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SEOmoz, one of the best resources for general advice and expert opinions on all things SEO, featured an enraged article yesterday regarding the low priority that startups are advised to put on SEO in relation to their other advertising ventures. Rand, SEOmoz’s esteemed CEO, focused not on the idea that startups are ignoring SEO–although, for all intents and purposes, many do–but that they are being advise by so-called and often self-proclaimed “startup experts” that this behavior is right and justified.

Three things compelled me about this article:

  1. The colloquial and comedic way in which it was written,
  2. The conversation it sparked in the comments below,
  3. The fact that Rand is completely right; everyone should be engaging in SEO, most of all startups.

Here is an excerpt from the article that I found particularly engaging:

Let’s imagine you’ve just dreamed up some brilliant new web startup company that’s going to change the world and fill this great unfulfilled need. Now, if only there were some way to figure out if other people were interested in solving the same problem. If only we had access to some sort of a repository of human queries that would tell us how popular and worthwhile our idea might be… Gee, that would be great…

For f***’s sake, people – get a clue.

Rand is, of course, talking about Google. When put into language like this, it sure makes a compelling case to engage the search engines, doesn’t it? Google, boiled down to its most basic function, is the world’s biggest forum for getting X to people who are trying to get X. If you’re looking for X, Google doesn’t give you Y or Z, it gives you X. If you are a vendor of X, you should probably be interested in a forum that does the qualification for you.

I can only imagine that the experts that Rand describes in his article–the ones continue to dole out SEO-free startup advice–were either lucky to have succeeded sans SEO in the first place or succeeded before SEO in its current form existed. Either way, an ignorance of SEO may be a decent enough excuse to ignore it on an individual level, but to advise others against a medium that could be so potentially helpful is just unscrupulous, especially when considering that even great startups need all the help they can get.


4 thoughts on “Startups Need SEO too, Right?
  1. Agriya says:

    Yes, I agree with you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely. Startups need SEO and they need a place to get it. The problem is professional SEO services are often times too expensive for small businesses.

  3. Merlin says:

    Sometimes google gives you A through L instead of X, though. Speaking of Start Ups engaging in SEO, look at the Sarah Marshall movie – they set up blogs and began doing link building MONTHS before any of their cryptic billboard “I hate Sarah Marshall” ads came out and then what happens? People are interested and they Google or Yahoo or what have you and are led to X, because SEO made sure A through W and Y and Z too were not as relevant as X.

  4. Scott says:

    I don’t necessarily believe startups need SEO per se, but rather an SEO education as it relates to their overall business and market entry. SEO is long term, very focused initiative that in my opinion should be at minimum game planned in the beginning but not necessarily unleashed until more market data has been collected. With PPC I can have visitors interacting with my website, products, copy, ads, etc in a matter of hours with not just a handful of keywords but thousands. This goes a long way in understanding my market, their needs, what keywords perform, which don’t, click behavior, and so on. From here I could devise a more accurate and profitable SEO plan.

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