SEO for CEOs of start-ups

Organic search engine optimisation (SEO) can be complex and time-consuming. The challenge of getting it right can be overwhelming for a startup CEO, leading to unmet expectations.

Put simply, SEO is what enables people to find an answer when they are searching for something online. The higher a site ranks for a search, the more people will click on it. SEO drives traffic to a website.

With the prominence of digital marketing, CEOs should ask their digital marketing specialists the following questions to ensure marketing fundamentals are geared towards efficiency and effectiveness.

1. Are we over-reliant on free tools?

Many services provide free tools which deliver audience insights and increase brands’ visibility. However, for those focused on watching their business grow, it’s insufficient to rely purely on free tools in the long term. For example, whilst a free domain name works effectively for a personal blog, it does not foster confidence in potential clients, thereby hindering future growth.

2. Is the design or optimisation the key priority for the site?

The process of creating a business’ first website is extremely exciting for everyone involved in a startup. However, sometimes the creativity gets in the way of the usability of a site. It is more important for a website to capture the interest of the target audience than over enhancing the design.

When creativity is in overdrive, it can lead to a website becoming complex and expensive, often resulting in usability concerns.

3. Is the website successfully converting visitors to buy?

Solving SEO issues is the key to long-term success, requiring time and patience, but when it starts to pay off, a startup’s communication funnel should be ready.

When a visitor arrives at a site with zero previous brand knowledge, the conversion will not be instant. Nowadays consumers go to stores, see something they like, search the internet for

comparable products and do research before deciding whether to purchase the item online.

With digital products or services, more contact is usually required between the company and the customer to aid customer conversion. Providing a depth of knowledge of the product or service is vital. Supplying an eBook or newsletter, which can be consumed in a short time, serves as the lead magnet to the target market.

4. Are we too hung up on the latest search trends?

There is a never-ending stream of new search trends and buzzwords in the media that can overwhelm CEOs. Some of the latest trends are definitely worth looking at though, specifically “voice search”.

Today, two-fifths of adults use voice search at least once every day. By 2020, it’s estimated half of the search will be transferred from keyboards to microphones. According to Google, 20 per cent of the searches in Android applications are conducted by voice search.

What’s interesting through with voice search is that about 80% of the answers returned are from the top three organic results, not the first page of the results. So, the goal of ranking at the top of the page gets even more challenging for brands.

The take-out

It’s a fact that sales cannot be generated without leads. With effective SEO, the pipeline is filled systematically, perpetually and ever more quickly. No other digital marketing discipline matters unless there are visitors on the site to market to.

The best approach for a startup is to optimise their website and once this is complete, wait for a few weeks to let the website rise in rankings. Then complement these efforts with all types of relevant content to rank even higher. Remember, consistency is the key to success.

Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing, SEMrush

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