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SEO FOR
STARTUPS –
5 Ways to Use
Brains Over Budget
“SEO is a strategy...If you’re just thinking in
terms of keywords in the title and submitting
to some directories, you’re ...
SEO FOR
STARTUPS CAN BE
CHALLENGING.
Search engine results heavily
favor big brand websites with
thousands of links, a rec...
Top 16 Brands Dominating Worldwide
Google Results via Viperchill
Faced with daunting odds and
tepid initial results, many startups
quickly give up on SEO as a viable
marketing channel.
Th...
SEO can be one of the best
channels for growth phase startups
to achieve traction at a reasonable
cost. Unlike other chann...
Survey Says SEO The Single Most
Important Marketing Channel For SMBs
Graphic via http://searchengineland.com/
Grab a copy of the Ultimate SEO
Checklist for Startups, which the team
at CanIRank uses internally
THE ULTIMATE SEO CHECKL...
Numerous startup success stories such as Mint,
Quora, Buffer, HubSpot, Unbounce,
OKCupid, Groove, TripAdvisor, or Yelp
wou...
Plus, there’s good news: in the
past few years, SEO has become a
lot harder.
(Yes, that’s good news!)
It’s good news because SEO
is a zero-sum game. The more
challenging it becomes, the more
opportunities there are for you
a...
In this presentation we’ll share
5 specific SEO strategies
that you can put to use right
now to better leverage SEO as a
t...
“The most successful companies make the
core progression—to first dominate a specific
niche and then scale to adjacent mar...
STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #1:
START IN A SMALL POND
CanIRank is best described as “SEO software”, an “SEO
tool”, or perhaps a “...
So instead of wasting resources trying to fight a battle we
can’t win, we applied SEO for Startups strategy #1:
start in a...
More specifically, break down your overall
market into smaller chunks and choose
one to focus your SEO efforts on initiall...
Discovering attainable keywords in the
CanIRank Grow My Content tool
As a startup you need to start
by targeting low competition
keywords even if they’re not the
ones that best describe your
...
For CanIRank, we chose to focus
on the “keyword difficulty”
segment of the SEO market. This
was a great fit for us because...
So did it work?
CanIRank still doesn’t have very many links, but by
focusing on a single market niche rather than the over...
STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #2:
BE A BARNACLE
Every week there are literally
hundreds of new articles and blog
posts published talking about our
competitors. And unfort...
Eventually, we hope to be featured
in those articles. But in the
meantime, we have to settle
for being a barnacle. Just
as...
Every time a quality blog post or news article comes out
mentioning SEO software or our competitors, we’ll look
for a way ...
Maybe we’ll make an insightful comment, connect
with the blogger on Twitter, or send the journalist a note
with some addit...
In the short term, many people
researching your industry who
stumble across one of those
articles will notice your comment...
Sound too
time-consuming?
We thought so too! So we built our new Promote
my Content tool to automate the process of
monitoring and evaluating mentio...
STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #3:
INFLUENCER OUTREACH
The Promote my Content
tool can also be used to find the
most important influencers in your
industry: the ones who frequen...
Make influencers aware of
you and your startup by:
•		 Following them on social media
•		 Making helpful comments
•		 Shar...
Next, get them liking your company:
•		 Feature influencers as an expert
•		Mention them in press interviews or guest post...
One Way To Find Influencers: Use
CanIRank’s Promote My Content Tool
1. In the “Promote My Content” tool, select the conten...
2. The tool will give you a list of opportunities, scored
on the relevancy to your content and keyword, the
authority of t...
STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #4:
CHEERLEADERS
Another great use for the new
Promote my Content
tool is finding forums or active
communities in your niche.
These forums don’t have to be
huge, just someplace with a cozy
feel where you fit in. Interact, help
people, build real re...
Only then start talking about your
business, find some who are
interested and make them feel
like they’re part of the team...
STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #3:
KATAMARI SEO
You’ve probably heard of the
long tail approach to SEO
before. Well, for startups and
anyone with a new, less-
established...
It may only receive a trickle
of traffic, but it establishes
a beachhead for your search
presence and gives search engines...
Next time around, you’ll be able
to target a keyword that’s a bit
more competitive and the trickle of
traffic will become ...
This is called the Katamari
approach to SEO since it’s
basically the website equivalent of
the popular game where you begi...
It has the distinction of having been invented by no
less an SEO luminary than Google’s Matt
Cutts, so you can rest assure...
Success with Katamari SEO or any long tail
SEO strategy relies upon 1 big thing:
Picking a keyword for which you can
easil...
A good first stop in your quest for the ideal long tail
keyword is sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers, where
you can quic...
Process for finding Long Tail Keywords:
“Drill Down Technique”
1. Start with a keyword you’re interested and analyze it to...
NOW GET STARTED ON YOUR SEO
FOR STARTUPS STRATEGY!
We know the challenges of running a startup.
You’re short on resources and the clock is
ticking. SEO can be an effective, ...
Follow us on Twitter: @canirank
and LinkedIn
Seo for Startups - 5 Ways to Use Brains Over Budget by @CanIRank
Seo for Startups - 5 Ways to Use Brains Over Budget by @CanIRank
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Seo for Startups - 5 Ways to Use Brains Over Budget by @CanIRank

5 actionable SEO strategies that you can implement right away to leverage SEO as a traction channel for your startup, regardless of your size, budget, or industry. Learn more at www.canirank.com

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Seo for Startups - 5 Ways to Use Brains Over Budget by @CanIRank

  1. 1. SEO FOR STARTUPS – 5 Ways to Use Brains Over Budget
  2. 2. “SEO is a strategy...If you’re just thinking in terms of keywords in the title and submitting to some directories, you’re going to get lapped by someone who understands how to make content, links, sharing & search demand an integral part of how users interact with their website.” - Rand Fishkin
  3. 3. SEO FOR STARTUPS CAN BE CHALLENGING. Search engine results heavily favor big brand websites with thousands of links, a recognizable brand name, and virtually unlimited budgets for fresh content.
  4. 4. Top 16 Brands Dominating Worldwide Google Results via Viperchill
  5. 5. Faced with daunting odds and tepid initial results, many startups quickly give up on SEO as a viable marketing channel. That’s a huge mistake.
  6. 6. SEO can be one of the best channels for growth phase startups to achieve traction at a reasonable cost. Unlike other channels where traffic scales in proportion to budget, in SEO, brains and creativity matter more than budget.
  7. 7. Survey Says SEO The Single Most Important Marketing Channel For SMBs Graphic via http://searchengineland.com/
  8. 8. Grab a copy of the Ultimate SEO Checklist for Startups, which the team at CanIRank uses internally THE ULTIMATE SEO CHECKLIST FOR STARTUPS 1. ONE-TIME SETUP ACTIONS ☐ Submit to BetaList ☐ Launch on ProductHunt ☐ Post on Reddit Share Your Startup ☐ Create an Influencer Outreach tracking sheet to keep track of all the relationships you’re building with bloggers, journalists, social media stars, and other influential people in your industry ☐ Submit to KillerStartups ☐ Submit to LaunchingNext ☐ Set up a CrunchBase profile ☐ Set up an Angel.co profile ☐ Add your site to AlternativeTo.net, and suggest it as an alternative to your competitors ☐ Set up a LinkedIn profile for your startup ☐ Set up a company Facebook page ☐ Use your internal links to create thematic “silos” within your information architecture. Start by linking all related blog posts to each other –ideally with contextual links from within the body content of each post – then make sure each of those posts links up to a Feature page which targets the most important keywords for that particular silo ☐ Brainstorm keywords people might use when searching for your products and services. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest.org to expand the list. (Note: Don’t worry about small keyword variations that aren’t meaningfully different – Google ignores those anyway.) When you have your starting list, use CanIRank to help you focus on the keywords that offer the best balance between traffic potential, commercial value, ranking difficulty, and relevancy to your business. Keywords that are too competitive for your site should go into a “Someday” sheet that you’ll revisit later as your site becomes more authoritative. The others should be used to map out your site’s information architecture. ☐ Map out your website’s information architecture. It should be a pyramid shape with your most important 2 to 5 keywords being targeted with your homepage, next most important keywords being targeted by mid-level Feature pages (1-3 keywords each), and lest competitive long-tail keywords being targeted by low-level pages such as blog posts. Make sure your internal link structure reflects this information hierarchy, so that you have the most links going to your homepage, second most links going to your feature pages, and so on. ☐ Add your site to AlternativeTo.net, and suggest it as an alternative to your competitors ☐ Have a qualified professional do a technical SEO audit of your website to ensure your content is easily crawled by search engines, and that there are no issued that could lead to penalties or demotions THE ULTIMATE SEO CHECKLIST FOR STARTUPS 1. ONE-TIME SETUP ACTIONS ☐ Submit to BetaList ☐ Launch on ProductHunt ☐ Post on Reddit Share Your Startup ☐ Create an Influencer Outreach tracking sheet to keep track of all the relationships you’re building with bloggers, journalists, social media stars, and other influential people in your industry ☐ Submit to KillerStartups ☐ Submit to LaunchingNext ☐ Set up a CrunchBase profile ☐ Set up an Angel.co profile ☐ Add your site to AlternativeTo.net, and suggest it as an alternative to your competitors ☐ Set up a LinkedIn profile for your startup ☐ Set up a company Facebook page ☐ Use your internal links to create thematic “silos” within your information architecture. Start by linking all related blog posts to each other –ideally with contextual links from within the body content of each post – then make sure each of those posts links up to a Feature page which targets the most important keywords for that particular silo ☐ Brainstorm keywords people might use when searching for your products and services. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest.org to expand the list. (Note: Don’t worry about small keyword variations that aren’t meaningfully different – Google ignores those anyway.) When you have your starting list, use CanIRank to help you focus on the keywords that offer the best balance between traffic potential, commercial value, ranking difficulty, and relevancy to your business. Keywords that are too competitive for your site should go into a “Someday” sheet that you’ll revisit later as your site becomes more authoritative. The others should be used to map out your site’s information architecture. ☐ Map out your website’s information architecture. It should be a pyramid shape with your most important 2 to 5 keywords being targeted with your homepage, next most important keywords being targeted by mid-level Feature pages (1-3 keywords each), and lest competitive long-tail keywords being targeted by low-level pages such as blog posts. Make sure your internal link structure reflects this information hierarchy, so that you have the most links going to your homepage, second most links going to your feature pages, and so on. ☐ Add your site to AlternativeTo.net, and suggest it as an alternative to your competitors ☐ Have a qualified professional do a technical SEO audit of your website to ensure your content is easily crawled by search engines, and that there are no issued that could lead to penalties or demotions
  9. 9. Numerous startup success stories such as Mint, Quora, Buffer, HubSpot, Unbounce, OKCupid, Groove, TripAdvisor, or Yelp wouldn’t be half the company they are today without their startup SEO strategies.
  10. 10. Plus, there’s good news: in the past few years, SEO has become a lot harder. (Yes, that’s good news!)
  11. 11. It’s good news because SEO is a zero-sum game. The more challenging it becomes, the more opportunities there are for you and I and anyone else willing to put in the work, find the best SEO strategies, and do it right.
  12. 12. In this presentation we’ll share 5 specific SEO strategies that you can put to use right now to better leverage SEO as a traction channel for your startup, regardless of your size, budget, or industry.
  13. 13. “The most successful companies make the core progression—to first dominate a specific niche and then scale to adjacent markets—a part of their founding narrative.” - Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
  14. 14. STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #1: START IN A SMALL POND CanIRank is best described as “SEO software”, an “SEO tool”, or perhaps a “keyword research tool”. But we know that if we tried to compete for those keywords as a young SEO startup going up against much more established players, we wouldn’t have a chance.
  15. 15. So instead of wasting resources trying to fight a battle we can’t win, we applied SEO for Startups strategy #1: start in a small pond.
  16. 16. More specifically, break down your overall market into smaller chunks and choose one to focus your SEO efforts on initially.
  17. 17. Discovering attainable keywords in the CanIRank Grow My Content tool
  18. 18. As a startup you need to start by targeting low competition keywords even if they’re not the ones that best describe your business.
  19. 19. For CanIRank, we chose to focus on the “keyword difficulty” segment of the SEO market. This was a great fit for us because: 1. Our keyword difficulty feature is light years ahead of the competition, and 2. No larger players were trying to rank for “keyword difficulty” with their home page.
  20. 20. So did it work? CanIRank still doesn’t have very many links, but by focusing on a single market niche rather than the overall market terms like “SEO”, “SEO software”, “SEO tools” and so on, we’ve managed to get our SEO startup on page 2 in a relatively short period of time.
  21. 21. STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #2: BE A BARNACLE
  22. 22. Every week there are literally hundreds of new articles and blog posts published talking about our competitors. And unfortunately for us, most of the bloggers and journalists doing the writing haven’t yet heard of CanIRank.
  23. 23. Eventually, we hope to be featured in those articles. But in the meantime, we have to settle for being a barnacle. Just as barnacles attach themselves to whales for a free ride through the ocean, startups can try to attach themselves to the press coverage of their larger competitors.
  24. 24. Every time a quality blog post or news article comes out mentioning SEO software or our competitors, we’ll look for a way to get involved.
  25. 25. Maybe we’ll make an insightful comment, connect with the blogger on Twitter, or send the journalist a note with some additional research they could use in future
  26. 26. In the short term, many people researching your industry who stumble across one of those articles will notice your comments and check you out as well. In the long term, the bloggers, journalists and other influencers who write on your industry will become aware of your startup and start including you in their write-ups.
  27. 27. Sound too time-consuming?
  28. 28. We thought so too! So we built our new Promote my Content tool to automate the process of monitoring and evaluating mentions of your keywords or competitors:
  29. 29. STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #3: INFLUENCER OUTREACH
  30. 30. The Promote my Content tool can also be used to find the most important influencers in your industry: the ones who frequently link to your competitors and share their content.
  31. 31. Make influencers aware of you and your startup by: • Following them on social media • Making helpful comments • Sharing and link to their stuff
  32. 32. Next, get them liking your company: • Feature influencers as an expert • Mention them in press interviews or guest posts you land at more important sites • Send them helpful updates to their content, a free infographic, link corrections, bug reports, etc.
  33. 33. One Way To Find Influencers: Use CanIRank’s Promote My Content Tool 1. In the “Promote My Content” tool, select the content you want to promote and the strategy you’d like to use to find promotional opportunities. In this example I’m using a CanIRank study comparing different keyword difficulty metrics, and the “Bloggers” strategy to find the most influential bloggers who write about keyword difficulty.
  34. 34. 2. The tool will give you a list of opportunities, scored on the relevancy to your content and keyword, the authority of the page and website, and actionability (how difficult it is to get a link on that website)
  35. 35. STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #4: CHEERLEADERS
  36. 36. Another great use for the new Promote my Content tool is finding forums or active communities in your niche.
  37. 37. These forums don’t have to be huge, just someplace with a cozy feel where you fit in. Interact, help people, build real relationships, go to meet ups or conferences, and meet the people in person.
  38. 38. Only then start talking about your business, find some who are interested and make them feel like they’re part of the team, get their feedback, ask them about some SEO techniques and strategies that worked for them, give them early access to beta features, give them free subscription, implement their suggestions, share how business is going and your hopes and fears.
  39. 39. STARTUP SEO STRATEGY #3: KATAMARI SEO
  40. 40. You’ve probably heard of the long tail approach to SEO before. Well, for startups and anyone with a new, less- established website, you may need to start with the long, long, looooooong tail.
  41. 41. It may only receive a trickle of traffic, but it establishes a beachhead for your search presence and gives search engines some behavioral data on your website. With luck, 1 or 2 people in that trickle of traffic may link to your content or share it on social media, and then your site will become just a bit more authoritative.
  42. 42. Next time around, you’ll be able to target a keyword that’s a bit more competitive and the trickle of traffic will become a stream. Keep that virtuous cycle going and eventually your website will be the SEO powerhouse dominating the rankings in your niche, and ranking automatically for every keyword you happen to mention once in a blog post somewhere.
  43. 43. This is called the Katamari approach to SEO since it’s basically the website equivalent of the popular game where you begin with a small sticky ball and slowly roll up larger and larger objects until you’re the size of Mt. Everest and can roll up entire
  44. 44. It has the distinction of having been invented by no less an SEO luminary than Google’s Matt Cutts, so you can rest assured it’s a Google-approved SEO strategy.
  45. 45. Success with Katamari SEO or any long tail SEO strategy relies upon 1 big thing: Picking a keyword for which you can easily rank!
  46. 46. A good first stop in your quest for the ideal long tail keyword is sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers, where you can quickly see what kinds of questions people in your niche have.
  47. 47. Process for finding Long Tail Keywords: “Drill Down Technique” 1. Start with a keyword you’re interested and analyze it to get your Ranking Probability score. 2. If your site has a Ranking Probability of 75% or better, you’re done! Post on that keyword. 3. If not, click on “Find easier related keyword ideas” to drill down into alternatives that are more specific than your earlier keyword, and analyze those. 4. Go back to step 2 and repeat until you find a keyword that you can rank for.
  48. 48. NOW GET STARTED ON YOUR SEO FOR STARTUPS STRATEGY!
  49. 49. We know the challenges of running a startup. You’re short on resources and the clock is ticking. SEO can be an effective, low cost way to grow your company. CanIRank can help. Learn more
  50. 50. Follow us on Twitter: @canirank and LinkedIn

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