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Why is SEO so important to the success of start-ups?

We explain, give you a refresher on SEO and then 5 great reasons.

As a start-up you're probably dealing with a lot of competition when it comes to establishing yourself online. As a likely wearer of many hats and with boots that are often strapped, sometimes it's easier to adopt "operation: long-grass" for things like SEO... let's take a minute and think about that.

At Seeded Digital, we advocate the importance of a solid search engine optimisation strategy to boost and support your direct-to-consumer (D2C) online commerce plans. But we also realise that a bootstrap budget has to go a long way and do a lot of different things - so equally, being pragmatic and realistic with what you should do and when is also something we hold front and centre.

Why is SEO important for start-up success?

Having a strong online presence is important for any brand. It’s your hub, your platform, your place to shine and shout about how awesome you and your products are.

Your customers expect to find you online and want to browse a website that doesn’t require a degree in maze-solving to unravel where your web shop is, where they can find out important information about you and your business, how to contact you and how to make a purchase.

You can be a small, local business, or a national brand scaling-up. These days, your digital presence really does define you. It helps you create brand awareness and increases your reach to potential customers. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, SEO was vitally important to businesses as a key component of becoming searchable on Google and driving sales through organic (free!) sales channels rather than relying only on (expensive) Google Ads or Facebook advertising to drive traffic.

Now, more than ever, businesses are moving online or rapidly evolving their digital web shops. The marketplace has gone from busy to Istanbul-Grand-Bazaar-busy. You need to think beyond having an over reliance on paid social and paid search advertising. These channels are important as part of the mix but as we have seen with 'social' the rules of engagement can suddenly change and not necessarily for the better.

Remind me again.. what is SEO?

SEO is the process of optimising your website for search engines (for the UK, that means prioritising Google) to make sure your content and products are found by users searching for related search terms. It affects the visibility of your website or web page in the search engine results page (SERP) which is the list of organic search results underneath the paid-for ad spots.

The goal of SEO is simple: make it easy for people to find and interact with your brand and product, without you having to pay for direct inbound leads.

Google uses its proprietary algorithms (computer programs) to determine what pages to list and rank for a given search query. SEO is a strategy and set of techniques that un-pick what the algorithms are after and thus enable your website to rank higher for relevant key terms and capture existing search intent that will turn into sales.

Unlike paid advertising, it's a slower process with a latent payoff - but you keep what you've built. Stop spending on ads and poof they're gone. Investment in SEO at the start of your businesses journey will help you build digital real estate for your company that will yield larger traffic and revenue numbers further down the road. Get the foundations right and let it build over time so it's there when you need it... like when a pandemic hits, retail disappears over night and everyone is doing all their shopping online.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t understand or don’t realise the importance of SEO as part of their broader digital marketing strategy. Or that it needs attention early to build up to something significant by the time other avenues of growth are levelling-out. Instead, what we often see is DIY SEO without direction or proper research and analysis, which then doesn't render results and, in the end, SEO is chucked on the compost heap - labelled (unfairly) as a, "waste of time".

It isn’t.

We understand that Start-ups generally operate on lean budgets, but that doesn’t mean you should take shortcuts with your approach to SEO and organic search. Google is one of the best ways for customers to find new products or services, meaning SEO is key part of your customers' journeys. You can learn more about this by checking out our article D2C SEO for Decision Makers.

We hope you're enjoying our take on why start-ups need to consider and engage with SEO. If you'd like to find out more about working with Seeded Digital and getting the basics right, please feel free to get in touch via our contact form at the bottom of this page or email us via

5 good reasons start-ups should consider SEO

If you're still not convinced and you like your content in list format...

  1. SEO helps you better target and reach your audience

    One of the main reasons why SEO is so important for startups is that it helps you reach your target audience. After all, there’s no point in having a website if nobody is going to see it.

    And while there are many different ways to generate traffic, SEO is one of the most effective and sustainable methods. By optimising your site for search engines, you’ll make it easier for people who are looking for what you have to offer to find you.

  2. SEO gives you a competitive edge

    As a start-up, you're late to the party. That's a fact of life... you're probably here to do things better and add a little disruption, which is awesome. But how do you close the gap? SEO is very much the channel for you. Your big competitors are probably in lots of different niches (niches that you don't care about) and for them trying to be top of them all is a huge ask - even for the biggest budgets. You have your niche and your website represents that. With the right content (and one or two other things in your corner) you can outperform a much larger, more powerful website by showing Google you're the expert in your specific area. Exploit that.

  3. SEO is cost-effective

    One of the great things about SEO is that it’s a very cost-effective marketing strategy. It is significantly cheaper than pumping cash constantly into Paid Advertising spots. And while it does take some time and effort to optimise your site up-front, it’s generally a much less expensive process than other marketing initiatives in the mid to long-term.

  4. SEO helps build your credibility and reputation

    In order for people to buy from you, they need to trust and believe in your brand. And one of the best ways to build trust is by appearing in search engine results.

    When people see your site ranking highly on Google or Bing, they’ll automatically assume that you’re a credible and trustworthy business - accredited/rewarded by the search engine with the high ranking. This can go a long way in converting searchers into visitors into customers.

  5. SEO (done right) will lead to more sales and profits

    Your goal is to generate more sales and revenue. And SEO can definitely help you achieve this goal. By driving more traffic to your site, you’ll have a better chance of converting visitors into paying customers. Plus, as we mentioned before, SEO offers long-term results; once you've built your website up to the point of achieving high rankings and revenue generating traffic, you then have a gift that'll keep on giving. SEO spend at that point becomes a question of "maintenance" and the organic channel has become your most cost efficient source of revenue.

So in conclusion...

Pay attention to the basics, get the right data-backed strategy for organic search early on. Spend doesn't need to be crazy straight out of the blocks, but having that plan and knowing how and when to invest will ensure you don't miss the boat or create problems for yourself down the road.

Your future self will thank you :)

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​About Seeded Digital

We're a small and fiercely independent search marketing agency with our own unique way of doing things. We enjoy working with like minded start-ups, scale-ups and SME’s who prioritise getting things implemented and getting results. We're based in London and service clients UK-wide.