Answer by William Gets:

Trying to beat incumbents on SEO and PPC is hard and expensive but not impossible – your promotional efforts still get through.

On-site SEO is fairly quick to do once you have done your keyword research. The off-site/SEM part is long and you simply need to keep it up and see where your efforts are succeeding and then focus on that.

The issue with inbound marketing is that you are not there when the person arrives at your website. So you need to look long and hard into landing page tactics. There are so many stories of “I tried Adwords, it did not work” but where it usually goes wrong is that people create adverts in Adwords and then leave the rest to chance. You need to make sure that:

  1. proper keyword research is done (and keep in mind that no matter how expensive or involved your chosen keyword research tool is, it only gives you an idea).
  2. you create the Adwords adverts with plenty of testing options – THIS is where you get your true reflection – which keywords are actually working and which are actually converting. Adwords therefore, for me, is a true market research tool as well as an advertising platform.
  3. your landing page is well researched and again, test various versions. And that your landing page perfectly matches your adverts; Google Adwords Quality Score makes a big difference to the adverts being seen.
  4. your offering is a competition beater.
  5. you offer other options too like “not buying now? Join mailing list for great offers etc.”

You can do the same with Facebook advertising. Even though your big-gun competitors may be advertising, your adverts still get through. Again, your landing page is critical for someone coming from Facebook. Adwords is “searching for it now to buy or researching with conviction to buy soon” while Facebook advertising is “How about this? Have you thought of this? Considering your job/interests, this would suit you really well”.

Most people waste time and money on advertising because they are hoping it is a quick route to market. But every step has to be carefully planned and worked out and tested and while it not the market-leveller that it used to be, it can still work if done correctly.

My advice is bring in an agency in the beginning, (or you can use a more economical freelancer at first), and learn the ropes and then continue on by yourself. You can be frank with the PPC expert and say this is your plan.

John Barth is right as well, if the budget is very low, then focus on niche advertising, like in industry related directories. You can tag the links with Google URL Builder to measure adverts in Google Analytics.

For SEO, do the on-site SEO because Google must index your site properly. Then create great content that people will want to like. comment on and share. Then get involved online with your market via communities like Google+ Communities, Linkedin Groups, directories and Q&A services such as this. This is a long road but as you go, you will enjoy a wider and wider “Internet footprint” and establish your dynamic-ness and authority.

Once thing is for sure, you do need to promote or you will never be found. So work the internet and then work the traditional sales channels as well.

If you are in the UK, I can recommend a great, low priced company, that helps business from the ground up to build sales.

Do SEO keywords and AdWords matter for a start-up’s website?

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