Optimizing your startup splash page pre-launch and ensuring that your startup can get the rankings they need is critical. This article will serve as a resource for technical-only teams who do not have a great understanding of SEO.
For an introduction to basic SEO, refer to this previous article that was written for SloDive.
If you like this article, you might be interested in some of our older articles on How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog, Google Algorithm Panda, How To Choose Someone To Do Your SEO, and SEO – A Powerful Web Marketing Technique.
Why SEO Is Important Pre-Launch
SEO is important for a startup pre-launch for a few reasons:
1. Organic Traffic Means Less Investment In Paid Ads:
The first reason is the ability to generate leads for free (that aren‘t your friends or family). For those who are working with a small budget, this is important. Depending on the keywords you target, developers can get a significant amount of users to register on the site. This provides a great opportunity to get free feedback from these users and will help you validate your idea before too much is invested.
2. SEO In The Concept Phase, Not In The Scaling Phase:
Getting started on SEO early in the game will free up time later in the development process. All it takes is a few lines of code to write out a title tag, one paragraph of on page content and a few links from friends, family and other relevant blogs. Once the product takes off and traffic surges, there won‘t be much time for monitoring and improving search engine rankings. Check out Rand Fiskin‘s thoughts on this topic over at SEOmoz.
Good Startup SEO Practices
1. A Real Life Example:
A good example of a website that uses SEO at an early stage is, a social video website that has still not launched. They do not have much on page content but have slipped an important keyword (social video) in the body of the page.
They also have the keyword in the title tag and the meta description as well. A quick ranking scan shows they are on the 4th page for the keyword they are targeting. This is a low hanging fruit that can potentially lead to some traffic in the near future.
2. Begin A Startup Blog As Early As Your Idea
Another important element startups should focus on is an early launch of their blog. Many tech startups tend to shy away from this because they don‘t want to spoil the product punch with users. This is an important concern and no spoilers should be leaked on the blog pre-launch.
However, tailoring content to specific keywords will get your content ranking. If your splash page only has a sentence of content and doesn‘t change for a months, it‘s going to look bad in the eyes of the search engines and users. They should be returning to check out the new posts.
A blog, updated on a weekly basis, will add unique content to the site and will serve as a great tool for interlinking between the blog articles and the homepage.
Another important tool pre-launch websites should use is social media. Whether it is the company or the developers tweeting and sharing content on Twitter and Facebook, it should be done straight from the get go. This will help generate some traction and interest among your own circle and eventually the circles of your friend.
Especially now that tweets, likes and +1s are important in search, it is important that entrepreneurs use all tools at their disposal.
Bad Startup SEO Practices
Beware of signup plugins that don‘t allow customization. They provide you with a fancy design and a simple database, but if it can‘t get indexed or doesn‘t allow for unique content, don‘t implement it.
Another thing to be careful of is building splash pages using only Flash due to indexation problems search engines have. Although, Google and other search engines have made progress in indexing Flash based content it is still not ideal. Don‘t sacrifice good rankings, traffic and potential leads for fancy animations.
“Overall, the main thing to remember about SEO is it‘s a long term process and requires a large amount of signals to get your website to rank. Since the majority of verticals are extremely competitive, it is important that all aspects of a site are optimized for the best results” – according to an SEO agency in Birmingham