In my last post, I talked about how most founders succeeding with SEO first got started with another acquisition channel. There were a group of founders, however, that started with SEO right away and were successful. What did they have in common? Let's consider a few examples.
Jef is the founder of Repost Network ($1.2MM/mo). A "repost" on SoundCloud is like a retweet on Twitter. The whole "repost" word is also closely associated with the SoundCloud community. Jeff bet on this fact, so much so, that he added the "repost" word in his company name. His reason? SEO:
I thought if I named the company Repost and dominated the SEO on that specific search we could get some free inbound traffic. My assumption worked. I believe if you search "SoundCloud repost" in Google we're one of the top hits, and something like 25% of our inbound applicants come organically.
Lesson: Focusing on SEO from the get go may make sense when a word or a phrase is very closely associated with your market (like with Repost Network).
Another reason to consider starting with SEO right away is when people are searching for the type of software you're providing. Consider Kapwing, a very popular meme making tool, and the way they got their first 10 customers:
Organic discovery on Google was definitely our most powerful acquisition channel, and all ten of our first customers found us after searching for "meme maker" or the like.
"Meme maker" has ~267k monthly searches on Google.
But my analysis showed that search volume doesn't matter. Intent does. Take Tettra's ($70K/mo) example. They provide internal knowledge base for teams on Slack and other platforms, and got a lot of their initial users by ranking on "Slack wiki"::
We were also lucky enough to jump on the "Slack Wiki" keyword pretty early on an ranked in the top few slots from the get go. There wasn't much competition for that term at the time, and we've been able to maintain the top non-branded Google result for that. All we did was put the term "Slack Wiki" in our website title tags and headers, and that was good enough to rank for a new term.
"Slack wiki" has ~1253 monthly searches. "Soundcloud repost" is around 564. "Meme maker" has a lot more, but what's common among all 3 is that people were very intentional about what they're looking for. They were looking for a meme maker/Slack wiki/SoundCloud reposts. They weren't looking for "memes"/"Slack apps"/"SoundCloud marketing". Instead, their search intent was to look for a specific product/product feature/service that does the job.
If you find such a keyword in your market, it might be a good idea to focus on SEO right from the start, regardless of the search volume that keyword has.
Hope you found this useful. Talk to you next week!