Managing SEO for a startup is challenging. You want to hit the ground running, but organic traffic takes time to grow. And just when you start to get the hang of the latest SEO strategies, Google may change its guidelines and your strategy needs to change with it.
While some startups get help from SEO professionals, others are working through it on their own. If you’re struggling to build an effective SEO strategy, you may be falling for one of these five common mistakes that many tech and SaaS startups make:
SEO Mistake #1: Content Overload
Your instinct may be to populate your site with as much content as possible. Sure, content marketing for startups is essential, but never put quantity over quality.
Imagine you’re a first-time visitor to your own brand’s website. Maybe there are only two or three blog posts, but they’re well-written, are chock full of information, and teach the reader about a product, service, or industry.
Now imagine there are a few dozen blog posts and all of them are a regurgitation of generic content that you’ve read countless times. Which option would you revisit and find most valuable?
SEO professionals know that quality content is a top priority for startups, and it’s important to think about relevant keywords, quality links (both inbound and outbound), and thought leadership. It’s common for startups to work with an agency to get a website up and running with the right content.
SEO Mistake #2: Losing Focus on the User
When SEO for your startup becomes a priority, it can be easy to lose sight of the user. Instead of one or the other, marketing teams need to balance SEO and user experience. Google has begun to take notice of sites that are gaming the system rather than genuinely creating valuable content for the user.
An example of this is keyword stuffing. With keyword stuffing, writers pack the content with keywords simply for the sake of trying to rank higher on SERPs. It gets to a point where it’s unnatural and unpleasant to read. This was a trend many years ago, but since then, search engines have become wise to the act and won’t rank this type of content above others about the same topic. It’s wasted effort on the writer’s part. Any SEO company worth its salt would not attempt a tactic like this anymore.
When it comes to improving your startup SEO, remember that the user is a priority. Think of the user first, think of your strategy second, and the results will come.
SEO Mistake #3: Using Only Third-Party Blog Sites
Many tech and SaaS startups use third-party sites to host their blogs. Maybe you just don’t have a blog set up on your site yet. One of the most common examples of a third-party content platform is Medium, which can definitely help you reach a large audience. However, a site like this shouldn’t be the only place you’re posting content. Any topics and keywords you’re focusing on are helping to boost authority for the Medium website instead of your own.
Sure, these platforms are convenient and easy to use, but you’re taking potential rankings and traffic away from your site and handing it over to whichever third-party site you’re publishing on. Your own website should be priority number one for publishing content!
SEO Mistake #4: Not Updating or Optimizing Often
SEO is not a “set it and forget it” marketing strategy. Google is constantly updating their criteria for search, and just last May they announced that page speed would be a ranking factor.
Because of the frequent changes, it’s critical to update and re-optimize your website every so often. Pay special attention to pages that bring in a lot of traffic and engage users. Doing so will help you continue to rank well and get the most for the time and money you’ve invested.
Tech and SaaS industries especially should not forget to optimize because the information you reference may quickly become outdated. For instance, if you published content about technology available during the COVID-19 pandemic, this may not be as useful or intriguing in a couple years. You’ll need to reassess at some point to ensure your website is showcasing pages with the most up-to-date and relevant information.
Did you write what you thought was an excellent blog post about your software solution and after a few months it doesn’t seem to be bringing you any traffic? Update your content every three to six months based on what’s working and what isn’t. If that timeline seems impossible, this is where an SEO agency can take a lot off your plate. Building up SEO for startups takes time and resources, two things that are already stretched thin in most startups. If you don’t have people in-house to spend time on SEO, it might be time to consider working with a professional.
SEO Mistake #5: Forgetting Long-Tail Search Terms
If you’ve focused all your content around the most popular keywords and search terms, your startup is going to be competing with everyone else in your industry (including the giants) for top rankings. Just considering the size of the pool, it’s not easy to show up on that first page of results.
Some say that if you’re not on the first page, you might as well not be in the results at all. To start gaining attention from your target audience, write content with long-tail search terms in addition to popular search terms.
Long-tail keywords are phrases, questions, and even sentences that people search. These keywords don’t always have high volume, but they can often have better intent for converting. As an example, take software as a service. A potential customer might search for “software as a service frequently asked questions,” which is long-tail. While this person isn’t necessarily searching for a SaaS provider, they have a need that a provider could address.
Capturing traffic from long-tail keywords is a great way to get in front of potential customers early in their research process so you can later convert them into a customer. Your blog is the perfect place to focus on long-tail keywords where you have more room to offer value and build trust in your brand.
Avoid Further SEO Mistakes with a Free Content Analysis
In today’s volatile economic climate, it can be difficult for your startup to meet the demands of your marketing strategy and keep up with the constant changes in search engine dynamics.
At First Page Strategy, we provide professional SEO services so that you can focus on connecting with your audience in meaningful ways and building out your brand’s internal mechanisms.
Avoiding common SEO mistakes requires a deep dive into consumer data, and this begins with a thorough audit of all your website’s content and search signals. Get a free SEO/content analysis and our audit will tell you what to change and why.