The word ‘startup’ is one of the top trending keywords in the technology industry for the longest time now and if you look at the trend chart below you will get an idea of just how popular the word really is.
The only problem I see when it comes to startups is that most of them don’t manage to survive for more than two years. They either run out of cash or for a different reason fail to carve out a place in the ruthlessly competitive world of business.
There are different reasons why a startup could fail but if you ask me, the most important reason I believe is, when they fail to acquire the minimum number of customers needed to keep their boat afloat.
Paying customers are the base of any successful business enterprise. If a startup manages to create a strong and solid target audience base around their brand, enthralling potential customers to convert into paying customers and instill brand loyalty, then only can a startup survive, stabilize and even emerge as a business leader in the niche of their choice.
In order to reach this goal, one of the most powerful and cost-effective methods that can be employed is SEO. However, most startups prefer not to invest in SEO because they think results take time and search engines (for head terms) mostly prefer brands and websites with an extensive and quality link profile.
What most people don’t realize is that SEO is less about quantity and more about quality. If you manage to come up with creativity, out-of-the-box ideas for your audience, chances are that your website will be able to break into the SERP and can even beat the big players within your industry.
If you indulge and research into the traffic data of websites for large brands like Yelp, Groove, TripAdviser.com and others, you will observe that a big chunk of their overall traffic comes from search engine and SEO related activities.
If you are a new startup company, competing for prominence in a niche where almost all money making terms have been acquired by the big brands, here are some ideas you can use to give them a tough competition and even beat them in the long run.
Note: It is important to note here that relying on a single channel is not an ideal strategy for startups. So while you apply and benefit from the tips and techniques provided in this article, it’s also advisable to explore other avenues including PPC, email marketing and conversion-centric link building among others to increase your chances of getting better visibility for your brand.
1) Break ‘em down and Win ‘em
Now this one is my favorite as I have personally tried and tested it on my blog when I decided to offer SEO services to clients.
When I started my company, I knew that the money making keywords in my industry were ‘SEO services’, ‘SEO consulting’, ‘link-building’ and others. I also knew that with a blog that was six months old, I had zero chances of ranking high on the above-mentioned highly competitive key phrases.
In order to survive and make a name for my company in the market, I divided the entire (online) market into small chunks and started finding and researching on specific keywords that attracted a decent number of volume and conversions. With some analysis and testing through trial and error, I found several key terms that had low competition and some decent conversion rate.
Today, I rank in the top 10 for keywords like ‘Guest Blogging Service’, ‘Blog Management Service’ and more. I know that the volume is low at the moment, but I still manage to get a number of leads per month that allow me to stay afloat in the market and gradually grow and compete with the big boys.
This example was specific to my field but possibilities are endless, and this strategy can be applied to every niche. In short, break your target market into small chunks, research on area specific money making keywords and start winning them slowly.
2) Get Involved
Let’s get this one thing straight. Nobody really cares to know who you are or what you do. That is why you don’t need to stop waiting for people to find you and your brand, and instead start to proactively run the race as a player.
In simple words, Internet is the world of information where new posts, latest updates, announcements and articles are published every second. The idea is to keep a track of the articles and posts that are relevant to your industry and start participating in proactive ways.
If there is a great post an author has written about your industry, jump in and leave a thought-provoking comment. Better yet, if it adds some value to the author’s content.
Do this frequently enough and it will help you get noticed by industry experts and also their target audience.
If you have an extended or updated study about a certain topic, email it to the author and suggest to include this information to the post.
Also, publish articles on subjects within your niche frequently, so that you can establish yourself as an expert.
As a startup, it is important to get yourself noticed by your audience, peers and influencers within the industry.
Frame up a good name (your identity) within the market, so that the next time when someone compiles a post about the top industry influencers, they can include you too.
Follow Alyeda Solis and you will get an idea of how she managed to get featured as a top influencer in some of the most respected magazines like Forbes and Entrepreneur.com.
3) Find the gap and fill it!
Now this idea is so fantastic that, if applied with discipline, it could get you recognition as an industry leader and expert in a short span of time. Make sure that you are tracking Q/A websites forums, magazines and blogs (niche specific) for weak spots and try to understand the problems faced by your target audience – find the gaps. Then think of the solutions that are available and provide them to your audience. So in other words – fill the gap.
Current market shortfalls could be your opportunities to make it big. Once you find the gap or void that your business can fill just work on it and if possible give it away for free. It could look like a freebie in the beginning, but it could potentially bring your company a lot of business later, and in the process earn you prestige and respect in the market.
I have great appreciation and respect for greenlane SEO and Bill Sebald. One of the major reasons for this is their free tool that I regularly use to find possible link opportunities. It’s called the Outdated Content Finder.
Looking at it, you will realize that this might not be a great-looking tool, but it can help you find amazing link opportunities. By providing this tool for free, and recognizing it as the need of the market that greenlane operates in, the company managed to get around 300+ links from some highly respectable websites like Moz.com, Point Blank SEO, SEO Engine People, Portent among others.
In this article, I’ve discussed only three ways to pump up your SEO but there are many other interesting ways to get your startup known.
SEO has the capacity to give you the highest ROI in a limited budget, but only if you do it the right way.