Startups know that a key component of success is getting noticed. And when it comes to getting noticed, it is more important than ever for new businesses to be competitive in the world of SEO. High rankings on search engines for key phrases display higher stability and credibility to investors and clients alike. Neglecting that vital component of your marketing and branding efforts can cause your growth aspirations to stagnate.
There are two main approaches most startups take in the beginning of their SEO campaigns: self-direction or partnership with a third party. Even if you choose to offload the work for your SEO campaign, you still need to understand how the process works and the metrics for success to have a better grasp of your online performance. Here are five must-read SEO books for startups to use to gain confidence in their online brand credibility efforts and gauge their progress.
- Law Firm SEO by Jason Hennessey
- Hands On With Google Data Studio: A Data Citizen’s Survival Guide by Lee Hurst
- Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing by Andy Crestodina
- Product-Led SEO by Eli Schwartz
- SEO Blueprint by Ryan Stewart, David Krevitt, et al.
1. Law Firm SEO by Jason Hennessey
This book is jam-packed with valuable information necessary for any startup, not just law firms. In this day and age, it’s not enough to have a great product or service; you also have to get the word out online.
With Law Firm SEO, Hennessey Digital dives into how search engine algorithms work and how to reverse-engineer them, he also gives you the tools to accurately gauge the quality of services offered by potential digital marketing firms you would like to engage with.
You can go into a sales call with a marketing firm with the confidence you’ll be able to correctly judge whether or not they know what they’re doing and can give you a high return on investment. You will also know what reports and analytics to request and how to read them to ensure you’re getting the results you paid for.
2. Hands On With Google Data Studio: A Data Citizen’s Survival Guide by Lee Hurst
This selection is more on the technical side than the other items listed, but it’s hard to find a better resource when it comes to really understanding how analytics work within Google Data Studio. This is especially important if your startup hires an online marketing firm to drive up your SEO numbers.
If you don’t understand analytics or how they affect your online presence, the reports and follow-up discussions with your marketing firm representatives will not be nearly as useful. Not only that, you are vulnerable to being misled in terms of the quality of service and end results you are receiving. It is much more difficult for bad actors to befuddle you with numbers and analytical word salad if you don’t have a strong grasp of what SEO measurements mean and what ranges are considered to be standard or substandard.
3. Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing by Andy Crestodina
Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing takes a comprehensive approach to content marketing and the interaction and impact between SEO, social media, and email marketing. Rather than just a primer on how SEO works, Orbit Media lays out how startups can get a better grasp of how to use SEO in rounding out their overall marketing strategy and in which areas it will provide the greatest benefit.
A benefit to this book is that between the writing style and the supporting visuals, it is easier to consume and process than other books presented as just pages and pages of overly technical language. This is a great introduction to SEO for startups that need to consume the basics in a more streamlined way before diving into more technical discussions.
All in all, this is a must-read for startups and entrepreneurs who want actionable and practical information to gain confidence in both their own SEO efforts and interacting with marketing partners.
4. Product-Led SEO by Eli Schwartz
Product-Led SEO takes a refreshing approach toward SEO by combining aspects of technical savvy and creatively focusing your SEO efforts toward your targeted audience and how you can anticipate their online search actions and make it easier for them to find you.
So instead of getting hung up on data related to overall traffic increases, your startup can have better results by having the goal of driving a certain group of people to your website who are more likely to buy or invest. It’s a different approach to SEO that targets a smaller, more desirable subset rather than firing in all directions without a real plan.
Another benefit is that it breaks down examples of real-world scenarios businesses might face and how to approach and adjust their SEO efforts accordingly. These specific cases can help get your mind out of the generalities of SEO and into the zone of how SEO can influence your startup and your game plan for exact situations that could arise.
5. SEO Blueprint by Ryan Stewart, David Krevitt, et al.
For raw, impactful emphasis on increasing online traffic, SEO Blueprint is where you should look. This book dives into why certain sites always end up on page 1 of search engine pages and things your startup can do that will and won’t work. Period.
From what search words to target to how to design your website, this book is focused on not wasting your valuable time and giving both comprehensive lists of common mistakes to avoid and templates for your usage. It tells you which aspects of content will get you closer to your SEO goals and which ones can have less emphasis placed on them for practicality reasons.
If you run a startup, you know that time is one of your most valuable assets. Not wasting weeks on SEO tasks that ultimately yield disappointing results is well worth the time invested in reading this book.
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