SEO and startups – What are the problems?

Victor Alencar

In Marketing Online Posted

For most startups, the main problem in acquiring traffic begins already at the launch of the site. Why is that? Because they forget that, in the long run, the paid acquisition is not sustained.

Here’s the standard behavior of startups or digital services when they launch the site:

1 – Set up a single page with all the information and a contact or registration form;
2 – Build the site using a framework decided based on experience and allocate 100% of the team to focus on product development;
3 – Hire a marketing professional and then make him release the work.

This professional then hires a marketing automation tool to address the lack of information and landing pages. Thus, he begins to develop media campaigns, performance, lead nutrition and conversion, in a process better known as inbound marketing.

Then, in the monthly meetings, startups discover that CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) is too high and decide that it is time to develop the SEO work. And what do you do, then? Someone in the organization has the idea of raising the blog, setting it up in a subdomain, and starting content production work. After a few months, they confirm that the results are not enough and hire a professional or an SEO agency.

At this time, the professional or agency says that doing only the blog is not enough, and the whole domain should be included in an SEO project — from pages on product/service presentation to differentials and other things. Then begins the process to restructure everything that has been done so far for SEO to work.

Because the SEO project is a work of several hands, the professional or agency will need the help of the site development team to make changes and adjustments to the site structure. A common scenario happens when technical tasks are overlooked by the development team because there are other more important tasks to perform. With this, one can only continue working with the blog.

In a few months, the founder decides that he or she needs to switch the professional or agency because the SEO is not working. This cycle repeats itself for a few more months or years until the company decides to carry out the SEO project correctly or gives up and assumes that the CAC will stay high and eliminates SEO as an acquisition channel, affirming that the SEO does not work.

Which SEO professional has never been through this working in a startup? This scenario was quite common in recent years, especially when getting an investment was not a problem and CAC was not considered an important indicator for these organizations.

Now, with these “in short supply” times, CAC is essential for a startup to work while maintaining a balanced expense. But after all, why has SEO never been considered important from the start for the startup?

Here, at Gear SEO, we have had several projects with this scenario, and changing this dynamic is extremely difficult and depends much more on the organization than on us, agencies. However, once we are able to evolve with this impasse, the project in general tends to be successful. We are quoting a startup as an example, but this situation can be perfectly applied also in e-commerce.

What is the ideal scenario, then? In general, the organic acquisition channel (SEO) is what converts the most, if well-worked. With venture capital, accelerators and angel investors are increasingly concerned about where to put the money, the ideal would be that the organization that receives investment already had SEO in its culture. It would be even better if those investors already had the ability to identify and assign a criterion with the work of SEO in deciding whether or not to invest in a company.

Our experience over the years working with startups and growing companies that already incorporate SEO into the company’s culture proves that they can keep the cost of acquiring new customers at a more acceptable level compared to organizations that neglect or do not have SEO in the culture.


Venture capital or organizations that will invest in these companies should also include an indicator of how inclined the startup will be to develop SEO work by hiring a professional or an agency to do this survey.

We are talking about millions of reais in investments that make indispensable to include this extremely important criterion for the business. I repeat: SEO is not just setting up a blog in a subdomain and start producing content. It is a culture that needs to be adopted from the beginning of the business.


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