If you’ve taken your startup this far on your own (or with a small team), you can easily conduct your own search engine optimization. Just think of it as another tool in your ever-expanding, entrepreneurial toolbelt.
Technically, the below steps should be followed in order, but feel free to skip around depending on your previous SEO knowledge and how it applies to your current digital presence.
All right. Let’s jump in.
1. Know Your Target Audience
You may be thinking, “Well, duh.”
And, yes, of course you need to know your target market and who you’re selling to. Not only does this inspire and dictate your marketing efforts, but it will give you direction.
The essence of SEO for startups is optimizing your search engine presence. This is important because more than 70% of consumers start on a search engine when shopping and comparing products or services.
When improving your SEO, you have to consider who’s searching for you. That’s where your target audience comes in.
If you haven’t gotten chummy with your target audience yet, stop right here and read this post. In that article, I explore why you should define your target audience and how to go about doing so. And after reading it, you may know your target audience better than your best friend or significant other (just don’t tell them).
Let’s review some basic target audience research.
- Start with what you know. Sketch out the demographics (physical data) and psychographics (mental and emotional data) of your audience with which you’re familiar. If you don’t have customers right now, build a fake persona of your ideal buyer.
- Look around you. After exhausting you and your team’s knowledge of your audience, take a look around. Shake down your current customer base with a free survey, an interview (which could serve as user-generated content later), or a focus group. Conduct a competitive analysis to check out your competitors’ audiences. Conduct a deep dive into your product or service to figure out who it targets.
- Hop online. Look up what others have researched and written about your audience. Use databases such as Quantcast, Google Trends, and Ahrefs.
Great! So you’ve compiled a target audience persona. Now, let’s repurpose that persona to discover your core keywords. Start by asking yourself these questions.
- What are your audience’s pain points?
- Why would they search (and hopefully purchase) your product or service?
- What components of your product or service entice consumers to search for you?
For example, I own a local consignment pop-up event business. I would hardly expect consumers to search for me by name. Instead, they’re most likely searching for “local women’s consignment,” “how to sell used clothing,” or “shop used brand name purses.”
Use your target audience persona to brainstorm five to 10 words or phrases that a potential consumer might search. Aim to gather natural, conversational keywords, not industry-specific jargon. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
If you get stuck, that’s okay. The next section will help you expand.
Get Free Instant Access To 28 Proven Marketing Strategies For Startups Here!
2. Research and Apply Keywords
Free tools like Keyword Tool Dominator, Ubersuggest, and Soolve are good places to start when researching your proposed keywords. These tools help you expand on potential phrases and show you where certain search terms are active (on Google, Amazon, YouTube, etc.). Merge Words is another free tool that can help you aggregate all possible combinations of your keywords.