Startup Mistakes: “Just launched my site, now I need SEO”

I have been in SEO and Internet Marketing for some time now and I can’t tell you how many sites I have worked with or seen that have come to me after launch and said “I need SEO now!” Heck, I was even victim to that when I was tasked with my first major web project. I worked on getting a site built, did all the research, but didn’t think about SEO or Internet Marketing until after the fact, and it really was much more painful that way.

The pain of launching a site and then worrying about Internet Marketing efforts is because of the affect on time, money, resources. Also, you take away from great opportunities that are out there for startups in the form of

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buzz. Building marketing strategies into your product is ever more critical in today’s internet marketplace. (I’ll stick to SEO on this post to keep

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a unified theme, but minor semantic tweeks would really speak to entire Internet Marketing strategies.) That said, understanding the mistakes that people like myself have made in regards to SEO will help you to learn and build strategies for obtaining search traffic when launching a new site.

Time is money: You’ve just built your site, you’ve launched, and now you want to start thinking about SEO. The problem is, all that up front work like site architecture is going to have to be re-done, which puts you behind and could effect your bottom line. Time truly is money and in this case, it is a direct correlation.

Engineering efforts and resources: Just as we mentioned in the last example, there are occasions where sites launch and the entire site now need to be re-architected to accomodate SEO. This basically means that you are stopping all your new product development and possibly monetization efforts in order to build in elemetns that should have been done from the get go.

The pre-launch and launch buzz!: YOU JUST LAUNCHED your site and generated buzz (crosses fingers, hopefully!) to your startup through mentions in sites like Mashable, Techcrunch, etc. Also, news in the form of publicity and press releases are also an opportunity at gaining momentum on your SEO efforts. If you had your hands on keyword research, created a theme around your site, and had a strategy for external links from all these “news” outlets, you could have turned leveraged some “Buzz Marketing” and turned it into SEO (more specifically Link) Juice.

When launching a site it is so easy to get caught up and not think through all the opportunity available to you with SEO. Don’t let that happen to your site and think through how you can build SEO and Internet Marketing into your site launch. Save yourself time, money, and effort and use the new product buzz to your advantage by helping you acquire traffic through SEO.



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  • http://www.jackleblond.com Jack Leblond

    Would you even think of building a house without a blueprint? Of course not, you might end up with a bunch of cool rooms full of awesome stuff but no hallways to get people in and around them.

    Sadly though, SEO is all-too-often an after though.

  • http://www.AceStartups.com Sebastien

    I’m still surprised people set up websites without considering SEO. This should be the first thing to think about. A lot of web designers should learn SEO so they can incorporate it straight into the site. Im shock some still code with inline styles and tables.

    Great advice, thanks Tony.

  • http://www.tonyadam.com/blog Tony Adam

    Sebastien, Thanks! I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time, because, i deal with it All-to-Often…glad you enjoyed it!

  • Shant

    Tony i need some SEO work done but cant pay top $$$ like some of your clients… Any ideas? Can we Barter for a watch or something? Great job by the way. Thanks.

  • Misty

    I see this so much it’s scary, especially in professional settings. They want a site that looks pretty and has all the bells and whistles (read: flash and music), and they honestly just don’t even know that the search engines won’t even be able to see the site. Sigh. I wish I was a web designer, or I wish all web designers partnered with an SEO. It costs so much less to do it right the first time. Unfortunately most small businesses see their website as a brochure rather than a marketing vehicle. I meet so many people that don’t even has stats loaded, because they don’t care how many people come to the site, just how many come into the office. I want to smack them on the head. Don’t even get me started on the plastic surgeon that created his own site, that was a fun meeting on Friday. Grrr.

  • http://www.tonyadam.com/blog Tony Adam

    Shant: Thanks for the comment man! I’m sure we could work something out, email me ‘tony at tonyadam dot com’ ;)

    Misty: (sigh) I feel your frustration! It’s so painful. I was once helping a site do some work and watching them continuously neglect the SEO side was so painful to me. Had to fire them ;)

  • http://www.ontheavenues.com Bonnie burns

    As an seo consultant, this is far to common if an issue. Many have spent 10s of thousands of dollarss on great flash sites only to learn from an seo much of it will do poorly for rankings and all the work needed to make it more we friendly. Others believe the hype that they read from those template made store sites which promise high rankings only to discover from an seo that the site is so deep in sub directories and no FTP offering that what can be done is minimual. Others, as stated design sites that just lack proper use of all things seo, from content keywords, gifs names with keywords, links madecproperly or over use of java scripts and heck, the list goes on and on.

    Problems are also that web masters suddenly feel threatened when their client receives an seo analysis which lists all issues the seo needs to address. Point is, we all want to help the site achieve best organic visibility through proper optimization, blogs, social networks etc. It is always a learning period for clients and should be seen as team work.

    Of course, sites developed prior to seo consideration is often times the seo bread and butter. The work may be more challenging, but of died get done

  • http://www.oprea.cn/2009/01/26/startup-mistakes-%e2%80%9cjust-launched-my-site-now-i-need-seo%e2%80%9d.html Startup Mistakes: “Just launched my site, now I need SEO” | 如何在网络上赚更多的钱

    [...] the original post:  Startup Mistakes: “Just launched my site, now I need SEO” cT=”0″;nc=”#444444″;nBgc=”#FFF7DE”;nBorder=”#F5E5A9″; [...]

  • http://highrankings.com/newsletter/ Jill Whalen

    I’ve been in the biz over 14 years now and can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten this call and had my heart sink. Such a shame. Such a waste.

  • http://www.tonyadam.com/blog Tony Adam

    Bonnie: It’s the worst when a site does things like build an entire site that isn’t Search Friendly. It happens to this day with small companies to large ones ;)

    Jill: I can count them, the sad thing is, I can’t count them with both hands :(

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/lucasng Lucas Ng

    Ooh. I like this topic, especially applied to enterprise-sized companies regularly churning out new websites.

    Anecdotally, I’d say 50% of new site launches ‘forget’ about SEO. A search marketer just isn’t involved in the product development process and as a result, zero SEO is done… until a month after site launch, traffic is still piddling (1% market share) and they get someone with a clue to review the site…

    Oops, no SEO! Hasty 10 minute meeting convened between product, development and search team, quick, throw in title tags and do some footer linking, we don’t have dev resources to do anything else*

    Get your search marketer involved from the beginning, during the initial briefing process. At that point the search marketer can tell product/dev whether or not they need to be involved in optimizing the product for search/accessibility/web analytical friendliness!

    *True story – one year later and lots of optimization, and that new site has grown to 2nd in the industry. Shame we had to do it the slow way…

  • http://www.wholesaletarp.net Akos Horvath

    Here is the problem you mighty SEO gurus. Nobody knows what we need until we are faced with the situation of not getting the visitors after the site is lunched. How would a guy in the hardware industry who decided to lunch on online store would know that? Nobody knows we need you up front. I found out my self too after I lunched my site : http://www.wholesaletarp.net that I needed SEO. I though I just put my great tarps on the web and “if you build it they will come. Well goggle did not care about my great tarps…You guys assume that we neglect to do something instead of figuring out why.
    Here is why: we don’t know what we need until it is obvious! Figure out how to get to us in the planning stage and than you guys are helpful. Until than you can moan and grown as much as you like but this is useless. SEO to me was not even a word untill a year a-go.

  • http://www.tonyadam.com/blog Tony Adam

    Akos, I can definitely understand and appreciate the comments. I had been in that situation as a developer myself getting a website up for a hardware sales and computer leasing company. The reason being as, I didn’t know SEO existed.

    I think the problem that a lot of us face is that we talk to start-ups and they know they need to drive traffic, and, even though we tell them they need to do SEO or Social Media, they say they will focus on that after the site launches. I know I’ve advised multiple companies not to take that approach, but they always do. :(

  • Scotter

    I work for a Fortune 500 company and I can’t tell you how much I beg my company to worry about SEO DURING development, not panic after.

    I always lose.

  • http://www.realicity.com James Svoboda @ Realicity.com in Minnesota

    I love the post. I have not encountered one of these types of potential clients in a while, but I am sure that after reading I am due for one any day now.

    Cheers,

    James

  • http://compucast.com Shawn Plep

    Unfortunately this is an issue developers only recently started to realize (last couple years maybe) and while I code a site with SEO “built-in” from the beginning, it’s a habit that most designers and developers don’t have. So if I work on a previously-created site, I sometimes find that it’s going to need to be re-coded or gradually re-worked. It can be frustrating. It would be great if the average designer knew a thing or two about “findability”, web standards, and SEO. But they often don’t. So it’s up to us SEOs (who often are jacks-of-all-trades) to educate. Articles like this are helping.

  • http://www.rumblepup.com rumblepup

    I have to echo something that Akos said, which will just remain shocking to the SEO crowd. As much as we know that SEO is important, and as much as we discuss it in our community, the rest of the world doesn’t know what we know about SEO, nor do they know what it is..
    Do you know how many tech companies I’ve worked with, IT guys par excellence, who can build a computer network from paper clips and gum, yet don’t know the first thing about “how to get on the search engines?” You’d be suprised.
    The vast majority of businesses, those that are not in the e-commerce field, haven’t the vaguest clue.
    How do you know you need a doctor if nothing hurts?
    One of the problems I see with our industry, is that more often than not, we treat these highly intelligent people as “tards” when they come calling. Not saying that this article promotes that, but without your intent, some of the crowd reading this will forget that we are an extreme minority in the internet world.

  • http://www.newshoemedia.com/ newshoemedia

    So true.

    It’s unfortunate that there is such a major failure among CEOs and marketers to realize that websites are promotional. In consequence, their website lacks the critical research and evaluation that any other marketing/advertising campaign would receive.

    Get it right the first time, folks – from the ground up.

  • http://www.smartz.com/ Stanton

    Great blog post about websites that fail to consider SEO in its architecture. If you think about SEO after your website is constructed; it’s going to cost you later with site redesign to be maximallly effective. A great CMS that considers SEO architecture in its web site design is Pixelsilk. Pixelsilk is being launched at SMX West in Santa Clara, CA on February 9th. For more information, please visit http://www.pixelsilk.com/.

  • http://www.olmblog.com/?p=5553 Online Marketing Blog » Blog Archive » Friday Recap

    [...] week about the subject, which she calls “forensic SEO“. That’s a catchy name! Tony Adam also warmed up his blog after a few months away by tackling the topic. Words of wisdom, my friends, [...]

  • http://www.marketleveragetv.com MLDina

    Very important! A lot of new web publishers put up a site without doing any SEO research, or even knowing it exists. It can great help (or hurt) your bottom line, so definitely take the time, or ask for help with your efforts! I love the idea of designers partnering with SEO experts. Maybe that’s an opportunity for a new job matching service.

  • http://www.networkology.com Dean Gerrish

    More good posts like this please!

  • http://searchengineland.com/maximizing-go-to-market-strategies-for-seo-39184 Maximizing Go-To-Market Strategies For SEO

    [...] makes it very important to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck and not make startup seo mistakes that many others make, including fortune 500 [...]

  • http://qjgk.com/blog/go-to-maximized-market-use-seo/ Strategy market use SEO | qjgk.com

    [...] makes it very important to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck and not make startup seo mistakes that many others make, including fortune 500 [...]

  • http://www.siteforcare.com John Patrick

    there is a big disconnection between the designers, backend developers when it comes to planning a any sort of a website. Fancy flash outlook will never attract the crawlers. I have found SEO friendly urls, a good sitemap to be big catch to search engines. I have implemented so this on http://www.siteforcare.com.