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How to Begin Your Organic Traffic Journey: Keyword Research for Startups and 1Ups

Originally posted on

When and how can you begin your organic traffic journey?

If there is one thing that I would like you to take away from this post, it’s:

The sooner the better.

The sooner you start something, the sooner you will see results and that doesn’t differ with organic traffic.

In the case of any startup initiative, when the managers ask me approximately when they should start working on organic traffic, I always ask two questions:

1. Do you know who your target audience is?

If the startup doesn’t have a clear definition of who their target audience is, it usually means they have no idea what they are talking about and their product isn’t ready yet. Usually I answer with “ please call me back when you get this sorted out.” You can’t start anything if you don’t know who you are selling to.

Usually 10% say “no” to this question, and to those I bid them farewell and tell them to come back when they know what their product does and for whom.

2. Do you know what keyword research is and have you already done it?

30% Say “yes” to the first question and “no” to the second, which is normal. I either suggest we do the keyword research, or I send them some articles to help them out. (coming soon, one of my own).

The 60% that have done both are the ones that can officially start their organic traffic journey!

Keyword Research

The type of hi-tech company you are dictates the keyword research you need to use. We can split these companies into two groups. There are the startups, and also what I like to call the 1UPs. Both are equally beautiful in their own way, but they need different approaches when it comes to keyword research.

The Startups, the REAL startups usually don’t have search volume for the actual terms that explain their product. For example: 10 years ago nobody would search for “3D printing” because it didn’t exist.

The 1UPs are companies that take an idea that already exists and believe they can either do it as well or be better. Meaning there is already a lot of potential search engine traffic that they can work with.

Keyword Research for Start Ups:

So what keywords can you use? This is where you need to be creative as heck and start educating your audience that your product exists. Since you know who your audience is, now it’s time to get their attention.

Fair warning, I use a 3D printing example a lot to explain.

My dog chewed up a part of a remote control car. So I googled “Where can I buy an RC BAJA 5B car part model Id number: 7770?” Now if the 3D printing company had a blog post focused on that long tail keyword about creating your own parts, I probably would have read the blog and learned about 3D printing. More importantly, I reached their site and they can lead me in from there.

True, this is very specific and unless you are a robot that can write articles all day long you probably won’t write that exact article. But this story helps startups that don’t know where to start. The realization that you can reach someone even if they don’t know what you are isn’t an organic traffic obstacle anymore.

Keyword Research for 1UP Companies:

In this case, you need to find out what keywords your competitors are working on. This is where I use SEMrush. What’s great about SEMrush is that you can see where your competitors are ranked and start attacking those keywords. It has shortened my keyword research by hours!

What about long tail keywords? For those, I use Google auto suggest, Google Keyword Planner, ubersuggest and a really neat site that Matthew Garby (Head of SEO at Hubspot) personally showed me: Answer the Public – try to ignore the freaky old guy! This is a long tail gem!

So, there you go!

  1. Start thinking organic as soon as you have an idea who your audience is

  2. Whether you are a startup or a 1Uper, use the strategies above to see what keywords you should be working on.

Do you have any other tips or advice for getting started with organic search traffic? Please let us me know about it in the comments.


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