Content Is King: How Startups Can Unlock Growth With SEO

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Sara Friedman
Sara Friedman

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These days, if a business doesn’t have an online presence, it’s a red flag for many consumers. 

SEO Content for Startups

We’ve become accustomed to brand social media accounts, blogs, and websites telling us everything we need to know about a company with a single click. 

And those clicks pay off for businesses: According to HubSpot’s survey of more than 400 professionals who track web analytics for websites that leverage SEO, almost half of websites saw traffic grow year over year, and 69% think people will use search more in 2024 than they did before. 

Plus, 65% of those surveyed reported a positive impact from Google’s 2023 update, including higher traffic and search engine results page (SERP) rankings.

This spells good news for companies aiming to grow using SEO-driven content strategy. Below are some tools businesses can use to reach future customers, build trust and brand recognition, and stay ahead of the curve with AI. 

1. Experiment With Keywords

You know the drill: You type a burning question into Google and are met with hundreds of pages of search results. 

But many of us never make it past that first page, making it important for brands looking to reach new customers to get closer to the top of the SERP rankings. 

The first step to doing so is identifying relevant keywords and publishing content around them. Services like Ahrefs can help you get started with identifying keywords related to your company’s niche. 

“Aim for topical authority. This means covering the topics your potential customers are looking for, in-depth,” says Flavio Amiel, who runs the Audienz agency.

Amiel says that once you’ve finished an SEO sprint for topical coverage, you can first assess results and then cover an additional, new topic in a subsequent SEO campaign. 

And remember that positive results don’t always mean conversions. Amiel says they include everything from growth in support requests to customers clicking “add to cart” or the business receiving press coverage. 

Once brands have identified the keywords that brought in good results, they can then scale their SEO campaigns around those keywords with more streamlined processes and improved editorial style. 

A serious startup doesn’t want to dominate this or that keyword; they want to build a brand,” says Amiel.

2. Meet Your Audience Where They Are

When making content, it’s important to not only prioritize what your customers want but also where they want to find it. 

A HubSpot survey of more than 600 adults found that 31% of consumers use social media when searching for answers to questions online — and one in four ages 18-54 prefer social to search engines.

Among social media users, 57% use the search function on social apps (79% for Gen Z and millennials).

And people are increasingly searching for content from their phones, with 57% of consumers reporting using their phones over any other device when looking up a question on a search engine (a number that rose to 80% for Gen Z).

These figures should be top of mind for startups looking to grow their business through content. Having an active social media presence and a user-friendly mobile experience will be important not only for brand recognition but also for SEO and building credibility as a thought leader in the eyes of younger generations.

3. Build Trust 

At the heart of search is trust: For brands to be truly successful, they not only need to be showing up in search results — they need to provide accurate, helpful content that keeps readers and customers coming back time and again. 

In HubSpot’s survey of web analytics pros, 39% said trustworthiness was most important for ranking highly on SERPs.

Part of building credibility when it comes to SEO means building backlinks (when another website links out to your content, citing you as an authority on the subject). 

The more backlinks, the higher you rank, but securing backlinks is notoriously difficult since it often entails cold emails to other publications and a low success rate. 

“Once you start heading into the more commercial, competitive topics, you have no chance of ranking without backlinks,” says Sam Oh, the VP of marketing at Ahrefs. “Backlinks still matter, and they’ll still matter for the foreseeable future.”

Backlinks come from thought leadership, and thought leadership can be won by continually publishing high-quality, accurate content that serves your readers. 

“Basic information has already been answered, so add more depth to whatever questions you want to answer,” says Amiel. “Create your own imagery. Build your own community. Build a personal relationship with your clients. Understand your customer’s pain points well.”

Some of his other tips: Be succinct, offer actionable solutions, stay on topic, and never break your reader’s trust. 

4. Utilize AI Tools

It wouldn’t be an article published in 2023 without a mention of artificial intelligence. And AI is poised to change much of what we know about content and search. 

Of the 400 web analysts surveyed, more than half said their blog is incorporating AI tools into their workflow.

Brands that want to position their content for success in the coming year should get started now with understanding how AI tools and search could help their growth. 

Artificial intelligence can help with all stages of content creation, from coming up with article ideas based on your research-backed keywords to drafting the articles, writing headlines, and coming up with social media captions. 

How artificial intelligence will impact search remains to be seen, but 75% of web analysts believe AI search integration would have a positive impact on their blog. 

Some AI use cases Amiel suggests to startups:

  • Use generative AI tools such as ChatGPT to brainstorm blog topic ideas

  • Use tools like Swiftbrief to write first drafts of SEO content briefs before passing to a writer

  • Generate meta titles and meta descriptions

“Most AI tools are not mature enough to fully trust them to write content,” says Amiel. “You can experiment with different approaches to make some of your work easier, more efficient, and/or more creative.”

Whether generative AI or a journalist is cranking out your blog posts, one thing is clear: Content is an important aspect of growing a business. 

If you can meet your audience where they are while delivering relevant, trustworthy content, that’s a recipe for success. 

 

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Topics: SEO Startups

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