Ever wondered when is the best time to implement SEO strategies? Is it before or after the launch of a product? Well, you're not alone. This topic has sparked endless debates among founders, SEO specialists, and marketers.
While choosing the right point in time to start investing into SEO for your product is dependant on many factors, you should start about when your product starts showing signs of product-market-fit.
The timing of SEO implementation can significantly impact the visibility and performance of your product online. There are two main schools of thought on this matter. Some argue that it's best to start SEO before the launch, while others believe it's more effective to start SEO after the product launch.
This article aims to provide an insightful discussion on the topic, shedding light on the best SEO strategies for each the time frame before and after the launch. There won't be any actionable steps in this guide, but instead I'll give you an overview of what to do at which point in time and point you into the right direction to learn how exactly to execute these SEO tasks.
Why does timing matter?
SEO timing can be a delicate balancing act. Invest too much too early, and you risk wasting resources. Start too late, and you miss out on potential traffic gains. The key is understanding when and how to implement your SEO strategies.
Imagine pouring your heart, soul, and resources into SEO for a product, only to find out that it's not what the market wants. It's like preparing a grand feast for guests who never show up. Wasted efforts, wasted resources.
SEO is an investment, but like any investment, it carries certain risks if not managed properly. A common pitfall is investing too much too early, especially in a product that hasn't been validated yet.
On the other side of the spectrum, imagine launching a shiny new product, only to realize that no one can find it online. That's the risk you take when you neglect SEO until after your product launch.
Ultimately, the most effective SEO timing strategy is not only to select the best point in time to start SEO, but balance what you do before and after launch. It involves a carefully thought out mix of pre-launch preparation and post-launch adjustment.
Let's explore when to start doing what in your product-creation-lifecycle so to speak in the following sections.
Tasks you can work on before launch
SEO can serve as a way of testing out and building an approach for distribution that you can use after launch. It also helps you learn more about your target audience even if that specific product for them doesn't work out.
Early investments into SEO means setting the foundation for success early on. It ensures that your website starts off on the right foot, gaining domain authority from the get-go. It's like planting a seed and nurturing it from day one.
However, it's not all roses. Making investments before product-market-fit can waste your resources for a product that might eventually fail to get traction. It requires effort and attention. This is why you should definitely start before a big launch, but not before you did enough validation.
Let's look at specific tasks you can do before you've launched your product:
Setting up a blog
The word blog carries this weird connotation for many people. A person that writes about several aspects of their life or taveling, for example. That's not the kind of blog I'm talking about.
The blog you need and should aim for is a platform for you to publish articles about topics your ideal customer profile is interested in. With proper research, you can write articles that help your ICP solve their problems in closely related areas of your product, making your blog a perfect magnet for the right audience. An example would be this very blog post and blog you are on.
Now, you might be wondering, why is this beneficial? Well, having a distribution in place before the product release means you're already steps ahead. We all want to have a crowd waiting outside the door even before opening the store, right?
Setting up a blog effectively involves regular publications with fresh content. This not only keeps your audience engaged but also signals search engines about your active online presence. You might realize now, why you shouldn't over-invest into SEO too early, it definitely is quite an effort (even though you can use tools like Rank-Hub to save 90% of your time).
Looking for an in-depth articles on how to setup a blog, do the research and write the articles in the right way to make them rank? If you're serious about SEO and generating targeted traffic in any way, you need to read "How to Do SEO as a Founder: An Actionable Guide to Getting Traffic".
Getting traffic is not only useful in order to have traffic once you do launch, there is something you can do with that traffic even without a live product:
Setting up an early-access waitlist
Setting up an early-access waitlist is a tool to build anticipation and capture that initial traffic from your blog. It's an opportunity to get email addresses from potential customers that are interested. That can serve as validation to a degree as well.
I recommend even to send survey to them, asking about their problems and current tooling they use.
Setting up an early-access waitlist is not rocket science. It's about putting in the extra work upfront. This could be through a simple sign-up form on your blog or a dedicated landing page. The key is to make it as easy as possible for people to join your waitlist.
Personally, I love using BirdSend (I am a customer for 5 years now), it's a very affordable way to capture and confirm email addresses to then send them broadcast emails or setup drip sequences. I haven't published a detailed guide yet, but I am planning to do so very soon. Interested? Get notified whenever I have something interesting to share with you:
SEO After Launch
After you've launched your product, you'll need change some aspects of what you do with the SEO traffic but not necessarily with the way you get traffic.
The obvious point being that you don't need an early-access waitlist anymore, but instead you can link to your product from your blog directly. Let's look into how to further improve your SEO after you've launched your product, besides keep publishing new content:
Stepping into the world of SEO, one of the most popular strategy to consider post-launch is link building. Why is it so important? The answer lies in how search engines perceive your website.
Of course you could start link-building before you've launched, but it's definitely more difficult to get them before you have something "real" that people can try and use.
Now, how do you get these high-quality links? There are several effective strategies. Here's a list of strategies you can google to learn more about:
- guest blogging
- broken link building
- publishing link-worthy content
- cold outreach to pages linking to your competitors
While link-building is powerful, there are many successful sites that didn't invest into link-building. Writing good content can sometimes be enough to rank and then get backlinks in return.
Build a funnel
Building a well-designed funnel is like crafting an advanced waiting list for post-launch. The main objective? Transform your blog's traffic into a pool of potential customers. Sounds tricky? It's easier than you think.
Let's break it down. Your funnel starts with your blog post as a traffic magnet. This is where you draw in your audience, pique their interest, and give them a reason to want more by writing high-quality articles. It's more than just churning out content - it's about creating value that your readers won't want to miss out on.
Next, you want to guide these readers to your email course or email list. An email course is basically a sequence of automated emails (drip sequence) in which you teach people something valuable for free over several days. This way you can build trust and provide even more value. Remember, people are more likely to buy from brands they trust. So, make the most of this opportunity.
You can also let people sign up to a kind of "newsletter", just don't frame it that way. Instead, tell them what they are going to get out of entering their email, like I did in the early-access waitlist section above.
In your drip sequence, after you've sent a few genuinely interesting and valuable emails already, you can explain how they should also take a look at <your-product> so that they can <your-value-proposition>.
By now, your readers have seen the value you offer, they trust your brand and they're ready to become customers. The product signup is where you make that happen.
Building a funnel is about making the most of the resources you have, turning your blog traffic into a gold mine of potential customers. So, don't rush it. Take your time and craft a high-converting drip sequence that people actually want to sign up to. I'm going to publish guides on this soon as well, so here's the signup again if that sounds useful to you:
Monitoring and Analyzing Website Performance
A common mistake for a blog is to just fire-and-forget publish blog posts one after the other without measuring any results. That's where google search console comes into play.
I advise you to immediately sign up for google search console, a tool by Google itself that allows you to monitor and analyze the performance of your landing page as well as blog.
It's different from analytics software in two ways:
- It only sees the traffic that comes to your page via Google (due to it not being based on data you capture, but based on Google's data)
- For that specific traffic source, it provides much higher details on what the people searched for, which page of your blog came up at which position in Google etc.
Even though at the beginning it might look a bit empty, you should check periodically at least every 3 months because the search console can be a real treasure trove.
Wrapping up, timing your SEO efforts is a critical factor when creating a product. Initiating too early or too late can lead to wasted resources or missed opportunities. It's essential to validate your product first before investing significant time and money into SEO.
After you've got traces of product-market-fit, you can start with publishing posts on your blog and capture emails with an early-access waitlist. After you officially launched your product to the public, you can create drip sequences to build trust with your ICP and build links to strengthen your result page position.