How to Avoid the Top 10 SEO Mistakes Most Start-ups Make
When it comes to marketing, many start-ups make false assumptions about SEO. Consequently, they become increasingly frustrated when they cannot achieve what they set out to do. To help you avoid them, here are 10 common SEO mistakes most start-ups make.
1. They don’t put PPC before SEO
Just because SEO is essentially free traffic that doesn’t mean it’s the best way for start-ups to begin marketing themselves. It is vital that when you invest in SEO, you target the correct keywords. The best way to discover the right keywords is by running an AdWords campaign first. This will give valuable insight into consumer demand, and how keywords act to convert your audience into customers.
2. They don’t educate themselves about the ‘sandbox’
Not many start-ups are aware, but Google puts new websites into the ‘Google Sandbox’, for up to 9 months. The ‘sandbox’ is a filter that places a new site on probation. This means the website will be lower than expected in search engine results, before being given full value for its content. Consequently, a site won’t initially receive proper rankings, no matter how strong its content is.
3. They don’t make themselves appealing to VCs
A venture capitalist (VC) is an investor who provides capital to start-up ventures. Venture capitalists are willing to invest because they can earn a significant return on their investments if these companies succeed. However, start-ups that rely on SEO, viral, or word-of-mouth marketing almost never get funding from savvy VCs.
4. They don’t publish on other websites
If you write excellent content, don’t keep it to yourself. Instead, push to publish it on high-traffic and relevant websites. Focus on sites where your content is bound to drive clicks and then customers. However, be aware of Google penalties for duplicate content. Either rewrite your articles or ensure the sites you repost on use a rel=canonical source code.
5. They attempt to become an SEO expert
It is essential to know when to use an expert consultant and when to do the work yourself. Programs like Google Analytics and terms like ‘keywords’ are critical to founders understanding their business and marketplace. However, once you find yourself researching ‘rel=canonical source code’, you know it is time to hire an expert.
6. They hire an in-house SEO person
You should not commission someone in-house to undertake your SEO. The main reason for this is that staff members are an expensive overhead for a start-up. If you need to cut back on your budget, then you could be looking at making them redundant. However, if you hire a contractor or outsource to an agency, then you won’t have that hanging over your head.
7. They pivot during their SEO strategy
Any change in the direction of your company’s customer, product, or services will mean re-configuring your SEO strategy. If your audience has changed, Google will need to figure this out, but Google can be slow to pick up on changes. For a significant pivot, it could take months to change Google’s view of your website.
8. They change their website too often
For the same reason listed above, Google needs to assess any website changes, and this could take time. Consequently, investing in full site audits while you are continually changing the website is wasted money. Instead, concentrate on your off-site ranking factors, maintaining your SEO best practices, and building on long-term strategies.
9. They neglect local SEO for a global approach
Your long-term plan might be to go international, but focusing your efforts locally is probably the best approach initially. Of course, you can register your .com domain. However, if you are going to be launching in Australia, then it is better to rank for your target keywords with an Australian focus.
10. They rely on SEO
Unfortunately, SEO is a long-term strategy. Google has recently made moves to concentrate on the consumer. Which means that by the time you succeed with SEO, you will most likely already have achieved in other forms of marketing. Therefore, look at SEO as a subsidiary marketing channel, and not the main channel.
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