How SEO Can Help You Future-Proof Your Startup

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that entrepreneurs must be prepared to pivot. Success is never guaranteed, but there are steps you can take to increase your chances of longevity as an entrepreneur. In order to future-proof your business and remain relevant to your target audience, you must stay in tune with changing consumer behavior. Markets constantly shift, and customer expectation has heightened over the course of the last year. If you don’t pivot or respond to these changes in consumer behavior, you risk the possibility of your business becoming irrelevant. Fortunately, you can leverage the power of SEO to future-proof your business by: 

  • Making sure you appear every time your ideal customers look for your products or services, allowing you to get more potential customers online.
  • Helping you understand what your ideal customers want or need.
  • Meeting those needs by providing customers with high-quality content that matches their search intent.
  • Keeping your website updated, fast and aesthetically pleasing. 

In other words, following SEO best practices pushes you to establish and grow your authority and motivates you to stay on top of your game, thus remaining competitive in your given niche. 

Future-proof your business with the following SEO tactics:

Use long-tail keywords to target your ideal customers

Long-tail keywords, or phrases made up of three to five words, are more efficient in targeting and attracting the right customers to your website. In fact, searches of more than four words make up 95.88% of Google searches, according to Neil Patel.

Long-tail keywords are more specific to what a consumer is searching for, and consumers are more likely to use a longer, specific keyword phase when they’re closer to potentially making a purchase or when they’re using voice search.

Let’s say, for example, a consumer is conducting a Google search to find somewhere to eat dinner tonight. They are more likely to type in “pizza places near me” or “pizza places in Sacramento” than just “pizza” or “pizza places.”

Managing long-tail keywords is a matter of establishing better lines of communication between your business (in this example, the pizza place) and the customers who are already out there actively shopping for what you provide (pizza).

Provide relevant content, and build your audience with user intent

When it comes to your content strategy, you’ll want to create a strategy for both new and evergreen content. 

By writing and publishing new content on a regular basis, you help to boost your authority as a subject matter expert in your given field. Plus, as your content draws more visitors to your website, the more authority your website will hold on search engines like Google.

Evergreen content is content that continues to remain fresh and relevant to your target audience even years after it’s published. While this content remains relevant, you’ll need to update evergreen content on a regular basis. To do so, make sure any existing links still function, and swap out any that are broken. Additionally, consider changing out imagery, and add any new information or statistics that may have come to light since the piece of content was originally published.

All of this is to say that user intent is key when it comes to content creation that will enhance the relevance of your web page and improve your SEO. Satisfying search intent, or the purpose a user has when they type a query into a search engine, is Google’s primary goal. 

Related: Is Your New Business Ready to Grow? Take These 3 Steps First

Use on-page SEO to attract customers

In a nutshell, on-page SEO refers to the practice of optimizing individual landing pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to any efforts outside of your website that have the potential to impact search rankings.  

In order to improve your on-page SEO, consider: 

  • Mining user behavior and other analytics data to improve user experience on your site
  • Check your site’s technical issues that could cause duplicate content or crawl errors
  • Publishing relevant content that aligns with user intent
  • Including full title, description and keyword metadata for all posts and pages

Use backlinks to establish your authority

To rank higher, search engine crawlers look at two things: your relevance and your authority. The more websites that cite you or link back to your website, the more credible you appear and the higher ranking you’ll receive.

This is also highly relevant from a user perspective: the more you’re cited and the more supported your claims are, your potential customers are much more likely to see your brand as trustworthy and credible.

When formulating your strategy, keep in mind that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles, meaning creating long-form content over quick-hitting blog posts will be more effective in building backlinks. There are particular content formats that work best for acquiring backlinks, too. “Why,” “what” and infographic posts received almost 30% more links compared to video and “how to” posts, according to Backlinko.

The bottom line is backlinks in long-form content help to boost your authority with Google rankings as well as your potential customers.  

Use SEO to stay on top of the competition

As we mentioned at the onset of this article, you have to stay current on consumer trends in order to succeed in business. In addition to your target customer base, you also have to stay on top of your competition. 

There are several ways you can monitor the competition, including a number of traffic tools like Moz, Ubersuggest and AHrefs. 

In addition to leveraging analytics, you can also examine your competitors’ websites and look for the following: 

  • How their website is laid out and structured
  • What type of content they’re publishing and how frequently
  • Whether or not they have a localized SEO strategy in place
  • What their user experience is like
  • Whether or not their website is optimized for mobile

Combining analytics and taking the time to do a deep dive on your competition is a great way to make sure your business is not only aware of the competition but filling the areas in which your competition is lacking, too.

Key takeaways on future-proofing your business with SEO

If your website is not following the SEO best practices outlined above, you run the risk of a business set up to fail.

Staying on top of SEO trends is the key to staying relevant to your target audience and keeping them engaged and delighted throughout the customer journey. After all, if your customers (and potential customers!) are satisfied with your product or service, they’re more likely to turn into a repeat customer, creating a lifelong, profitable relationship. 

Originally published July 23, 2021.

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