Yesterday I had a call with a start-up client whose SEO has been performing quite well. Since July, their organic traffic had grown by almost 700%, but growth had slowed most likely because of some site updates that screwed up their SEO (note to client – check with your SEO before you update the site). The issues got fixed and the traffic had started to grow again, but the team was getting itchy. The gist of the call was what was the next SEO thing they could do to juice traffic?

We talked about a variety of options but the discussion left me feeling a bit uneasy. So I sent the following note to the CEO. Now I am sending it to you:

[REDACTED].com reminds me of when I was at InsiderPages. We had an MVP that wasn’t exactly “V”. We did SEO and got millions of visitors quickly. Then we started chasing SEO instead of investing in the “P”.  A year later we had to sell the company.

I have watched several clients repeat this process over the years. It’s not fun.

I think you guys can spend some time on SEO to maintain it and grow it but I wouldn’t do it at the expense of the product. When I heard the [REDACTED] idea to me it sounded like an SEO idea we could shoehorn into the product v a cool product idea that we could SEO. Not knocking it per se – it might be a great product idea for all I know. You guys know your industry better than me.

I don’t want to be overly dramatic and I know you have traffic goals you want to hit but I think focusing on the “P” while maintaining the SEO is the right move. If you guys are not ready for PR or trying to actively get backlinks then take a break. Maybe you do nothing for a month or two and see what happens.

I am not saying start-ups, or any business for that matter, should not invest resources in SEO. More like:

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