SEO is one of the MOST reliable marketing channels!
We scaled our startups to 1.5M visits/month, and it continues to drive our revenue. But to crack SEO, you first need the RIGHT MINDSET.
Over 5 years, I’ve accumulated 11 key learnings that will help you build this mindset.
1. SEO takes time to show results. So, be patient
It takes at least 3-6 months to buildd a decent domain authority and the same amount of time to see your first blog ranking in top 10. So, keep that timeline in mind when expecting results.
But, you can monitor intermediate progress by tracking how many keywords or pages rank in top 100, top 50 & so on.
2. Start working on SEO from day 1
This helps in 2 ways:
- When you start early, you naturally get results early.
- More importantly, SEO becomes a part of your product from the start.
So, it’s not just your blog that’s aligned with SEO, but it’s your website as a whole.
3. Set realistic expectations. Don’t worry about getting millions of visitors
A few thousand monthly visitors, with a fraction converting to paying customers is more than enough.
So, don’t get disheartened when you’ve 5K or 10K organic traffic. It’s still sizeable, and if you can convert some of it into customers consistently, you’re already successful.
4. Focus on conversions
SEO is not just about getting website traffic. Getting people to land on your website via Google is the first step. Once you’ve visitors, you’ve to motivate people to stay on the page and also drive them towards other parts of your website.
As a rule of thumb, all pages on your website must have at least one CTA (call to action).
You typically have these choices:
- Sell your product right away
- Link to case study like sections & then sell
- Give a freebie, buildd an email list & then sell
It helps to look at your competitors, for ideas around what type of CTAs to use, the copy, design, placement etc.
5. Plan your SEO strategy from the start. Writing content or building links randomly will take you nowhere
A good SEO strategy will have these parts:
- Clear end goals
- List of initiatives that align with each goal
- Timeline for each initiative
- System to track progress
6. Set goals and work towards them. SEO is a long-term game and requires you to put efforts over a long period.
Every SEO task you take up should be part of a large initiative, and every initiative should align with an end goal.
- Your end goal can be 100 paying customers/month via SEO
- For that, you take up the initiative to buildd your blog from scratch and,
- The individual tasks under this initiative will be periodic keyword research, X quality articles/week etc.
7. Track your performance regularly against your goals.
Ideally, you should have 2 sets of metrics.
- # of articles/week
- # of keywords/topics in pipeline
- # of pages in top 10
- total SEO traffic
- % of pages that rank in top 10
Your metrics need not be fixed, and can change as you move towards your goal.
For instance, you’d initially want to closely monitor # of pages in top 100, but later move to just tracking pages in top 10 or top 3.
8. SEO is NOT free marketing. You still need to put in time, effort & money.
SEO needs sizeable upfront investment of your time & money. But, if you look at the value you get, the costs are negligible. Especially since you need minimal effort to sustain SEO traffic.
Now, for a channel like paid ads, you constantly need to pump in money to sustain traffic.
If you compare SEO with paid ads, you’ll realise that your overall SEO investment is almost zero.
9. Don’t outsource your SEO work right away.
First, understand the basics, execute yourself & then delegate/outsource individual parts. Outsourcing in SEO works best only when you know exactly what you want. And you’ll know that, only when you’ve done it yourself.
For instance, you’ll understand what kind of writing, article length, depth of research etc. works for you, only after you’ve written a few articles yourself. It’s then easier to outsource specific parts and know exactly what output to expect.
10. SEO tools are expensive. But treat it like your marketing investment
When we first worked on SEO in 2019, we used free tools since paid ones seemed expensive. Only after months of writing efforts & seeing no results, did we realise that we had inaccurate data.
So, while good SEO tools may seem expensive upfront, see it as an investment for the future value you get out of it. Also, if you look at the amount of time & money you’ll put into writing & dev for SEO, the costs of these tools will seem negligible.
11. SEO traffic is forever (almost) but requires you to regularly audit & update things
Unlike paid ads, SEO traffic can stay with you forever with minimal effort.
But, you should have a system or engine that helps you regularly audit your existing/ranking content.