There is no silver bullet when it comes to SEO and I have a feeling that, with the Facebook’s new Graph Search, the SEO world is about to be flipped upside down. My office is located at thinkspace in the coworking section which gives me the opportunity to speak with many different start up entrepreneurs. I find joy when I see their eyes light up after talking to me about SEO strategy. But, the ideas that they have are always, “I can do that! I don’t need to hire someone!” It’s true, there is no secret to SEO and there is no magic wand.
If you ask me, the secret to success is the development of the SEO strategy early in the development of your start up. Odds are that your main competitors are already funded and have processes already identified The fact is simple, the larger the company, the harder it is to change. The online marketing world is changing rapidly. If you build a strong SEO foundation, you will prosper for years to come.
Find an SEO Adviser
I’d like to fill this spot for you. But if not me, find someone else who’s qualified. Buy this person lunch once every month and present your marketing plan, your content plan, and your website plan to them. Ask for their input and advice. Just the other day I made a recommendation to a start up game company on how to rework his web directory. The simple task of allowing some of the user-generated content to display in a directory-like architecture changed his development plan. The bad part…. his website was already developed and he was getting ready to launch. This should have been identified in the early planning stages. The recommendation took me all of one minute to identify and recommend. My advice for a start up entrepreneur? Find an SEO Adviser and buy them lunch once a month or once a quarter. We SEO guys like to eat too!
Find an SEO Adviser That Fits Your Business Model
Want to compete with Expedia? Find an SEO adviser that knows the travel business. What to compete with Microsoft? Find an SEO adviser with experience in enterprise software. Every vertical has its unique INs and OUTs. Find an adviser that fits your business model.
Know When To Hire An SEO Consultant
Not all SEO campaigns require monthly fees. In fact, most of the SEO work that a start up needs can be executed in projects. Educate yourself so you know how to identify what SEO projects you need. A respectable SEO guy will run you $50 – $75 per hour, a killer SEO guy will run you $75 – $200 per hour. The difference is in the research, planning, and type of work executed. One SEO guy might spend 5 hours doing keyword research. But another SEO guy may include a keyword trend analysis, a comparison of keyword search volume between countries, an competitor analysis per keyword, and they might deliver it in a branded PDF versus a Word document.
Here are some SEO projects and suggested hours that you may need to contract for in the early stages.
Keyword Research: Budget 5 – 15 hours for a keyword research report and documentation. Make sure the deliverable has keywords segmented into groups. I always ask for search volume in the USA in both exact and broad match. Also, I ask to list the cost per click of each keyword so I can identify the suggested value of the keyword. Be sure to include a basic aggressiveness factor, this will show you what keywords are easy to obtain, and what keywords are hard to obtain.
Website sitemap creation: Depending on the size of your website, budget another 5 – 10 hours for this. It’s hard to rank for a keyword if you do not have the proper web page on your site to target it. Some keywords can be targeted on your service pages, your location pages, or your blog post pages. Others may need more advanced thought to create content for. Make sure you have a plan to target the keywords that you deem valuable.
In future posts, I’ll make additional recommendations for SEO projects for start-up entrepreneurs. Also, in the near future, you will be able to contact me through thinkspaces’s office hours program to seek free advice regarding SEO strategy….no lunch bribe needed for that.