Many new business owners have a vision of SEO as something that can be started in some distant, future time; after they have all of their other “important” things in order. This could not be further from the truth. There is no such thing as starting an SEO campaign for your new startup “too early.” Let me give you an example.
Two of my good friends are in the process of starting up a new brewery in their hometown (for privacy’s sake, we’ll say Detroit, MI). They have the years of knowledge and experience to make this startup a success, and I have no doubt in my mind that they will prosper; however, every time I start to discuss their plans for SEO and content marketing, their eyes glaze over and they say something akin to “yeah, we’ll get to that…EVENTUALLY.”
Because these are good friends of mine, I will push them to make the best choices, and to start their SEO early, but there are far too many startups out there that either have no plans for an SEO/Content Marketing Campaign, or they are waiting until some undisclosed time in the future to think about it.
Here is the main problem with this type of thinking:
A SOLID, SUCCESSFUL SEO CAMPAIGN TAKES TIME, EFFORT, AND CONSISTENCY!!
SEO is not some magic switch that one can flip on with immediate results. In fact, any SEO company that offers immediate results is almost surely a scam company. There is no magic bullet for SEO; it takes time, dedication, and hard work. The bigger you want your startup to eventually be, the earlier you need to start your SEO, and the more voraciously you need to work at it.
Since I am currently in the process of yelling at my new brewery friends and telling them all the things SEO-wise they should be doing and are not, I figured I’d share this information to the rest of the world.
Now all you startups out there (and even you already established businesses) can see all the things you should be doing that you probably are not.
We here at Fringe, and I am sure many other Digital Marketing Agencies hear this excuse all the time. Many people feel that SEO and content marketing is only relevant once a business’ website is fully functional. This is simply not true. The process of SEO and content marketing should begin way before your website ever hits the web.
From the second the ink dries on your business plan, you should begin developing content and optimizing that content for the keywords or the semantic strains that you are targeting.
Case in point, my friends get together twice a week to brew their beers and test out new ideas and techniques. If I talk to either of my friends about this, they go on for hours about their recipes and the new things they are trying out.
It is interesting and fascinating to hear them talk and to hear all the science and precision that goes into craft beer, and the world at large would benefit from this knowledge as well.
This knowledge and insight is the number one thing that Google looks for when deciding what websites should make it to the top of their ranks. Google wants the top of their search pages to be filled with businesses that are sharing valuable information in their field; information people will benefit from and seek out on a regular basis.
It does not matter that my friends’ website is not fully up and running; there are many different blog sites out there that are simple to start and easy to update. They could use any one of these blogs to share their recollections and analysis of these brewing days.
There are also more chances than ever to become a guest blogger and add valuable information to others’ well-established blogs. Posting engaging articles and recollections to these blogs helps to solidify you as an authority in your field, which is one of the very top factors that Google uses to create its rankings.
Another simple way to establish your authority is to seek out online forums relating to your field. Once you identify these forums, then add insight and answer poster questions. As you do this more and more, not only will you cement yourself as a true authority, but you will gain valuable followers that will frequent your site once it is up and running.
If my friends had been utilizing these tactics for every one of their brewing days since its inception, they would already have over fifty interesting and unique articles that they could use to build their online authority. As it stands, they have yet to create a single one.
Not only will that hinder them in the long run of their SEO/Campaign Marketing campaign; these articles would also be great to look back upon once their business is a great success. These posts will serve as an online journal of sorts where they could reflect on the early days of their business and see how far they have come.
Important Note – If your website is online, but only displays one page that says “New Website Coming Soon” and that page has been up for more than a week, then FINISH YOUR WEBSITE!!
These “coming soon” pages do nothing for your SEO value, and they look cheap and unprofessional to your future visitors. When your website is ready to go, then publish it. If it is not yet ready to go, then don’t publish it. It is as simple as that. If I see one more “Coming Soon” page on a website that I am interested in, I am going to SCREAM!!
Excuse #2 – I am working so hard, I don’t have time to sit down and write out everything I am doing…
My friends and I have battled about this particular excuse quite a bit, and it is simply wrong. There is an ever-growing amount of talk to text notepad apps out there for both Android and IPhone. Apps, such as the Listnote Speech/Text Notepad will take everything that you speak into it and it will transfer your speech into an editable text document.
In effect, all the times where my friends have talked my ear off about everything they are trying, they could have held a phone up and had all that great knowledge transferred easily into text. Then, with a little bit of editing and revision, they would have blog posts/articles ready for publication. With the amount of great tech at our fingertips, this particular excuse is no longer valid.
This excuse makes sense to me, but at the same time, that’s the potential price that we must pay for solidifying ourselves as authorities in our respective fields. It’s true that if you share the techniques and recipes that you are using online, there is a potential risk of theft. However, you will always in this case be the first one who shared this information, and in Google’s eyes, you will remain the number one authority for this particular field.
Besides, I can go online right now and find the exact recipe for any great, famous beer out there, but there is no way I could ever replicate it; and even if I could, every true connoisseur would know that I am just putting out a knock-off of one of the greats, and not an original work.
Just because someone can steal your idea or recipe, does not necessarily mean that they will profit or benefit from it, and this is not something that should keep you from sharing your wealth of insight with the world at large.
Excuse #4 – I don’t want everyone on the Internet seeing the mistakes I am making…
Newsflash, it doesn’t matter how perfect or professional you are trying to present yourself and your business, the world knows you are a startup.
Because you are a startup, the world is willing to accept that you do not as of yet know every single small detail in your respective field. Mistakes happen, and it doesn’t matter how big a business currently is, they all went through a growing pains stage where they screwed up some things, learned from their mistakes, and were better off because of it.
Mistakes are not a bad thing. They teach us important lessons that can only be gained through experience. Mistakes also humanize us to our audience. People respect that you tried something out, and when it didn’t work, you had the foresight and perseverance to fix the problem and make it right.
Any company or person that tries to portray an image of perfection and flawlessness is just lying to the world. Nobody’s perfect, and the world will respect your honesty as you encounter the subtle flaws in your plans and strive to fix them. That’s what perfection is in my eyes: encountering your flaws and errors and finding the best possible ways to remedy them.
Excuse #5 – We’re documenting everything with pictures. That’s just as good…
I do agree that from a social media perspective, people love seeing pictures and liking/commenting on them. I am not saying that pictures should not be a part of your content marketing plan, but from an SEO perspective, pictures offer you very little substance.
There are certainly ways to optimize your photos to increase their SEO relevance (don’t forget your title and Alt tags everyone), but any SEO campaign that relies strictly on photos is sure to fail.
Pictures are easy to take. I am a photographer as well, so I respect and know the depth of the field, but really, anyone with a phone nowadays can be a photographer; Maybe not a good one, but a photographer nonetheless.
Because pictures are easy to take, Google and other search engines will never give them as much weight as clever, well-crafted written content. There is a reason my friends are happy to shoot a million photos, but hesitant to sit down and even write a single article.
Taking photos is fun; writing content is not always. Never take the easy way out in SEO. The harder something is, the more important it probably is to your SEO campaign. Like I said earlier, there is no silver bullet in SEO. You must rely on patience, hard work, and due diligence.
FINAL THOUGHTS – I am sure there are hundreds of other excuses that startups can come up with for slacking on their SEO/Content Marketing campaigns, but if I was to address them all, I would be here for days.
My point here is simple: Master your field, and then sit down and write (or talk to text) rich, engaging content that people will want to read, and that will bring them back again and again. This is easier for some fields than others, but it is a NECCESSITY for all businesses that want to attract online clientele.
If you find that you simply do not have the time to do all of this, then hire a great company to do it for you. At Fringe Digital Marketing Agency, this is all we do 24-7, and we are great at it. We would be more than happy to take on your campaign and lead you to success if you do not have the time to do it yourself, but don’t just wait and wait until you eventually forget to run a campaign all together.
From the moment you have your business idea in your head, start creating content and getting it online. Use blogs and guest blogs; visit forums, comment, and add your insight. The more content you can get online, the more of a relevant authority in your field you will become.
You will thank yourself later; just like my friends will be thanking me when they start ranking number one for the keyword “Brewery in Detroit” on Google. They can name one of their beers after me at a later date.
Do you have any ideas on how a startup business can develop their SEO/Content Marketing Campaign? If so, post them in the comments section below.