95% of startups don’t understand SEO

The Company Warehouse work with hundreds of new startups businesses each week. We provide newly registered businesses with a range of guides and information on topics including accounts, tax, branding and marketing. One of the most popular topics is our guides on ‘How to Get On Google’. This is something most startups know they should do, but few know how to go about it in any depth.

The Company Warehouse’s recent study, BamGoogled: Digital skills among newly registered businesses, sought to look at what startups know about getting their business online. The new businesses that The Company Warehouse speaks to are typically either in the process of performing a company formation or have registered a business within the last 48 hours. Our study looked at what these businesses know as they enter the startup process.

 

Knowledge of the SEO as a Service

One thing we know from our own customers is that as soon as a new businesses puts a website up they will start to get emails and phone calls from SEO companies. Often they will get half a dozen approaches a day, with many promising number 1 positions on Google or listing problems with the customer’s website. While there are doubtless some legitimate companies among those approaching startups our experience is that the lists of problems sent out to customers tend to be the same for every single site and in most cases the issues don’t exist.

Google specifically warn businesses wanting to hire an SEO company to steer clear of those guaranteeing number 1 positions. However, to a new entrepreneur starting their very first business and with no experience of dealing with online marketing these approaches can look credible.

Startups SEO knowledge and budget

It is not surprising that newly registered businesses can find these approaches attractive when less than 10% of them understand what SEO companies actually do. It is therefore easy to see why they can find promises of number one positions on Google enticing.

Knowledge of SEO Generally

While the vast majority of new businesses were unfamiliar with SEO as a service we were also interested to understand their general level of knowledge about Google and how they rank websites.

Startups knowlege Google Ranking Factors

The most commonly understood aspect of how Google ranks websites was keywords. There was a general understanding from startups that Google matches websites to the words that people search for. When asked if they could name any other ranking factors beyond keywords less than 5% could do so (we used the Moz list of ranking factors to measure against).

As well as asking about ranking factors generally we specifically asked about content and the role that it can play in website performance. We wanted to explore this area in particular as content quality is something Google have been focussing on in the last couple of years. We also know from our own experience of building websites for startup businesses that content is something they often struggle with. When asked what type of content Google likes then than 5% mentioned any of the points outlined in Google’s guidance on what quality content looks like.

BamGoogled

BamGoogled Definition

These findings support our idea that most new businesses are BamGoogled. The vast majority of startup businesses simply don’t have the knowledge to make their business successful online. While there is a lot that can be done to educate startups the reality is that many will not have the time or inclination to fully get to grips with Digital Marketing. We should, though, be able to educate startups to the point where they can do some basic work themselves or at least make smart and informed buying decisions when outsourcing SEO and Digital Marketing work.

New businesses can access the free SEO resources provided by The Company Warehouse, and discuss their SEO needs with one of our consultants free of charge by registering on our website.

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