Why Startups Need Search Engine Optimisation as Early as Possible

MEST, Monday October 22nd 2018

This post was contributed by Shepherd Yaw Morttey, a Ghanaian entrepreneur-in-training at MEST. An established tech blogger and SEO expert, he has helped businesses in Accra maximise local SEO to improve reach, engagement, and conversion. He is passionate about content and organised the first ever WordPress Meetup in Accra.

I am a blogger, and high-quality web traffic matters to me. After investing time into keyword research and analysing my blog’s existing search acquisition data, I was able to successfully increase website traffic by more than 50% within a space of just two months.

Using the learnings from my earlier Search Engine Optimisation endeavours, I decided to rely solely on SEO for traffic. As someone who has been marketing my blog via SEO, I believe in its ability to reach and convert customers easily.

However, startups have a lot to deal with, and if SEO is not a core marketing technique, they tend not to be too interested in it.

It’s very understandable, though - startups are working hard to build a product that their customers will love, all while bootstrapping and generating capital as well as analysing competitors and thinking of how to acquire new clients. In the startup world, if it does not bring benefits to a metric that relates directly to traction, then it doesn’t make sense. Sadly, most startups wrongly place SEO in the category of things that don’t make sense at the moment and can therefore wait.

What is SEO and why should startups be interested at all?

SEO in simple terms is about putting in place processes that enable your web page/website to become visible in search engines, leading to actual visits and organic traffic.

This involves making sure you write original content on your blog and format that content with the right metadata, while keeping it in tune with the latest trends in search. From a designer point of view, SEO involves providing valuable content to users. You can get a more simplified and detailed explanation here.

For businesses, particularly startups, SEO is beneficial for numerous reasons.

1. People are searching for you; let them know you exist

Firstly, one thing that every startup needs is a presence and brand awareness, and the most cost-effective way to do it is through SEO. Every startup has a website. Every day, about 3.5 billion searches are made, and these include people looking for you or a product or service you are offering.

Optimising your website for SEO will help the people looking for you find you easily. Visibility in search breeds trust.

2. You will be building a solid online reputation

Most big companies nowadays hire the services of SEO experts to help them rank high on Google and other search engines. For a startup, you have the chance to start early and build an online presence that gets stronger by the day.

Every startup aims to scale up, and scaling up comes with a lot of competition as well. Your competitors may launch negative SEO or bad reviews against you when you scale up. However, when you start your SEO early and create valuable content for your customers in the process, you are assured of “ruling” the Search Engine Results Page with positive content and the reviews that matter.

3. SEO is cost-effective and can help generate solid leads

A lot of free tools and tutorials are available to help anyone who wants to learn and practice SEO. SEO does take a lot of time, but this time leads to long-term benefits.

For example, this year, I have acquired close to 500,000 new users via SEO. Here are some of the free tactics and tools I used in my SEO journey:

What’s interesting is that I have not actively been working on that blog’s SEO since the end of February this year.

This demonstrates the long-term benefits of SEO - something every startup must embrace.

When it comes to lead generation, SEO is just right. Rather than marketing to people who might not be interested in your products or services, SEO brings your products and services to people who are searching for them and will most likely be willing to pay.

SEO provides you with better value than most online marketing channels, and for startups, it is a life saver.


Starting a new company is not as easy, as it comes with unending daily challenges. However, adopting an SEO strategy early would help save your startup money and time as well as complement public relations efforts.