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In 2021, $621 billion in venture capital was deployed to startups raising funding. More than 50% of that funding went straight into ads.
The problem? People hate ads. Ad blocking technology usage has increased dramatically year over year. Even worse, 68% of online experiences start with a search on Google, Bing or another search engine. Only 6% of those searches result in an ad click.
If you’re dumping all of your startup’s funding into paid ads, you’re missing a massive amount of SEO-driven customer growth opportunities. Here are three ways to drive customer growth for your startup using SEO.
Related: 7 Reasons Why SEO Matters for Every Startup
1. Publish keyword-driven content often
The key to driving organic traffic from search engines is to provide content that is genuinely helpful to readers. That all starts with identifying what readers are searching for, understanding their problems and providing information they can use to solve them.
Most startups publish random content on their website that isn’t optimized for what their target market is actually looking for. Blogging isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago. It’s not meant to be an online diary. It’s meant to target specific searches that your ideal customers are typing every single day.
Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO, as they help you understand existing and future opportunities for traffic around topics and phrases that relate to your product or service. For instance, someone searching for a do-it-yourself guide to building a bookshelf is probably going to convert on recommendations in the article for products. If it’s too complex, they may even book a contractor instead.
Creating keyword-driven content that targets your ideal customer profile is how you win in SEO. Use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to research topics that your typical customers might search. Then, create blogs and pieces of content that address those problems. Publish at least five to 10 pieces per month and you’ll start seeing traffic flood to your website.
Related: 5 Essential SEO Strategies For Entrepreneurs to Boost Their Traffic
2. Optimize your public knowledge base
Creating more new content as a startup without outsourcing can be difficult. After all, you’re already wearing too many hats at a startup and your job description grows by the day. If you run a software or tech-based startup, an easy win for SEO is optimizing your public knowledge base.
Your knowledge base contains vital information about your industry, how to use your product, and how to solve key problems in your space. For instance, maybe your software helps companies with logistics management and warehousing. Within your knowledge base, you already explain key information that can pick up organic traffic and searches. And best of all, it’s directly related to your product or service, meaning the potential to convert traffic is huge.
In your keyword research tool, plug in topics that your knowledge base already covers. See if you are missing any keywords and topics that you can expand on to go further in-depth on the content you’ve already published. On your knowledge base, make sure it’s set to index in search engines rather than being content locked away in a user portal or back-end system.
Your knowledge base shouldn’t be exclusive to customer service or users looking for support. Make it public, indexed in search engines and reap the rewards of organic traffic that are hyper-relevant to your business.
Related: 7 Ways Small Businesses Can Use SEO to Boost Customer Service and Growth
3. Generate niche digital PR coverage
Doing digital PR for your startup is critical for SEO. Digital PR includes things like getting mentioned in relevant publications online, podcasts where you share industry advice as an expert and so much more. Digital PR serves multiple purposes, and can directly enhance your SEO and ability to rank for organic search terms.
When doing digital PR initiatives like podcasts or interviews in written publications, or being an expert source for journalists, you earn a brand mention and backlink that directly improves your website’s authority. In simple terms, you can rank better organically and drive more traffic.
In addition, these efforts will build brand awareness and drive referral traffic to your site. The trap that most startups fall down is not niching down enough. PR isn’t just getting mentioned in TechCrunch and getting 30 under 30 listings.
You can also go straight to niche sources where your ideal customers hang out, consume content and connect. Start searching for “best blogs in [industry]” and “top [niche] companies.” Identify a list of 50 to 100 of these websites, media companies and startups that you can cross-promote.
Write a guest post for their blog. Feature them on your podcast and get featured on theirs. Tap into their niche relevant audience rather than going for the biggest publications you can find. You’ll get more pitches accepted and the traffic you receive will be highly relevant to your product or service.
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