Some time ago I had applied to work with a number of startups.
I found a bunch that I liked and sent in my ‘expression of interest’ along with my CV.
Only a few had active roles so I was essentially sending my emails hoping they’d be interested enough to create a role.
Not surprisingly, the response rate was abysmal. As in, only 1 company replied.
And it was terse too.
I knew not to expect much so it wasn’t like I had my hopes seriously dashed.
But this one email hit me right in the feels.
I was told that an SEO or Digital Marketing person would be of no value to their team, or any startup for that matter.
Why? because (in their view), it wasn’t going to get them to launch/profitability faster.
It wasn’t going to increase their runway.
Or decrease their likelihood of failure.
It simply wasn’t going to bring anything substantial to the table.
And that hurt a little because I’ve spent more than a decade LITERALLY bringing value to every project I worked on.
In one case, someone was about to go bankrupt and the most basic SEO implementations helped prevent that.
The handful of clients they picked up as a result of my SEO work, really made all the difference.
It set the pace for the journey ahead and helped this business owner think more positively and proactively.
I’m no saint.
But when I have results like this, how can anyone say that SEO can’t help a startup?
This is the sort of thinking that reinforces the message in my earlier blog post ‘your startup is already dead‘.
Putting aside personal sentiments, it’s not uncommon to read about the lack of value being placed on SEO by startups.
I know that as an industry, us SEO folks need to work on education.
I believe we’re not always framing SEO in a way that always makes sense to people.
I’ve seen lots of “SEO for Startups” content that I would consider overkill and can almost guarantee would fly over the heads of most people.
And because so much of SEO is invisible, a lot of people simply don’t think that SEO is needed.
They think a few tweets, a presence on Instagram and maybe some FB ads is all you need to do (if that!).
And it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your startup needs SEO.
It doesn’t even need someone in the office.
You just need to pull the trigger, let the SEO do their job and give your startup the best chance of success.
It’s all part of the mix though, right? SEO isn’t the magic solution to everything but when done right and done early, it sets you up with everything you need to succeed.
Forget about hurting my feelings when you say SEO is useless.
Just think about how much you’ll hurt your startup when you don’t invest in SEO.
That’s worth 10x more than anything you’d ever pay for startup SEO.