The #1 reason most startups fail is because they can’t find a reliable way to get customers cheaply.
Marketing is not a skill you can pick up overnight from a Youtube video. The best marketers learn by doing over many many years.
We want you to win. We also don’t want you to waste your time. Ideally you get 95% of the learnings in 6% of the time. That’s why we wrote this blog post. Edgar and I have distilled our 5 years of learnings on Growth for startups into a single place for you.
By the end of this, you will understand step by step:
- If SEO is right for you
- How Internet’s most successful companies are content juggernauts
- How to build a scalable SEO strategy for yourself
- What content to write
- How to run SEO experiments and determine if it’s worth doubling down
This will become your SEO handbook as you 10x your company over the next year (Just remember us okay!).
By the way, we recently did a webinar on this here if you like to watch videos instead.
Is SEO worth it?
monday.com gets 1.1M organic traffic JUST from Google every month.
Their base plan is $15 USD/month and customers stay on average for 6 months.
If we assume a max of 1% of people convert on a blog post:
0.01 * 1.1M = 11K
~11K people convert!
11K 15/mo 6 = $990K/mo
monday.com potentially gets (estimated) $990K/mo worth of new business every month. That’s absolutely INSANE!
And guess what? There’s no repeated cost to this. Once the content is written, you update it once a while 🤯
So, what do you think? Is it worth it? 😄
If yes, continue on and we’ll show you how to get a piece of this ginormous SEO pie.
Is SEO right for you?
Before starting, think to yourself:
- Have you made at least $2K revenue from your product?
- SEO takes time to start up so if you are below $2K you should be looking at other channels first.
- Does my customer turn to Google to find the solution to their problem as their first step?
- Is there a clearly defined query they might type in?
- Do you have some unique insights, information, expertise to share on the topic that someone will find value in?
- Do you have a clear product to sell?
- Can the customer convert and use your product in a self-serve way today?
If your answer is no to any of these, I would invite you to try and find a different growth strategy to bring in new customers - cold outreach, social media posts etc. are all good candidates.
Now that you’re ready, here’s the mindset I want you to move forward with:
- Always be “customer-first”: Write what your customer would be delighted to read, not what Google expects of you. If you write what people want to read, Google will eventually catch up.
- Don’t expect big results right away: It takes time to build authority around a subject for Google to start sending you relevant traffic. I promise though, this speeds up as the time goes on.
- Be prepared to put in the work: This is not a magic pill. You will have to put in the time to brainstorm, plan, write (repeat) to keep the content wheel moving. No, you cannot use ChatGPT to just publish articles automatically and call it a day.
- Be able to write: Writing is a key component of SEO. You don't have to be the next Shakespeare, but you do need to be able to write clearly and effectively. If you struggle with writing, consider hiring a copywriter to help you out.
- Approach SEO like a product: Once you have a working model, look ways to automate, scale, just like you would a product.
- Be willing to learn and adapt: SEO will evolve and what works today might not work tomorrow. Adapt as needed.
SEO is an exponential customer acquisition channel for startups
- Cheap customer acquisition cost: Once you write content and it ranks, that’s it. You don’t need to spend more money.
- Exponential growth: If your n+1th ranks well, it will lift your entire domain and the n previous posts.
- Good content is a legitimate MOAT
- Repurpose written content into many formats: Written content can be reformatted to be social media posts, scripts for your Youtube channel, extra material for your sales call, and more.
Structure your domain for success
Since you’re running a SaaS startup, you definitely a dynamic web app that your users use. Dynamic web apps do not get indexed by search engines.
This is because they want to see the same URL showing the same content every time so that they can understand what the page is talking about.
A dynamic web app, by its very nature, is dynamic - no bueno.
This is how your domain should look:
- app.mywebsite.com = Your dynamic web app
- mywebsite.com = Static Landing page
- mywebsite.com/blog = Static blog posts
Use the right tech stack
- App site: React, Bubble, Next.js
- Marketing site: Framer, Webflow, Next.js
- Blog: Next.js, Engyne, Webflow CMS, Framer
- Analytics: Plausible, Fathom
- Performance: Google Search Console, Ahrefs/SEMRush
Think in terms of topics, and not just keywords.
Let’s get into the meat of how to create a content pipeline that never dries out.
Writing good SEO starts with picking good topics to write about. Here’s my proven framework to planning content for a product:
- Gather ideas from the Internet
- Publish your first 20 posts
- Measure what’s working and what’s not
- Double down using SEO tools
We’re going against the grain here so bear with me. I want you to forget everything you’ve heard/read about keyword research, backlinking etc., for a little bit and focus on only writing base level, helpful content that’s hyper related to your niche.
Start by creating a page full of content ideas. Here’s 5 ways to do so.
Here’s 5 ways to come up with content ideas
1. Go old school pen & paper
We are going to start from your customer. Take a piece of paper and brainstorm:
- What are the common problems your customers run into?
- What do they want to achieve?
- What kind of tools they use?
- What kind of people do they follow?
2. Use Google
- Search on Google the kind of query you want to rank for
- Note down all the query autocomplete
- Look at all the “People Also Ask”
3. Use Answer The Public
The fine folks at Answer the Public have intelligently scraped all the common questions people ask about a particular topic. Use it to quickly gather a list of potential topics to write about.
4. Live on Reddit
People regularly use social platforms like Reddit and Twitter to talk about their problems, issues with their current workflow, best practices. It’s a goldmine of content ideas if you’re looking in the right places.
For example: If you’re selling a CRM product, this search results page could be synthesized into these posts:
- Why you should have CRM for your sales pipeline?
- Organize your life: The ultimate guide setting up a Personal CRM
- How to create a CRM in Google Sheets (+ Template)
- How to build a simple CRM using Power Apps (+ best practices)
- 6 Steps to Streamline Your Content Creation Process with a Content Creator CRM
Pro Tip: Use subredditstats.com to find the top posts for a given Subreddit quickly
5. Look at your competitor’s blogs
This is an easy but powerful one. Take a look at your competitor’s blogs and see what they are writing about. Use that to inform your first few posts.
Stuffing keywords into every corner of the page would be the wrong way to go about writing a good blog post.
Remember that the ultimate litmus test of if your post is good or not is people find it helpful.
Google knows how to measure this: they see when a searcher looks at your page, scrolls for a bit, presses back, and goes to the second link. This is considered a negative signal, meaning it didn’t the searcher enough information to satisfy their query.
In other words, don’t try to cheat the big G.
Once you have a topic to write about, it’s time to do the dirty work.
1. Understand Search Intent
Search Intent is understanding what kind of information the user is looking for when they do the search. For example - “best sales crm” could either be somebody looking to find an information page with a list of the best Sales CRM tools that are out there or a pricing page for a good Sales CRM tool.
Easiest way to determine which one of the two it is is to Google it, and see what Google deems worthy.
In the case of “Best CRM Sales”, it should be a listicle that compares the top Sales CRM tools in the market.
2. Write an Outline
Next, gather an outline of headings, subheadings, and bullet points on what you want the post to cover. To come up with a good content outline, once again look through the top results and see where you can expand more or come up with a unique perspective. Also use the “People Also Ask” section and add it into your post as a subheading.
3. Write the Post
Here’s comes the hard part - write. Whether you expand your outline by hand or use an AI tool like Engyne, Jasper, or ChatGPT, you have to write a good post - something that actually gives a decent answer to what the searcher is looking for.
4. Add Meta Tags
Make sure to add the meta tags - Title, Description, Image to your post. Use this tool to verify that everything looks good.
- Title should be between 30-60 chars long
- Description should be less than 160 chars long
Since your domain is new, Google won’t kick in for a few months. You have to kickstart the distribution yourself. Over time, this will drive itself. To effectively distribute:
- Pick 1 platform where your target audience lives: Linkedin, X or Reddit
- Aim for 0 click content. Provide 90% of the value upfront. Invite people to click the link for the rest of 10%.
The right and wrong way to share your post on X## Measuring Conversions
Now that you’ve published some content, let’s set up some Analytics. We will set up:
- Google Search Console
Set up Plausible
First thing we need is page view analytics - how many people are coming onto the website and what pages are the reading the most?
Google Analytics is crap - it gets blocked by ALL adblockers so you don’t get the entire picture and it’s insanely difficult to get any insights out it. Install Plausible on your domain instead. I’ve been using it more than 2 years now and I absolutely LOVE it. Look at how simple the report is.
- Sign up at plausible.io
- Follow the instructions to add the tracking pixel to your site
Set up Google Search Console
Google Search Console is the source of truth about how many people are coming to your site and what they are typing in the search bar to get there. This data is the holy grail of SEO.
Configure Google Search Console
- Sign up here
- Add your website
This next part is important - just let it sit for 30 days and then come check.