Startups need to master the essentials of SEO in order to reach and convert new customers. You may be able to reach people via website copy or content marketing, but the fact remains that you need SEO to be seen. Here are the essentials of SEO that startups must master in order to succeed regardless of your end goal.

Do a Website Audit

There are a number of issues that could hurt your website’s ranking with search engines and perception your site has with would-be customers. Look for errors on your website. Fix all spelling and grammar mistakes. Make certain there is no duplicate content since that is penalised by search engines. This can happen by mistake when you cross-post content on other sites or share barely rewritten content as a guest post on another site.

Broken images simply look bad. 404 error pages and broken links are a strike against you with both search engines and searchers alike.

If you built your website from scratch or are dealing with an inexperienced or simply bad web designer, you could consider using a platform like instead. All their templates look professional and are already optimised for search engines, so you won’t have to worry about things like poor navigation or bad structure for instance.

Know Your Target Audience

Before you can hit the target, you need to know what you’re aiming for. Your target audience dictates your content’s search engine optimisation and your digital marketing efforts. In order to improve your SEO, you have to consider who is searching for you and what they’re looking for. That’s the target you need to hit.

You could determine this target audience by surveying your current customer base, running focus groups, or conducting a competitive analysis. There are online tools that can tell you the audience that you’re attracting, relative to the one you are aiming for.

Research Keywords

Use a number of tools to analyse the demographics linked to various, proposed keywords and search terms. Some tools let you expand potential search phrases to see which ones you could dominate in the search results. For example, “Insurance” may be dominated by a large corporation but “insurance in X town” is something you could still come up first in the search results for. Other tools let you see which phrases are heavily searched but have little competition – traffic you could capture with the right content.

Rank for Your Brand’s Keywords

Too many people think only of keywords and search phrases relative to the type of product they’re selling or the service they offer and forget keywords like the business’s name or product name. Ensure that your website’s SEO puts your business at the top of searches for it by name. Try to rank at the top of search results for your product’s name.

Understand the Sales Funnel and How SEO Relates to It

High rankings on SERPs will yield traffic, but the final results depend on how many people search for the term and how much of a fit they consider your content to be. A portion of that traffic converts into paying customers. The sales generate revenue for the business.

Look at the statistics for each stage of the sales funnel. If you have significant traffic but relatively few customers, a better SEO strategy consists of increasing customer conversions by 20% instead of trying to increase website traffic by 20%. If you aren’t getting much traffic, then your SEO strategy should be building brand awareness.

Another issue is ensuring that your content comes up at the right stage of the sales funnel. General searches for your brand name should bring up your website or an overview of your products. If they want to buy your product, make sure the product pages selling the item are among the top results.

Search engine optimisation is essential if you want your search engine to be found through the internet searches most of your customers are still using. Successful SEO will result in not only more traffic, but more customers.