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Why start-ups need SEO now, more than ever

Authored by Kunal Shah, Director, Rank My Business

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed our lives in ways we could never have imagined. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that the world, as we have known it, will never be the same again. The economic disruption that it has brought about is also huge, and there is no business that isn’t impacted. From large corporations to your local baniya and everybody in between, all businesses are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. What is an even bigger concern is the uncertainty around how long this will last. While recovery is a given, but nobody can really say when it is going to happen.

For start-ups, this is an even more challenging ball game. As nascent businesses trying to establish a base and expand operations, it can be even more difficult to absorb the pandemic blow. This time also poses a slew of very unique challenges and augments some existing ones - like unavailability of funding, labour and resource management, restricted mobility due to social distancing measures, drop in consumer demands, difficulty in building supplier rapport and so on. If you manage a start-up, then this is not a time to sit quietly and wait by the sidelines. It is a time to stay future focussed, and what you can do in this moment so that you are better prepared for when things turn around.

With everyone turning to digital, it is obvious that digital marketing is where you need to focus your marketing investments on. Both paid and organic strategies can give you results. While paid can get in immediate traffic, working on bringing in more organic traffic is akin to a long-term investment. As a start-up or small business owner, you would likely not have had much time for building your brand. SEO is a very effective inbound marketing tool, and should be looked at as a long-term, brand building game.

Here are the top three reasons why start-ups should look to focus on SEO during this pandemic:

Best opportunity to gain search ground

Yes, there is a silver lining to this situation, if you look at it from a broader perspective. A lot of businesses, including large ones are discontinuing their overall marketing spends and pausing their SEO efforts out of panic and fear. And this should be looked at as an opportunity for your business to score. So while others slow down, you can use this time to slowly establish your digital foundation with good SEO practices. With sustained efforts, you will be able to get your business to rise the ranks in relevant search results, and can rest assured that you will reap the benefits of regular SEO work once things get better and the economic crises wears off.

Be seen as available

There have been massive shifts in consumer behaviour everywhere, with more people turning online to look for their everyday essentials as well as other products and services. With a lot of stores having closed their doors to customers, and with strict social distancing becoming the norm everywhere, people are looking for local businesses to meet their needs. As a start-up, you should definitely update your business profile on Google My Business, to increase your company’s visibility to potential local customers. It is one of the best ways to be seen by the people who are looking for what you offer.

Build long term brand awareness

Don’t let the current uncertainty put your brand in quarantine. SEO remains a time-tested branding tool, as it not only brings visibility, but also credibility to your business. Whether or not you deal in the supply of essential goods and services or not, there will be a time when people will likely need what you have to offer. And you want to ensure that you have built a solid foundation till that time arrives, with the help of great content marketing and SEO. It is rightly said that being out of sight is being out of mind, and with SEO, you can always be seen for what you want.

On a closing note, cutting back on your SEO efforts would be no less than dissolving a long-term investment prematurely. Just like paid digital marketing, SEO is an active space with lots of players vying for the same spots and rankings, and so, if you are not moving ahead or maintaining your turf during this time, you are actually moving behind and allowing competitors to get ahead. I am sure that as a start-up stakeholder, you wouldn’t want this. And this is why you should continue and even increase your SEO efforts now, more than ever.

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