SEO for Start-Ups: Should You Invest?

You’ve poured blood, sweat and tears into building your business from scratch, and when your savings are just about drained, you read something online about hiring an SEO professional to help it rank better in Google. An ominous feeling of dread creeps up on you at the thought of forking out even more money to make your vision a reality. Sound familiar?

If you’ve had your website built by a developer who knows their stuff when it comes to SEO, then the chances are you’ve made a good investment, and your site should already be search engine friendly.

Google logo on an apple
photo credit: Ana Belen Ramon

But that’s not to say that you can sit back and watch the money roll in as your website reigns champion at the top of the search results. The reality is that having a structurally sound website is only half of it. Or technically one third of it, if you’re using the three pillars analogy.

The simplest way to get your head around SEO is to think of it as three pillars, with each one supporting your website’s overall ability to rank as high as possible in Google’s search results.

On-Site Optimisation

The first pillar is your site itself. A website’s structure, metadata and navigation all have a part to play in helping it to rank well. Like we mentioned earlier, if you’ve had your site designed by a good developer who knows their SEO, this should already be taken care of.

Content and Key Phrases

The second pillar is content, so here we’re talking about the words on the pages of your website. Google analyses these pages to determine what results it will deliver when somebody searches a particular word, phrase or question. So, if your website has relevant, well-written text on its pages, then you stand a good chance at ranking for terms that are important to your business.

It’s easy enough to check if your site is ranking well for the phrases you want it to; there are plenty of tools online that should give you accurate results. If you want to delve a bit further, this one allows you to compare your website against your competitors’ for a deeper insight into your market.

Domain Authority

Finally, the third pillar making up your website’s overall SEO is the strength of your domain. This is determined by a number of different factors, and Google is constantly updating its algorithm. Currently, the authority of your domain is measured on back links, page range and people sharing your site on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

The Verdict

The first and second pillars can be taken care of by a good developer and a sharp SEO copywriter. The third however, is a different story. The complexities and intricacies of Google’s ever-changing algorithm means improving your chances of ranking higher in the search results can go horribly wrong if you’re found to be manipulating Google’s perception of your site. Get it wrong and you can end up wiped from the search results altogether.

So the verdict is a resounding yes, you should be investing in SEO if your business relies on traffic and conversions coming in from Google’s search results.

Spending even more on your start-up business might be a daunting prospect, but failing to invest in an SEO professional is like trying to ride a bike without wheels.