Do Startup Companies Need SEO Services?

Do Startup Companies Need SEO Services?

Startup companies need all the help they can get. Whether it’s website traffic, social media fans and shoutouts, or just plain old PR – the point is, they need it.

The question then becomes, where should startup companies begin? How do they know what to focus on? As an SEO strategist, I am often approached by startups who are asking for help, as they are seeking website traffic, and believe that by ranking well in Google they can achieve traffic, which then leads to conversions, which then leads to a potentially higher valuation. It is for this reasons that many startup companies request SEO services.

As an SEO strategist, I often tell these startup companies that is it not so simple. Before you even request SEO, it is important to understand the startup arena. This can be done by reviewing successful startups, reading startup books, and then researching your target market really well.

Beyond that, once you have figured out your goals, you can then decide properly if you need SEO.

The core reason as to why I recommend against SEO for startups is the time factor. SEO is a long game. With websites, especially those that are brand new, it can take a minimum of 8-12 months before a website will see any real traffic that can potentially lead to conversions.

Consider a brand new website launched in order to promote a startup. Let’s say this startup website has a few keywords in which it would be beneficial for them to rank for. Yes, SEO may come in handy, but the startup CEO needs to understand that SEO takes the longest out of nearly every other marketing channel in order to show results.

To this same startup CEO who wants traffic immediately, I would tell him or her not to worry about SEO, and rather to put money into AdWords or social media. Because at least with those latter two funnels, one can expect immediate results. And for a startup that needs to make some noise in a small amount of time, it is generally the case that SEO won’t have enough time to fully develop. And then, before you know it, the startup has folded and all of that SEO has gone to waste.

Now, this is not to say that SEO is waste or should not be looked at. If the startup CEO thinks that organic web leads are valuable, but they are also in a crunch for time, they have two options:

  • Hire an SEO consultant to ensure that their website is abiding by general SEO best practices, so that at the minimum, they aren’t wasting easy SEO and keyword ranking opportunities.
  • Go full speed SEO and spend a lot on it – it will cost a lot, but with enough money, SEO can be sped up from it’s usual 8-12 month crawl to possibly 4-6 months. And because some startups have quite a bit of funding, this might be a road to take as well.
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