The weird and wonderful world of SEO often has its challenges, and it can be particularly tough for startups. While your new website may look amazing, have great content and tick all of the usability boxes, the problem is often that the search engines don’t yet trust you. Not you personally, that would be weird, but the authority of your brand new website.

The relative ease with which anyone can now create a website has ensured that a brand new site often struggle to rank highly. How do the search engines know that your website is more authoritative than all the existing competitors in the market place. Well the simple answer is that they don’t, not yet at least.

While the debate is out on how important on-page SEO is vs. off-page SEO, let’s say for argument sake that it’s a 50-50 split.  The most sensible approach is to make sure that all the on-page elements are in place.

This will often include the technical architecture of the site, the internal linking structure, how fast the site loads and the content throughout the site. Ducks – row, foundation – house and all the other clichéd metaphors about building a solid base.

But on-page SEO isn’t typically enough on its own to dramatically impact rankings. The missing element is all the off-page metrics. How many people link to you, who these people are, what authority do these sites have, how many times is your brand mentioned online etc.… and it’s this last part that can take time to build.

It may turn out that SEO really isn’t the best option in the early days of your startup. If the competition is really tough, then you may not see any positive returns for well over 12 months.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t focus at all on SEO, everyone has to start somewhere and if you don’t give it any attention at all, then you’ll be languishing in the Google doldrums for all eternity.

The point is that when putting together your business and marketing plan, don’t necessarily rely on SEO to generate the majority of leads, enquiries and customers until you’ve been through ALL the data.

Every case and business is unique, and the best SEO professionals will give you all the necessary data and guidance before YOU decide if it’s the best tactic for your business. Never rely on someone else to make these important decisions for you.

Related: The Complete Guide To Blogging (Tips on Content, Design, SEO and Social Promotion)

While estimations and predictions are obviously dependent on Google (they could go through a major algorithm update at any point) and the relative activity of your competitors, there are a number of data sets that can be examined to give a very good approximation of what’s possible in a given time frame. These will include”

  • Keyword search volumes
  • The competitiveness of each keyword in the organic results
  • An analysis of the authority of all major competitor websites
  • Estimated rankings at 3, 6 and 12 months.
  • Daily resource dedicated to SEO.
  • Estimated click through rates.
  • Average conversion rates.
  • Average order value of each completed conversion.
  • Total SEO profit for the business for low, medium and aggressive targets.

It’s only with all the data above can you really make a decision as to whether you have the resources and budget to focus on SEO in the early days.

Startups are traditionally short of funds and it’s always a dispiriting when these precious resources could’ve been better spent elsewhere. If you’re thinking about SEO for your business, try to get answers to all of the above before you commit to a long-term project.

This post was submitted by Gooey Digital. A digital marketing agency who are happy to provide free consultation to ambitious startups and entrepreneurs.

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