The best startup ideas are exciting. They are also scary.
There are a million questions to answer. Where can you get funding? How will you pay your employees? How soon will you begin making a profit?
And then there’s SEO (search engine optimization). This opens up a million more questions. To get traffic to your website is daunting, but essential. Where do you even start?
Here are the top 9 SEO problems that you’ll face as a startup along with the best solutions.
Problem 1: It takes a long time for your business to become known. If your business is new, then so is your website. It takes time for search engines to recognize your site. Even if your content is great.
Solution: For this, the only solution is time and patience. Don’t give up on SEO just because it doesn’t seem to be working right away. Carry out your strategy with diligence and persistence. Equally important: get started early. Don’t leave SEO as an afterthought.
Problem 2: Unexpected costs keep popping up. As a startup, your funds are limited. When it comes to SEO, you may find yourself choosing the cheapest option. But cheapest isn’t always best. You may end up wasting lots of your valuable time. Even worse, you may hire the wrong SEO “experts” simply to cut costs.
Solution: It’s critical that you have an SEO line in your budget. Allocate funds for social media advertising, banners, and to hire a true expert. That way, hidden costs won’t take you by surprise.
Problem 3: You can’t tell which strategies are really working. Sometimes, you will get instant results with your SEO tactics. More often, results are a long time coming. How do you know if you should persist with one particular strategy? When should you give up and try something else?
Solution: Good analytics are important. Monitor your visitors. Pay attention to how long they stay. Track what they are clicking on (i.e, pages, links). This data should direct your course. It will reveal whether or not you are on the right track. If the numbers aren’t increasing steadily, it may be time to try something else.
Problem 4: Your SEO lacks personalization. The audience or persona that you’re targeting is just too general. For example, let’s say you sell gym equipment. You probably target the fitness industry. You also target individual consumers. These personas will type specific terms into the search bar. It’s rare that they will search for “gym equipment.” They’re more likely to search for “elliptical under $1000.”
Solution: Use long tail keywords. This allows you to optimize for search terms that are as specific as possible. Construct your site so that different personas are directed to pages relevant to them.
Problem 5: You don’t have a good SEO person working for you. It may be a person or an agency. In either case, they reeled you in with their fancy talk about keywords. They promised your website would rank #1 on Google. And they were willing to work for the small amount left over in your budget. Now it’s months later, and nothing’s happened. You’re going nowhere.
Solution: Going back to Problem #2, remember to budget for SEO. Ensure you have the funds to hire the right company or person. Then, screen potential candidates carefully. Ask them specifics about what they are going to do. Be extremely leery of extravagant promises. Then once they’ve started, check in on their progress frequently. Ask for data that shows how things are going. Insist on clear explanations for everything they’re doing.
Problem 6: Your site isn’t friendly to mobile users. The latest research shows that 46% of online purchases now happen via a mobile device. But you’re missing out! Mobile users quickly become annoyed when your page loads too slowly or has plugins they can’t use. They leave in frustration before purchasing anything.
Solution: Optimize for mobile. Make your site is simple and navigable. Keep it free of drop-down menus and pop-ups. Ensure that it loads quickly. Use good-quality images. Test how your site looks on a smaller screen. Have an expert help you make your site responsive.
Problem 7: Your website isn’t visually appealing. Users decide within1/20 of a second whether or not your website is attractive. If they don’t like what they see, they won’t stay. It may be your website is too busy. It may have too many colors or too many words. Either way, it doesn’t inspire trust in you as a professional.
Solution: Try for a simple, clean look for your website. Avoid fancy fonts and distracting images. Keep the attention focused on what your audience came here for.
Problem 8: You have the best startup idea, but the worst domain name. Your domain name is often mistyped by Internet users. Or maybe it’s often confused with another site that has the exact same name, except it ends with .com instead of .biz. Or maybe people visit and buy, but don’t return because they can’t remember the name of your site.
Solution: Pick a domain name that is easy to remember and easy to spell. If possible, choose one that mirrors a keyword (i.e., MyChicagoDentist.com). Do some research to make sure no one else has a similar domain name. And just stick with a .com domain if you can.
Problem 9: You haven’t optimized for your location. As mentioned earlier, searches via mobile devices are on the rise. Likewise, voice searches are becoming more commonplace. Both of these mediums utilize location. For example, if someone searches by voice for a hair salon, they will get the name of the one closest to them. If you haven’t optimized for location, you’re missing out on the search results.
Solutions: Optimize for location-related keywords (your city and state). Beyond that, create content that targets the region. This provides a better user experience. It also ensures that you will rise in the search results.
Even the best startup idea can evaporate without good SEO. Invest the time and money to get your startup the visibility it deserves.