SEO for Startups

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Every business on the Internet from multi-billion dollar giants like Amazon down to a one-man software business is dependent on SEO, because search engines have become the primary navigation tool for the Internet .

How important is SEO for your business model?

When considering how much of your time and/or budget to spend on SEO, one of the most important questions to answer is: how important is SEO for your business model?

If you are a startup in a sector where is lots of demand and you have the budget to compete then SEO is definitely a strategy to pursue. In this case you should consider hiring an external agency or build a strong in house team. If you are in a sector where you need to create demand then it’s probably best to put your budget elsewhere and just do the basics.

This article describes a road map with the basic tasks to perform for every web based startup.

A Road Map – basic SEO tasks to perform

1. Choose the right (domain) name

Be smart when choosing the name and domain for your venture. Generic keyword domains like “” have an advantage concerning the ranking but also a lot of competition. To get your brand into the head of your customers you might consider a more specific brand name like “”. This tactic allows you to build a well known brand instead of competing with internet giants like Amazon on generic keywords.
Also be sure that, if you own a couple of domain variations pointing to the same website redirect them properly with a 301 header redirection to avoid to be punished by Google because of duplicated content.

2. Choose the right CMS

The decision if any or which content management system to choose is one of the first things to do when launching a website. This decision is not only a technical one; you might as well consider the choice from a SEO point of view. If you are building a website from scratch you have to take care of all SEO relevant optimizations by yourself. This is time and knowledge consuming and might take too much of your valuable time. The alternative is to rely on open source products such as WordPress. The big advantage of WordPress is that it provides you with all the basic SEO features out of the box. On top there are a lot of useful plugins that make your life easier and enhance your websites ranking in search engines.

3. Optimize OnPage – Content is King

There are two main focus points in every SEO strategy: on-page optimization and off-page optimization. The most important off-page factor is how many websites linking to your page and on-page factors are the aspects of a given web page that influence search engine ranking. The content and the number of relevant keywords on a page are besides the technical condition of a website the most important things to consider .

4. Get Backlinks – PR is SEO

A well thought through PR strategy is probably most underestimated when it comes to one of the key success factors in SEO: link building. There is no better way to get valuable backlinks from high quality sites such as Techcrunch or ReadWriteWeb then doing a great job in press relations. Use your product launch to get press and backlinks at the same time. Giacomo ‘Peldi’ Guilizzoni the founder of Balsamiq describes in his post “Startup Marketing Advice from Balsamiq Studio” how to approach press and bloggers in a successful manner.

Johannes Ellenberg