Grow your business with this complete guide to SEO for Startups. Find step-by-step chapters with actionable SEO tips (that actually work!)

Are you building a startup and looking for SEO strategies to grow your business? If you searched SEO for startups, you’re in the right place.

We have 24 years of experience helping startups improve their SEO and dominate industries – so let’s do the same for your business.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Is SEO worth the money?”

The short answer: YES, investing in SEO is an effective way to spend your digital marketing budget. It’s also the most affordable way for startups to get long-term results.

This comprehensive guide will teach everything you need about search engine optimization. You’ll learn how to improve domain authority, increase search visibility, attract potential customers, boost revenue, and more.

Ready to launch your new business with an SEO marketing strategy made for success? Dive in and find out how!

What Is SEO for Startups?

SEO for startups is optimizing a new business’s online presence to increase its visibility in search engines, drive organic traffic, and foster growth. It involves strategies tailored to startups’ unique challenges and opportunities.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves a website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). It helps startups attract customers, generate leads, and increase revenue.

Startup SEO also improves your brand’s awareness, credibility, trustworthiness, and content quality. In short, SEO gives you a greater chance of growing your startup business.

Why Is SEO Important for Startups?

SEO is crucial for startups to rank higher in search results, drive traffic, and boost revenue. However, a website alone can’t guarantee results.

You need people to find your website. But, it’s not easy when competing with hundreds or thousands of similar businesses.

To ensure your website is competitive, you must employ SEO strategies.

We’ve researched the most authoritative subject matter experts in the field to reveal tested and proven statistics. These experts include:

  • 53.3% of website traffic comes from organic search (Brightedge)
  • SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media (Brightedge)
  • 53% of consumers say they research products using a search engine before deciding to buy (Google)
  • 60% of shopping occasions begin online (Google)
  • 75% of searchers never go past the first page of search results (Hubspot)
  • 49% of marketers report that organic search has the best ROI of any marketing channel (Search Engine Journal)
  • SEO can reduce the cost of customer acquisition by 87.41% on average compared to digital advertising (Terakeet)
  • 70% of marketers think SEO delivers better results than PPC (Databox)
  • 61% of B2B marketers say SEO and organic traffic generate more leads than any other marketing initiative (Hubspot)
  • 46% of searches on Google are for a local business or local service (Search Engine Roundtable)

As you can see, SEO for startups of any size is a necessity and a driving force towards success.

The Benefits of SEO for Startup Businesses

They say you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink. The same is true of online customers. You can attract visitors to your website.

However, converting them to customers requires more work. That’s where the value of a solid SEO strategy comes in.

Here are the top 10 SEO benefits for startups:

  1. Cost-effective and has great ROI
  2. Builds brand trust and credibility
  3. Increases brand awareness
  4. Helps startups gain more market share
  5. Helps drive quality traffic to your website
  6. Increases conversion rates and revenue
  7. Helps startups reach their target market
  8. Improves user experience and engagement
  9. Improves website performance and accessibility
  10.  Helps startups become an authority in their industry

An effective SEO strategy gives startups a competitive edge. It seems like an obvious choice! Especially if it saves you money on advertising.

SEO is also the most cost-effective way to launch a new business and benefit from long-term results.

What Are the Different Types of SEO for Startups?

Types of SEO on Sticky Notes

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to startup SEO. Your unique business deserves and requires a customized SEO plan.

Consider these types of SEO practices for your startup marketing:

  • On-Page SEO for Startups
  • Off-Page SEO for Startups
  • Technical SEO for Startups
  • Local SEO for Startups
  • International SEO for Startups
  • Content Marketing for Startups
  • PPC for Startups
  • eCommerce SEO for Startups
  • SEO Analytics and Reporting

1: On-Page SEO for Startups

On-page SEO is optimizing individual web pages for higher rankings and more relevant traffic. It focuses on content quality, keyword usage, meta tags, URL structure, and internal links.

This step ensures your content provides value, aligns with search queries, and is easily discoverable.

On-page SEO practices include optimizing:

  • Search intent
  • Content quality, relevance, and value
  • Subtopics and topical depth
  • Content readability
  • Featured snippet opportunities
  • Title tags and meta descriptions
  • URL structure
  • Heading structure (H1-H6 Tags)
  • Keywords and semantically related words
  • Internal and external linking
  • Visual content like images, videos, and infographics
  • User experience (UX)
  • HTML source code and page elements
  • Structured data (Schema markup)

2: Off-Page SEO for Startups

Off-page SEO is strategies outside a website to improve its search ranking. It focuses on backlinks, social signals, and brand mentions.

Effective Off-page SEO boosts a site’s authority, relevance, and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines.

Yes, you can affect SEO with techniques beyond your website.

Note: Off-page SEO is important to build your website’s domain authority (DA). With a low DA, your website may struggle to outrank websites with higher authority.

Domain authority is not a ranking factor. However, it can influence rankings. For example, search engines consider websites with high DA more valuable, credible, and trustworthy.

Off-page SEO practices include:

  • Link Building: The practice of acquiring backlinks to your website from other websites.
  • Social Media Marketing: Use social media to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your site.
  • Guest Blogging: Write content for other websites to provide value to their audience and extend your brand exposure. (Plus, get backlinks)
  • Influencer Marketing: Partner with an online influencer to build brand awareness and market your products or services. (Plus, get backlinks)
  • Acquiring Online Reviews: Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. (And respond professionally to negative ones)
  • Social Bookmarking: Tag your content on Reddit, Tumblr, Digg, and similar sites to gain backlinks.
  • Citation Building: Add your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) to Google Business Profile, Yelp, Facebook, and other online directories.
  • Unlinked Brand Mentions: Find unlinked mentions of your brand on other sites and ask them to link your site.
  • Posting on Forums and Q&A Sites: Promote your business, add links to your website, and interact with users on forums.
  • Podcast Guesting: Guest on podcasts to promote your company. You can also run Ads on podcasts.

Off-page SEO is more difficult than on-page SEO. It takes time and effort you may not have when launching a startup.

Consider partnering with a digital marketing agency like Gravitate. We handle complex marketing tactics, so you can focus on your business.

3: Technical SEO for Startups

Technical SEO is optimizing a website to improve search engine crawling and indexing. It includes improving site errors, loading speed, mobile-friendliness, sitemaps, and security.

Proper implementation ensures search engines access, interpret, and rank sites effectively.

Resolving website issues is vital. Technical SEO optimizations enhance rankings in search results, organic traffic, website performance, user experience, and conversions.

Crawlability and indexation factors are also critical for any website.

If Google’s search bot spiders cannot crawl and understand your site’s content, it won’t appear in search results. This will diminish your online visibility and potential reach.

Technical SEO steps include:

  • Conducting a technical SEO audit
  • Finding and fixing broken links, redirect chains, etc.
  • Fixing status code errors like 404 (Broken page)
  • Improving page speed and core web vitals
  • Ensuring your website is indexable and crawlable
  • Optimizing your robots.txt file
  • Creating and optimizing XML sitemaps
  • Ensuring your site is secure with SSL and HTTPS
  • Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly
  • Adding schema markup and hreflang
  • Finding and fixing duplicate content issues
  • Improving site structure for search engines and users

Technical SEO is complex and often overlooked. Contact our technical specialists to analyze and optimize your site. Ensure your startup website has a solid foundation and a competitive advantage.

4: Local SEO for Startups

Does your startup or small business have a physical location or serve a geographic area? If so, gain a competitive advantage with local SEO.

A local SEO strategy helps people find your brick-and-mortar business online. Optimizing your website for local search also helps search engines understand your business and target locations.

As a result, your startup will gain more online visibility, higher rankings, customers, and sales.

Local SEO practices include:

  • Creating a Google Business Profile
  • Adding your business to Google Maps
  • Creating localized content
  • Adding local keywords to content
  • Acquiring local reviews
  • Citation building
  • Local link building
  • Listing your website in local directories
  • Adding NAP (name, address, phone number) to your website

5: International SEO for Startups

If you sell products or services worldwide, you need international SEO.

International SEO tailors websites for users in different countries and languages. It involves optimizing content, hreflang tags, and URL structures to target specific regions.

This step ensures search engines deliver relevant content to users based on their location and language preferences.

International SEO practices include:

  • Creating international domains and URL structures (ccTLD or gTLD)
  • Translating existing content into different languages
  • Adding geo-targeted keywords to your content
  • International link building
  • Adding hreflang tags to indicate the language of your content
  • Creating content that targets a country’s language and culture
  • Geo-tagging your Schema markup

6: Content Marketing for Startups

Relevant, helpful, and trustworthy content is KING.

SEO content marketing is creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage a target audience. Its goal is to establish trust, drive organic traffic, and ultimately convert users into customers.

Effective content marketing also positions a brand as an industry authority.

Types of marketing content include:

  1. Blog posts
  2. Social media posts
  3. Newsletters
  4. White-papers
  5. Case studies
  6. Videos
  7. Podcasts
  8. Infographics

An SEO content strategy helps startups:

  • Reach target audiences
  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Boost user engagement
  • Educate site visitors on products or services
  • Build trust, credibility, and loyalty
  • Increase sales and revenue
  • Gain a competitive advantage

Content marketing is highly effective. Even small efforts like finding a relevant keyword can grow your business.

If you’re tight on time and resources, consider hiring an SEO service, in-house writers, guest bloggers, or social media managers.

7: PPC for Startup Marketing

Pay-Per-Click or PPC marketing is an online advertising model where advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks their Ad. Instead of paying for a Google Ad duration, you pay for clicks on your Ads.

PPC campaigns are valuable for startups. You can place paid Ads on search engines, social media platforms, and other websites.

PPC advertising also provides quick results while your organic traffic builds.

The benefits of PPC marketing include:

  • Fast results and instant traffic to your website
  • Higher click-through rates (CTR)
  • More conversions and sales
  • Increased sales revenue
  • Ads display on the first search results page
  • More brand exposure and online visibility
  • Ads attract potential customers likely to convert
  • You only pay when someone clicks your Ad
  • Highly targeted Ads based on keywords, location, device, demographic, and more
  • You can easily manage your budget
  • You can run and test multiple Ad campaigns

PPC for startup marketing can be effective. However, it’s a short-term marketing strategy and can be costly for startups.

PPC marketing also requires consistent testing, optimization, and strategic decision-making.

Take time to learn about paid advertising before investing. Throwing money at ads doesn’t guarantee results.

8: SEO Analytics and Reporting

SEO analytics is tracking, measuring, analyzing, reporting, and acting on your website’s data.

Gaining vital insights is essential to see if your startup SEO strategy is successful or lacking.

Understanding this data can also help you make informed marketing decisions and improve your optimization efforts.

For example, SEO analytics help startups:

  • Prioritize SEO tasks
  • Get approval for SEO campaigns
  • Develop SEO strategies
  • Build actionable SEO reports
  • Make informed decisions to improve SEO
  • Identify growth opportunities
  • Get insights on website performance
  • Get insights into competitor websites
  • Demonstrate progress and ROI
  • Manage your marketing budget more wisely
  • Understand how users interact with your website
  • Identify areas to focus SEO efforts instead of guessing

Common SEO analytics and reporting tools include:

  • Google Analytics (GA4)
  • Google Search Console (GSC)
  • Google Tag Manager (GTM)
  • Google Looker Studio (GLS)
  • Ahrefs and SEMrush
  • Keyword Rank Tracking Tools

Gaining analytics insights should be the core of your digital marketing strategy and business growth.

How to Improve SEO for Startups (10 Actionable Steps)

SEO for Startups Team Fist Bumping

Where do you begin to improve your SEO? There’s a lot to know, and your journey will be an ongoing process.

Also, don’t feel like you need to do everything at once. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy.

However, you can get a head start and overtake your online competition. Here are ten actionable steps to develop your startup’s online presence:

Step 1: Create a User-Friendly Website

When starting a business, build a user-friendly website optimized for users and search engines.

For example, consider these web design tips:

  • Keep your web page layout simple
  • Make navigation easy for users
  • Create a flat site architecture to minimize click depth
  • Keep your page structure organized
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Optimize page loading speed
  • Avoid intrusive pop-ups
  • Ensure your site is secure with HTTPS
  • Ensure your URL structure is simple and logical
  • Uses clear and concise language
  • Fix broken links and broken images
  • Use internal linking to help search engines and users navigate your site
  • Include FAQs to help users find answers to their questions
  • Create clear and compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)
  • Make links relevant and useful for users
  • Keep forms simple and easy to complete
  • Add relevant visual media like images, videos, and infographics
  • Choose color combinations that reflect your brand
  • Include accessibility features for those with vision or hearing impairments (ADA Compliant)

A well-organized and professional-looking website will give you an edge over competitors. In contrast, a poorly designed site can affect rankings, traffic, user experience, and conversions.

Step 2: Set Your SEO Goals (With Realistic Outcomes)

Before implementing SEO strategies, set your goals. An SEO goal is a specific and measurable objective you strive to achieve over a certain period.

Having specific and actionable goals also guides you, ensuring you stay on track.

Moreover, it’s easier to make informed decisions and measure the results. Without goals, you’re shooting in the dark.

For example, here are some realistic SEO goals:

  • Rank certain pages higher on page one
  • Increase conversions by 5% in one year
  • Increase the time users spend on your site
  • Increase organic traffic by 10% in six months
  • Double monthly pageviews
  • Optimize your internal linking structure
  • Remove or update outdated content

Once you determine your goals, start planning your startup SEO strategy.

Step 3: Plan Your Startup SEO Strategy

Now that you have new goals, you need an SEO strategy to get there!

An SEO strategy is a planned approach to optimize a website for search engines. It involves keyword research, content creation, link building, and technical optimizations.

The goal is to increase organic traffic, improve search rankings, and enhance user experience.

The foundational pillars of an SEO plan include:

  • On-Page SEO Optimization
  • Off-Page SEO Optimization
  • Technical SEO Optimization
  • Local SEO Optimization (If applicable)
  • Content Marketing
  • Competitive Analysis

There are various ways to improve your website’s SEO, but it all starts with planning. Knowing your goals and how to get there will save your startup time and money.

Gain an experienced partner to help develop, launch, and manage your SEO strategy.

Gravitate can help! Our SEO specialists will accelerate your business with proven SEO strategies (That get results). Give us a call: (888) 217-9502

Step 4: Run a Technical SEO Audit and Fix Issues

Running a technical SEO audit identifies issues affecting your website. Fixing them ensures optimal site performance, enhances user experience, and improves search rankings.

Technical audits are a critical step in optimizing and maintaining your website’s health. They also keep your site ahead of potential problems and algorithm changes.

A technical SEO audit involves analyzing:

  • Title tags and meta descriptions
  • Broken links (404 errors)
  • 301 redirect issues
  • Indexing issues
  • Crawlability issues
  • Site structure issues
  • Canonical tag issues
  • URL issues
  • Content issues
  • Image issues
  • Page speed issues
  • Status code issues
  • Sitemap issues
  • Mobile-Friendliness issues

A technical SEO audit will identify website errors and give you actionable steps to fix them.

Startups should consider doing an initial audit on a new site. It’s also advisable to run periodic audits for ongoing site maintenance.

Step 5: Do Competitor Analysis to Find Opportunities

Competitor analysis is an essential part of an SEO strategy for startups. Identifying where your competitors succeed and fail helps you improve your SEO efforts.

SEO competitor analysis also saves time. Instead of starting from scratch or guessing, see what’s already working for others. Then build upon that success.

For example, SEO competitive analysis helps startups:

  • Find competitors for each topic or search query
  • Discover competitor strengths and replicate them
  • Identify competitor weaknesses and capitalize on them
  • Uncover content and keyword gaps
  • Do competitor backlink analysis
  • Identify what SEO tasks to prioritize
  • Keep up with industry trends
  • Perform SERP analysis
  • Determine how difficult it will be to outperform competitors

Startups should conduct SEO competitor analysis when:

  • Planning new content
  • Writing content
  • Updating existing content
  • Traffic or search rankings drop
  • Link building
  • Looking for SEO opportunities
  • Launching new products or services
  • Search engines make algorithm changes
  • Troubleshooting website and content issues
  • Finding what competitor PPC Ad copy is working

Perform competitor analysis using SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs.

Also, manually analyze competitor pages to identify topics, structure, CTAs, and anything else to help you improve your website.

Step 6: Do Keyword Research and Match Search Intent

Keywords are terms or phrases users type into the search engine to find specific information.

Finding relevant keywords and phrases is essential for startups to help people find their products or services.

Keywords are also a ranking factor that helps your content rank higher in search results and attract more organic traffic.

In addition, keywords improve content relevance and help search engines understand your content better.

Perform keyword research when:

  • Planning content
  • Finding content ideas
  • Writing content
  • Updating content
  • Optimizing content
  • Link building
  • Creating PPC Ads
  • Building a website

Once you identify relevant keywords, you must match search intent. Search intent is also a ranking factor. It’s the purpose behind a search.

For example, Google aims to provide users with the most relevant results for their search query. If you search for “Cars,” do you mean vehicles or the Pixar movie?

Matching search intent is critical to ranking for relevant searches. Also, content that doesn’t satisfy search intent will frustrate site visitors.

You will increase bounce rates and lose rankings. That means less organic traffic and fewer conversions!

Step 7: Create Quality Content That Offers Value

Once you identify relevant keywords, create high-quality content that provides value to your audience. This means writing content that’s easy to understand and provides helpful information.

For example, high-quality content:

  • Matches a user’s search intent
  • Answers a user’s search query, question, or pain point
  • Offers factual and data-driven insights
  • Provides actionable steps
  • Helps educate and inform people
  • Covers a topic in-depth (topical depth)
  • Is original, unique, valuable, and engaging
  • Is easy to read, scan, digest, and retain
  • Has no spelling or grammar errors
  • Uses relevant visual content
  • Does not deceive users or manipulate search result rankings

In contrast, low-quality or thin content can affect your search result rankings, organic traffic, conversions, and brand reputation.

However, creating high-quality content is only part of an effective SEO content strategy. Updating existing content regularly is also vital to SEO success.

View Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines to learn more.

Step 8: Perform On-Page Optimization

As discussed earlier, on-page or on-site SEO optimization improves your individual web pages. The aim is to boost search engine visibility, search rankings, organic traffic, user experience, and conversions.

Continuous on-page optimization ensures your content:

  • Has fresh and up-to-date information
  • Provides factual and helpful information
  • Is relevant and matches search intent
  • Attracts clicks and drives organic traffic
  • Is easy to read, scan, digest, and retain information
  • Provides a good user experience and engagement
  • Improves website performance
  • Is competitive enough to outrank your competition
  • Satisfies search engine algorithms and ranking factors


Step 9: Attract Backlinks to Your Website

Gaining backlinks from high-quality websites is critical to improving your website’s visibility, rankings, and domain authority. Link building is also essential to keep your website competitive.

Basically, backlinks are a vote of confidence. They’re a ranking factor that indicates your website provides Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

Step 10: Track and Measure Your SEO Efforts

Are your SEO efforts working? Tracking and measuring your work ensures you make the most of your SEO investment.

For example, tracking SEO performance and results helps startups identify what’s working and what needs improvement.

SEO tracking also involves determining which metrics are vital for your business and then monitoring those metrics to track your progress.

There are various metrics and tools to track your progress. However, every startup will have customized KPIs and reports.

When building your SEO reports, focus on key indicators you can measure. Avoid cluttering your reports with large amounts of data points. Focus on the most valuable insights.

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Keep Learning

Want to learn more SEO tips for startups? Gain incredible insight into effective marketing strategies that get results.

This comprehensive SEO for startups guide includes ten chapters of invaluable information:

SEO for Startups FAQ

Frequently asked questions about startup search engine optimization.

Do Startups Need SEO?

SEO is essential for startup businesses. It helps them gain visibility in search engines, attract organic traffic, and build brand credibility.

With limited marketing budgets, SEO provides a cost-effective way for startups to compete with established players and drive sustainable growth.

It also takes time for startups to build online visibility and brand awareness. SEO helps startups jumpstart their digital marketing efforts. Plus, SEO is scalable and delivers long-term results.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO works by optimizing various elements to make a website more favorable to search engines and users. SEO components include:

  • Keyword Research: Identifying relevant terms users search for with a search engine like Google.
  • On-Page Optimization: Tweaking content, keywords, heading structure, meta tags, URLs, and internal links to enhance online visibility.
  • Technical SEO: Ensuring your website’s structure is crawlable and indexable.
  • Content Creation: Producing high-quality and helpful content that answers user queries.
  • Backlinks: Earning links from reputable sites to boost domain authority and credibility.
  • User Experience: Enhancing site speed, mobile-friendliness, navigation, and overall usability.
  • Regular Updates: Adapting to algorithm changes and feedback to improve your website.

Combined, these steps improve search engine rankings and drive organic traffic.

How Long Does SEO Take To Work?

Generally, startups may see SEO results within 6-12 months. However, SEO doesn’t have a set timeline. Several factors influence the results you may get from your SEO efforts.

Remember, search engine optimization is a long-term strategy. SEO campaigns don’t get instant results like PPC advertising.

Also, be cautious of an SEO company that guarantees results in a specific period.

Guaranteeing specific SEO results within a set period is unpredictable due to the ever-changing search engine algorithms and competition. Such promises often indicate a lack of genuine understanding or potentially risky tactics that could harm a site’s long-term performance.

Investing in SEO is a long-term strategy. Do not view it as a magic bullet or a get-rich-quick play. In a competitive industry, it may take up to five years to dominate search results for your product or service.

What Is E-E-A-T and Why Is It Important for SEO?

E-E-A-T is an acronym for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a framework used by Google to evaluate the quality of content on websites.

E-E-A-T is not a ranking factor, but it does influence rankings. It’s a concept Google uses to determine content quality, accuracy, relevance, credibility, truthfulness, and value.

According to Google’s guidelines, E-E-A-T consists of four components:

  1. Experience: The creator’s first-hand experience with the subject matter.
  2. Expertise: The creator’s knowledge of a particular topic. This is especially crucial for topics that need professional expertise, like health or finance.
  3. Authoritativeness: The credibility of the website or content creator based on external factors like backlinks or mentions.
  4. Trustworthiness: Evaluates the creator and site’s reliability, credibility, and transparency.

Why E-E-A-T is Important for SEO:

  • Google aims to provide users with trustworthy and relevant content. E-E-A-T serves as a guideline for content quality.
  • Websites that adhere to E-E-A-T principles are more likely to rank higher.
  • Improving E-E-A-T can lead to better user trust, potentially increasing traffic and conversions.

E-E-A-T is vital for page-level and site-level SEO. It’s something startups should improve to meet Google’s guidelines.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines like Google, Safari, and Bing are software programs that help people find information online.

Search engines work in three stages:

  1. Crawling websites
  2. Indexing web pages in a database
  3. Serving indexed web pages in search results

Search engines work by crawling the web using bots (spiders). These web crawlers regularly follow links on pages to find new content. The new content is then added to a search index, which is a large database.

When you use a search engine, it provides relevant results extracted from its index. The results are then ranked using algorithms.

For example, Google looks through its database to provide the most relevant results for your search query. Various algorithms and ranking factors then determine what you see in the search results.