Common SEO Mistakes of Startups (and How to Fix Them)

February 15, 2023
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Launching a startup is no walk in the park. It is risky to build a business from the ground up, and it is even more challenging to keep it afloat. Many startup owners are risk-takers, which is good—if they weren’t, they probably wouldn’t get anything off the ground! However, this risk-taking behavior can sometimes lead to significant (and costly) mistakes. Keep reading for three of the most common SEO mistakes startup owners make and our quick solutions for each.

Mistake #1: Shortcuts in Content Strategy

Many startups make this mistake, and understandably so. Startups have to work with slim budgets, and they need to be profitable as soon as possible to recoup their investments. While there is some value in taking risks—especially in entrepreneurship—implementing too many shortcuts in the planning phase can cause you to make bad decisions. For example, if you want to climb the rankings, you might buy low-quality links and content, plug that into your CMS, and call it a day. While this could work for a while, it will not bring your website genuine traffic. It will even lead to Google penalizing you for using black hat techniques!

Solution: Map the User’s Content Experience

As a business owner, your most important goal should be to serve the customer. When you put the customer first, you wouldn’t need to take shortcuts to ensure profitability—when you build a good product, people will pay for it. Similarly, when you build a website with a good content experience, people will follow your CTA. Mapping out content experience means stepping beyond producing quality content. It is not enough to create thought-provoking articles—you must consider the journey a website visitor takes when they click on your link.

User experience, or UX, accounts for most of what people perceive about your online brand. The font style you use, the white space on your page, and where your links lead them all matter. If you have good content but a poorly designed page, visitors will give up on your article. Many people still rely on first impressions, and users’ content experience creates good branding.

Mistake #2: Ignoring Strategy Altogether

Having great rankings is not your primary goal; SEO is a means to the end. Your target is to get your target audience to act—sign up for a trial period, schedule a consultation, or whatever the next step is in your customer journey. If you don’t have a strategy—if you post content sporadically, on whatever topic catches your fancy—it will be challenging for you to get people to act. What will you do after they’ve opted in and clicked on your link?

Solution: Conduct Keyword Analysis

Your content strategy needs to combine your SEO with your sales process. The content strategy should include your content creation and distribution process, lead generation, and marketing, among others. None of these would be effective without keyword research. Turn your product or services into keywords you can incorporate into your posts and ads.

Make sure you target buyers’ keywords together with informational ones and target long-tail, low-volume keywords instead of high-volume ones. Though more people are searching for the latter, the former represents a portion of your audience that is further down the sales funnel.

Mistake #3: Neglecting Branding

Branding affects how people will receive your business. When you pay attention to branding, you create a solid digital presence. If SEO brings traffic to your website, your branding is what gets people to stay. People choose to buy from brands that speak to them. If they don’t like the brand or the brand shows nothing special, they won’t buy from you. Well-written and optimized articles are not enough to clinch the sale. You need to have the right branding in your posts and website copy.

Solution: Have a Content Audit

You can fine-tune your branding through a content audit. Having an audit is a quick and relatively inexpensive way of finding opportunities to leverage. Running a content audit also helps you find weaknesses in your messaging or inconsistencies in design, copy, and UX. You will know whether you need to upgrade your design, rewrite or delete content, or implement another change through an audit. An SEO company can help you audit your content if you don’t know where to start.

Startups and Topical Authority

Keep in mind that SEO is for the long term. You won’t see results in a few short weeks—any agency promising you that is being disingenuous. However, you can make things move along more smoothly by establishing your authority in your niche. You want to be the go-to in your niche for matters related to your products and services, ensuring steady traffic to your website and engagement with your social pages. 

Authority comes with time—the more topics you cover on your blog, the more people will see you as a source of valuable information. Credibility and reputation are vital to startups, so building topical authority should be one of your priorities.


Startups often work on lean budgets and want to scale up as quickly as possible. To build a lasting company, though, you would need to spend time strategizing on marketing. People’s perception of your brand, products, and offerings are vital. No matter how good your product is, if no one knows it exists or has the wrong impression of it, you won’t get the sales you wish you would. Establishing a content strategy will help you drive traffic to your website and show people why they should be excited about your brand.

Clarify your content strategy when you team up with Ranked. We provide managed SEO solutions for more than 2,000 businesses, helping both enterprise and agency partners grow their business and establish a solid digital presence. Get in touch with us or activate your account today!