Advice for Agencies On How to Help Startups With Their SEO

So you are sitting in your office, daydreaming about the beauty of keywords and internal links as an SEO expert surely does, and two young professionals come walking in.

Why are they there? They need help with their digital marketing and raising their rankings on search engines. This has led to them coming through your office doors and seeking your help.

How do startups and SEO experts work together? Read on to find out.

Why do startups hire out?

Many businesses, especially smaller startups, are limited in size and already pressed with many responsibilities. So when an already busy startup realizes that SEO is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing process, they may start to panic. They may not have the time or budget for an internal SEO team. Instead, they turn to an SEO agency or freelancer.

Teach a man to fish.

With limited financial resources, many startups will want to do a mix of DIY SEO and getting help from an expert.

Don’t fight this by trying to convince them to let you handle everything, because they simply can’t afford it. Instead, offer training. You know the old saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Before throwing them out in the water, give them a basic overview of how SEO works. A good resource to send them to is BoostU.

What to teach.

The golden rule of one domain: Clients need to understand not to separate content on separate sites. They can, of course, post things on social media or team up and post content on other sites. But, they should always have a link to the original content on the one domain. Teach them to eliminate duplicate pages or pages with very little content on it. Even if these pages have great keywords on them, Google will rank a company lower based on those pages. This is true even if their other pages have great content.

The importance of good content: Good content brings people to a site, and keeps them there. Help them come up with a plan for how often they’ll need to get new content out. Regarding blogs–give examples for effective headlines and how to write for a specific audience.

Use of keywords: You may take care of the research side of looking at competitors’ keywords. But, teach how to take one keyword and also use related keywords. Teach how to implement keywords within URLs, titles, headlines and within actual content.

When there is no time to fish…

While startups may be able to learn certain SEO skills themselves, logistically it will make more sense for them to let you do it. There will be things that you can do easier with your years of experience and greater resources.

For example, while startups may create content, you can take over analyzing their content and provide feedback. That involves using Google Analytics and looking at bounce rate, page visit time and ROI.

You can also help with link building. With a background in SEO, you know that links need to come from the right places. One good backlink is worth more than thousands of low-quality backlinks. You know these links. Check any links they might attempt to use in content and provide good links for them to incorporate.

Another job for you is problem-solving. You can take care of any glitches in their online presence. This will include fixing broken links and eliminating errors on their website or with local-based marketing.

What else should an SEO provider do?

  • Send frequent updates on what exactly you are doing, usually once a month. Discuss big changes before doing them, such as changes to a website. This will maintain trust.
  • Keep a detailed record of changes in case anything goes wrong. You will need to know why something went wrong in order to know how to fix it. It will also avoid any blank stares when your client is asking “why” something with their SEO is happening.
  • Don’t make guarantees you can’t keep. No empty promises about of helping them to reach their goals overnight. Don’t promise that you can make them listed #1 on Google because you don’t know that for sure.


Startups and SEO experts can work together to help turn an idea into a successful business. This list of what the startup can do and what the agency can do was of course not comprehensive. In the end, who-manages-what will come down to communication. Discuss the different aspects of SEO and come up with specific strategies for their specific industry. Then, divide roles and conquer.

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