SEO Pitfalls for Start-Ups and How to Overcome Them
With limited resources but high growth aspirations, start-ups would do well to take advantage of the vast opportunities of online sales and marketing. Attracting clients through high search engine ranking is a cost efficient technique but many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pitfalls lie before the unsuspecting entrepreneur.
As enticing as selling online is, it is the logical step for a business that has ironed out its operations and created the necessary infrastructure – a website, distribution channels, payment system, etc. Unfortunately, quite a few companies opt for a premature SEO campaign before the bugs in the system have been dealt with, and risk wasting money and putting off potential customers with poor services – boo.com wasted $135 million that way1. This double negative effect not only squanders resources – financial and human, but also makes an extremely bad first impression on the customer. As a rule of thumb, your website needs basic good content and product information before an SEO campaign should be considered.
In order to survive, start-ups need the most efficient usage of their resources so spending lavishly on SEO is not a good strategy. It is not surprising that overrun budgets and missed targets are so common. Budgeting and planning go hand in hand so a miscalculation in one leads to a problem with the other. For start-ups, drawing up a cashflow-based budget – outflows alongside expected inflows – could give a clear view of the project. In the case of a cost increase, the budget would allow the company to quickly evaluate how the change would affect it.
Unfortunately for start-ups, survival in the early days is a key issue and their strategies reflect this short-term-ism. For example, a start-up might choose grey-hat SEO techniques in order to receive an immediate boost to rankings, traffic or sales, at the expense of future performance. However, this is not a sustainable strategy because the website can be punished in the long run and may be forced to start anew. Therefore, it seems logical to emphasize only the best practice techniques even if their results take some time to manifest.
Sometimes small firms have trouble monitoring the progress of their activities and are slow to react to changes. Unfortunately, their performance measures calculate the wrong thing, for example, incoming traffic and not customer sales, and this could result in undesired behavior – increasing visitors at the expense of visitor quality, for instance. Furthermore, if the SEO campaign needs slight alterations, then the monitoring process could give valuable data on which parts need changing. The positive effects of implementing a monitoring system for the first time are even greater because they offer a new level of detail and insight into company performance.
For businesses new to SEO, falling prey to get-rich, or ‘get popular’, schemes poses a real danger to the unsuspecting entrepreneur because they are not familiar with the consequence of using black-hat, or forbidden, techniques. On the one hand, the SEO company might be simply incompetent “professionals” who don’t understand SEO fundamentals, and they would do little damage. On the other hand, they could have the site black-listed by Google because of black-hat techniques, which is a serious issue.
The final SEO pitfall for start-ups is obsessing with search engine results and investing resources into artificially improving these instead of focusing on providing a higher quality service. It is far too easy to blame poor results on the lag effect of SEO (results kick in after some time) but more often than not, it is due to inferior products.
If you would like to receive more quality advice and fall in the pitfalls of start-up SEO, why not give our consultants here at Infintech a call?