could become the IndexNow initiative Google may implement shortly. It will help startups have their new pages indexed immediately.
Sounds quite convenient.
Successful SEO for Startups: Research Strategies
Look at the difference between the CTRs for Ad and Organic search results. 2.1% vs. 39.6% is a fair gap, so make sure you focus on first getting to the top of the organic SERPs.
We’ll overview using SEO for startups research that should help you build a proper data-driven SEO strategy and make sure you’re at the top of that SERP.
Focus on Data Analysis
Make data analysis one of your primary SEO goals. The information you collect about your buyers, the market, your competitors, etc., can give you valuable insight. As a result, you can:
- Understand customer behavior
- Visualize marketing campaigns
- Create proper target messages and calls to action to engage people, etc.
Another benefit is the data you get about your website and how well it’s crawled, indexed, and optimized. You will always know:
- The indexing status of every page
- Loading time
- Bounce rates
- Session times, and much more.
Furthermore, you can hide certain pages from crawlers to maintain the content consistency of your website and avoid some landings from being indexed and rated. And if you have suspicious traffic sources coming from spam websites, you can tackle the issue with data reporting and analysis as well.
And the best thing is that you don’t have to gather this data from different sources, compile it, build reports, and analyze it yourself. There are digital tools like the ones by SE Ranking, where you only need to insert an URL to examine it thoroughly.
Such tools show you graphs full of data and provide reports on:
- Keywords analysis
- Competitive research
- On-page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Backlinks, etc.
A startup needs to closely track all of the above and adjust its SEO strategy accordingly. This data will show you points of growth and success and drops and failures, which are often even more critical.
3 Principles of Qualitative SEO Research
As we’ve established the value of data research and analysis in SEO for startups, let’s examine the three top principles of such research.
1. Competitor Research
First of all, it’s wise to know everything you can about your competitors. Here’s a clear step-by-step guide for startups:
Figure out what your main competition is. 3-10 companies will do, depending on the market. Also, add 10-20 indirect competitors (companies from different niches that may become an alternative choice to your business) to the list to expand your content strategies further.
To do this, analyze the target competition based on the key queries you plan to rank for. Get insight into their business initiatives, positioning, marketing, and more. Then, compare their rankings based on your priority keywords. You can do it using the SE Ranking Competitive Research tool.
Based on a basic analysis of all those companies, create a checklist of common core elements of their websites (because you’ll have to implement them as well).
- Content opportunities.
Pinpoint content opportunities where you can do better and rank higher for respective keywords.
Find weaknesses your competitors have and focus on filling the gaps and doing better.
Don’t shy away from the website’s strengths ranking for your focus queries. Use them as the basis for your site structure, content, and SEO goals.
- Indirect competition.
Potential or indirect competitors should become your sources of additional content to make your website more wholesome and informational, encompassing more keywords and thus, more traffic.
- Final analysis.
Based on all the information you gather, identify and prioritize the tasks within your startup SEO strategy. Establish how difficult it will be to achieve your goals, rank higher than the competition, and grab the attention of your target audience. This will help you set realistic expectations.
2. Keyword Research
Modern SEO for startups implies learning about the search intent of Internet users first. Google is getting smarter every year, and its main goal is to provide people with the most relevant information. That MUST include some kind of context.
So, simply using phrases in the text of your website won’t work, even if the keywords are golden.
The first task is understanding the search intent of your target audience. This, along with semantic search, will become a prominent trend soon.
Then, you can build a keyword list that contains:
- Primary keywords
- Secondary keywords
The second task is keyword clustering. It’s the process of grouping keywords with a similar search intent to use them in clusters in your content. This allows you to encompass more queries (i.e. get more ranking opportunities) and renders your website authoritative.
For both tasks, you can use the SE Ranking Keyword Research tool. Get insight into keyword difficulty, related queries, clustering, and semantically related keywords to figure out which key terms to start out with to optimize the website. If you are not sure where to start, consider hiring an SEO consulting agency to jumpstart your research and strategy.
3. Local Search Listings
SEO for startups should also touch upon local search, as 90% of consumers use search engines to look for local businesses. Local SEO is becoming increasingly important since, as of 2020, 64.82% of searches on Google resulted in zero clicks on any of the links.
People find all the needed information in featured snippets or the “local pack” right there on the SERP.
You can add your startup to that pack by setting up a Google My Business (now Google Business Profile) page. Include all necessary data, images, and links there so that the searchers get the right first impression.
Backlinks Are Still Trendy in 2022
To get started, see where your competitors get their backlinks. You can check that with the SE Ranking Backlink Checker, and create a list of sources to target with your link-building strategies.
The tool’s reports showcase:
- Domain trust based on the backlink profile
- Page trust
- Anchor texts
- Referring domains (active, new, and lost; referrals to the homepage and other pages)
- Total number of backlinks (both to the homepage and other pages)
- The ratio of do-follow/no-follow links, and more.
What Makes a Good Backlink?
Backlinks are irrelevant without information about their quality. Here’s what makes a good backlink:
- Reference relevance
- Domain authority
- Domain uniqueness
- How natural it looks
- Used anchor text
Keep these characteristics in mind when building strategies for off-page SEO for your startup. As you add high-quality backlinks to your profile, the most crucial SEO KPIs may increase along with an overall boost in brand awareness.
Best Practices to Get Backlinks
We’ve established eight effective link-building practices:
- Claiming unlinked mentions.
Use Google Alerts to track mentions of your startup online. Choose websites that have mentioned you without a link and, if they are suitable for your backlink profile, contact them to claim a link.
- Contextual links.
Links to your content are used naturally in the text as honest recommendations will draw a lot of the target audience to your site.
- TOP-X article mentions.
When you see a TOP-X article in your niche, consider pitching your startup to be featured, improving your backlink profile as a part of your off-page SEO for startups strategy.
- Old content updates.
Update old content with new data to maintain its relevance over the years.
- Guides and high-quality skyscraper content for natural links.
Authentic content with your own research, expert guides, niche-specific ‘X tips’ articles, and statistics may be used by other websites for reference.
- Use media content.
Media grabs more attention than plain text. So, if you use images, videos, infographics, etc., you may get more backlinks.
- Use directories.
Arrange a backlink to your website and essential information about your business on niche-specific directories. Consider joining Crunchbase, Index. co, and other directories along with Google My Business.
- Use the broken link method.
Track broken links on websites you want to be featured in. If you have a suitable piece of content, pitch it to the site owner to replace a broken link with yours. And if you don’t have the content, you can always create it.
Google Is Smart: Create High-Quality Content
While you can definitely use outbound marketing and incorporate cold emailing for outbound sales, focusing on high-quality, well-optimized content should become a priority.
After all, when people visit your website by clicking a link in an email, you should impress them to secure leads.
And when it comes to catering to search engines, let’s face it, Google is becoming smarter every year. So, to rank higher in the SERPs, you should tailor content to its demands. For example, creating pages according to the ‘one search intent – one-page’ rule clarifies how to rank them.
Besides, Google E-A-T principles stand for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. They are a part of Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines, which help to evaluate pages and recognize expert content worthy of a higher ranking.
By following the E-A-T practices, you have a higher chance of becoming the #1 result on the focus SERP. This especially concerns YMYL (your money, your life) businesses (healthcare, finance, and similar niches).
Overall, your content must be useful, original, and better than what competitors provide. You can use the search engine ranking on-page SEO checker to check content health and get insight into text readability, backlink quality, and more.
Top Principles to Create High-Quality Content
When doing SEO for startups, use these three main principles to create top-notch content.
1. Quality of the Content
First of all, the quality:
- Wholesome articles with up-to-date, accurate information, high uniqueness, and in-depth research.
- Primary and secondary keywords match the search intent of your target audience.
- Following the E-A-T model.
- Competitor content research before creating your pieces to make sure you give more.
2. Clarity of the Content
The next important aspect of SEO for startups is the clarity:
- Before writing, define the topic, the key themes, and arguments.
- Create a keyword-bound outline.
- Research your audience to know what they want to know. It’s better to write fewer articles but create valuable touchpoints with each of them. Learn the questions people ask, group them, and create content based on the relevance to your business goals.
- Use writing tools such as Grammarly and The Hemingway.
- Apply structured data for search engines to properly understand your content and be able to feature content in rich snippets.
3. Consistency of the Content
Content consistency builds authority and trust with your clients. To be consistent:
- Create a voice that will be recognizable and stick to it. A style guide for your brand can become a great addition. Your writing style should be predictable so that the readers know what to expect from you ( expert information they can trust).
- Keep the timing consistent. Talk to your audience regularly via blog(s), social media, email newsletters, etc.
This strategy will elevate your URLs in the rankings, attract the target audience and leads, and boost brand awareness.
SEO for startups can be tricky. But if you choose a professional approach, gather and analyze data, build a healthy backlink profile, and create high-quality content, it will be much easier to rank higher.
We’ve proven that SEO is important for startups. Putting lots of effort into research and analysis will help you see the big picture in your market, what the competition is doing, and what your next move should be.
There should be an emphasis on search intent, semantic search, and a true understanding of what your target audience wants to know. According to Google’s E-A-T, high-quality content answering the most common questions in your niche will double your optimization efforts.
So, here’s what you should do next:
- Opt for quality instead of quantity
- Research the market, keywords, and competitors
- Do routine checks of your website
- Create top-notch content
- Tackle on-page, off-page, and technical SEO for startups
These actions will pay off with the top places in the SERPs, a brand awareness boost, more leads, and more loyal customers.
And remember that Google is constantly updating its algorithms, so you have to follow the trends and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly to get to the first position.