Cutting through the noise in 2022 is more challenging than ever.
Yes, most people now spend an average of 6 hours and 58 minutes per day using the internet. However, during those (almost) seven hours, they’re constantly bombarded with content competing for their attention. This means that startups wanting to drive customer growth need to employ the right marketing strategies that will widen their reach, allow them to engage their audience, and convert web visitors into customers.
One viable way of doing this is to invest in paid ads. But even though PPC campaigns deliver results (when done right), they can get expensive pretty quickly, which directly clashes with the fact that most startups have to achieve their goals on a limited budget. With this in mind, it becomes clear that the better choice for going after next-level results is utilizing SEO.
This guide explores how startups can use SEO to drive customer growth, presenting a few proven tips guaranteed to deliver big wins.
Start with the Basics
The two main strategies that newbie marketers equate with the idea of search engine optimization are keyword targeting and link building. However, if you’re just getting started with SEO (or marketing in general), there are two prerequisites you must cover for any tactic to yield results.
Define Your Target Audience
A marketing strategy without a well-defined target audience is like giving a supercar to someone who doesn’t know how to drive. Sure, the person may luck out and manage to start the car. They may even succeed at getting from point A to point B. But the more likely scenario is that they’ll remain stuck in the same spot or, worse yet, crash as soon as they get going.
To avoid these risks — the risk of your SEO strategy only costing you money and not delivering any benefits — you must first have a crystal clear idea of the potential customers you want to reach.
Once you’ve defined their location, age, interests, and position in the buyer’s journey, you can start conducting keyword research, producing and distributing content, and trying to get these prospects to visit your website.
Optimize Your Website
The second prerequisite for generating organic traffic for your website is that your site’s technical SEO is on-par. This means a few elementary considerations:
- Make your website mobile-friendly. In 2022, more than 50% of all internet traffic comes from handheld devices, making it essential for businesses to invest in responsive websites that look good on all screens. Remember, consumers won’t put up with a poor UX. Instead, 30% of them will likely navigate away from your site and form a poor opinion of your brand, which is precisely what you don’t want.
- Speed up page load times. Having a slow website immensely increases your chances of losing business. In fact, Deloitte found that a 1 to 5-second increase in page load times boosted the chances of a bounce by a whopping 90%, showing just how important it is to stick to Google’s recommended 2-second page load time.
- Optimize existing content & knowledge bases. Chances are, the existing content on your website already does a great deal in delivering value to your audience. So, by taking the time to do an in-depth audit and optimize these pieces of content, you can hugely increase your chances of attracting more organic traffic. If you hire a reputable SEO agency, they’ll do this for you. However, if you’re opting for the DIY approach, pay attention to two main things. Firstly, employ internal links to make it easier for search engines to index your pages. And secondly, remove any duplicate content to stop it from hurting your site’s rankings.
Aim for Topical Authority
The second way you can use SEO to drive customer growth is to produce content that will establish your topical authority and convince your target audience that you’re an expert in your niche.
Of course, topical authority won’t just benefit your startup business by positively impacting brand perception. More relevantly for SEO, it will show search engines that your website hosts an extensive database of valuable knowledge regarding one topic.
So, if you’re ready to position your startup as an industry leader, start with keyword research.
Identify the search terms that will allow you to share your expertise and industry insights, then produce high-quality content around them. Tools like MOZ and SemRush will help you do this. However, you can also do the following to identify high-potential content opportunities:
- Research your competition and what type of content they’re distributing. Cover the same topics, but make sure you do it better (or with your unique twist). This will attract potential customers and help your content rank higher on SERPs. Pro tip: long-form content tends to rank higher and generate more backlinks. So don’t hesitate to take a deep dive into topics within your expertise, as it’s only likely to benefit your business.
- Consult your customer service team and identify frequently asked questions/user issues. By creating content around these questions/issues, you’re effectively investing in content that has a chance of securing a high ranking, seeing that it provides information no one else in your industry is sharing.
- Explore discussion boards like Quora and Reddit to find out what questions your audience wants answered. If you are able to identify trends or support requests, you can invest in content that helps your potential customers get first-hand answers from your brand without having to sift through a ton of information.
Actively Work on Widening Your Reach
Lastly, as you explore ways to use SEO to drive customer growth, don’t forget that reaching your prospects requires you to employ an active approach to content distribution.
Don’t simply stop at publishing content. Work to get it in front of the people you want to engage. This means:
- Distributing existing through social media.
- Seeking out guest posting opportunities, especially on industry authority websites where you can prove your expertise and inspire potential customers to check out your brand and content.
- Appearing on podcasts and video interviews. These formats have a 40% penetration rate and are more engaging than simple text.
- Do off-page SEO. Employing a link-building strategy will improve your site’s rankings, especially if you secure backlinks from high authority websites, which already have a stellar reputation in your niche.
Getting started with SEO can be an intimidating task — especially when you’re already taking on so many roles in your startup company. But the truth is, it is an investment worth making.
Getting SEO right won’t just generate organic traffic and help you drive customer growth. But, it will also speed up establishing your brand as an industry authority. Plus, it will help you minimize your marketing spend, allowing you to put your money towards developing the best products, delivering a satisfactory customer experience, and hiring a superstar team that will help your business shoot for stardom.