A Helpful Guide to Start-up SEO

A Helpful Guide to Start-up SEO

Whenever I attend start-up conferences, I get to meet many founders of early stage-startups. While almost all of them are focused heavily on their product, marketing it is almost an afterthought. This is understandable for few reasons.

First of all, most early stage start-ups are headed by software engineers or someone with a tech background. It’s hard to find a team that has someone from marketing in a leadership role. Another reason is that you need a robust and working product to secure investments. So naturally the emphasis is on the product and not on marketing.

But things like social media marketing and search engine marketing has made it extremely easy for start-ups to reach potential clients quickly and affordably. Take Creately for example, we rely heavily on traffic coming from search engines. This has enabled us to attract customers like NASA, Amazon, NatGeo and PayPal without having to succumb to sales pitches and calls.

Search engine optimization is a complex area with algorithms and strategies that change frequently. But the basics of SEO haven’t changed much since its beginning. Below are the first few steps to search engine domination. I’m just going over the main points briefly; make sure to check out linked tools and articles to get a thorough understanding of each topic.

Keyword Research

This is one of the most important steps in any SEO campaign and should be your first step in the journey to search engine domination.

The goal of SEO is not to get a lot of traffic, but to get the right kind of traffic. This means potential visitors who will convert into leads and traffic. And you need to find out which keywords bring in the right kinds of users. And keyword research helps you do just that.

Google’s very own keyword planner tool, which comes with Adwords, is a good free option. There are also commercially available tools that can be used to get further insight on keywords.

Check out the Moz’s section about keyword research and why it’s important.

You can make use of this research to improve your search engine rankings for the right keywords and get the right kind of customers.

You can add those keywords strategically for on-site optimization of important pages. You can also create blog posts and other articles targeting those keywords. You can even make use of them for Adwords bidding if you’re taking that approach.

SEO Audit

This is another important step for any website that’s starting out a SEO campaign. This enables you to find out if your site is inadvertently sending the wrong signal to search engine spiders. Your site might have duplicate content, lots of broken links, multiple pages with the same title and many other common mistakes which will lead to search engines penalizing your site.

Screaming Frog’s SEO spider is an excellent tool which you can use for this purpose. The free version allows you to crawl up to 500 pages with some limitation. But that should be more than enough for a start-up that doesn’t have many pages.

An SEO audit can cover a large area and we have touched upon it briefly in this blog post about doing an SEO audit. There are plenty of articles that go in depth into this, so make sure to do some further reading to get the maximum results.

On-site Optimization

If SEO is a house, then on-site optimization is its foundation. And we all know what happens to a house with a poor foundation.

As the name implies, this step is all about optimizing your content and site structure for search engines and users. Some of the things done in this step are

  • Optimizing titles and meta descriptions using the keyword research data
  • Adding alt tags, schema markup and other relevant code snippets
  • Fixing broken links, wrong redirects and duplicate content errors

For an in depth read of on-site optimization check this article. It includes a downloadable checklist as well.

The hard part of SEO

Now you have the structure in place, it’s time to start cranking out content and getting links for your site. A blog is a very useful addition to have in this regard. B2B marketers that use a blog, get 67% more leads than those who do not use a blog.

Just pumping out content is not enough. You need to actively promote it and bring more eyeballs to your content. The obvious first step is to get it indexed in search engines so you will start getting search engine traffic. Other than that you can send it via your newsletter, share it on social media channels, send it out to bloggers for back links etc.

Tracking Your Efforts

As I mentioned before, SEO is a complex field with constant changes to algorithms and strategies. And it might be hard for a start-up owner to keep track of these things. But you should always keep track of things that are related to your website. Some of these include,

  • Keyword rankings
  • Traffic from search engines
  • Website errors like crawl errors
  • Backlinks

There are many different tools, even free ones which you can use to keep track of these things. If you find it cumbersome to log into different website to find these data, you can use a SEO dashboard to view all these data in one place.

Some final thoughts about Start-up SEO

This article provides a good overview of things a start-up can do to improve their search engine rankings and bring more visitors to their website. It’s important that you involve someone with a good SEO background as early as possible, because once the website gets old it might be too late to change some things, especially things related to site structure.


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Software engineer turned tech evangelist. I handle marketing stuff here at Creately including writing blog posts and handling social media accounts. In my spare time, I love to read and travel.


  1. Mohit

    I’ve been going around your site for quite some time and man I’m glad to learn a lot about it. Thanks always for the information you share about SEO strategies and growing our business

  2. Robert

    I agree with you keyword is the key factor, if keyword is good then we can get potential traffic which helps to decrease bounce rate and increase conversions.

  3. Elena Gilbert

    Superb content for beginners.Thank you for putting all this information in a proper manner for most people to follow why SEO is important as part of the marketing strategy.

  4. Adam Jackson

    Great information for the beginners.

    You can check it out the basic SEO guidance in this post.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

  5. Ashik Arif

    great post, Do you recommend any software other thank screaming frog to keep track of keyword rankings?

  6. Jeffrey Ito

    Always remember to get branded links for your website. Those are the ones that will help get you set up in Google’s eyes in the beginning.

  7. Abhishek Prasad

    Hello, Nishadha this amazing guide but I want to also know about screaming from more can you please publish separate articles.

  8. Claude Fullinfaw

    Thank you for putting all this information in a logical manner for most people to follow why SEO is important as part of the marketing strategy for sites to rank. Appreciate your thoughts here. About SEO Audits, can you elaborate more on that subject for us please? cheers Claude

  9. Jeff Grimm

    Good content. I’m just now learning all the nuances of SEO. I definitely don’t have it all figured out yet, but this should be very helpful. Can you tell me how would I know if a backlink is good or bad for SEO?

  10. Sanjeev

    I think social marketing have surpassed everything in today’s SEO. But, backlinks are still beneficial. Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful article admin!

  11. ASHIMA

    Helpful article for startups, Content and the backlinks are really important. Unique and quality content is the basis of SEO.

  12. Alamin Mia

    I found this to be very informative and an easy read. You presented the ideas and concepts in a very orderly and effective way. I am a beginner with SEO and I sometimes find myself a little disorganized. This blog will definitely help keep me on track.

  13. suraj kumar

    Really Good for the new Bloggers.however i want to know about Blog Commenting.
    How Blog Commenting will Improve Your Rankings Rapidly?
    Any valuable feedback would be appreciable.

  14. Naman Kumar

    Hey Nishadha,

    Great article for the beginners. Thanks for sharing important information. Liked the post.

  15. Mansoor Bhanpurawala

    I completely agree on the importance of keyword research. It is very important to find where you are comfortable competing. Thanks.

  16. Justin

    SEO is creating such a buzz amongst businesses today and for good reason. You don’t necessarily need any background in SEO to utilize it. Follow the tips outlined in the article and that’ll certainly be a good start. And I cannot overemphasize the importance of social media when it comes to SEO. A social media presence will attract traffic to your site and build strong backlinks. A backlink can be as simple as this: having your site url on your Facebook or Twitter page.

  17. Jason Boyd

    I’ve been going around your site for quite some time and man I’m glad to learn a lot about it. Thanks always for the information you share about SEO strategies and growing our business!

  18. Kallol Parida

    I believe to start an SEO company or by doing yourself requires lots of patient and research. Everyone has different experience with SEO. Even I can say myself, I struggled a lot to get into this business. Thanks dear for sharing such nice stuff.

  19. Ravi Sharma

    This is good but i want to know about seo audit. please tell me about this.

  20. Vin Boris

    SEO is basically not so hard process, if you do it with better understanding. But like your post and appreciate your efforts.

  21. Mohammed Asif

    This was exactly what I was looking for to get started i learn so many thing about seo but i dit now get the perfect one .so i love ur article u share here.
    Thanks a ton

  22. Pranshu Kharkwal

    This was exactly what I was looking for to get started.
    Thanks a ton

  23. Jonathan Coco

    I completely agree on the importance of keyword research. It is very important to find where you are comfortable competing. Thanks.

  24. Himanshu Gupta

    Hey Nishadha ,
    Great Article for the newbies who just starting blogging.
    Thanks the post was really helpful.

  25. Bruce Mesnekoff

    I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog spot. I like and recommend it very much.

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