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One suggestion: I'd put SEO in the pre-launch box. There are significant portions of calendar time involved in SEO, so might as well start the site marinating in the Google juice while you go do other things.

Additionally, there are many, many things you can do for SEO which don't require your product to exist. You don't have to have a solution available to show to be able to, e.g., blog about the problem domain, create resources which solve problems for the people you hope will eventually give you money, start pushing the emotional buttons of folks in the niche, etc.

AdWords, on the other hand, you can put off until you have reason to suspect that you'll be able to do it profitably. (If you can't make money with a customer acquisition cost of zero from organic search, it is unlikely you will be able to make money on AdWords.)

I agree, with the exception that you should never view organic traffic as free. Even if you didn't spend any money on SEO directly(e.g. buying links) SEO can be very time consuming, and you should always consider the opportunity cost of time spent on SEO versus other traffic sources.

I pay my outsourced employees who do SEO for me by the hour, so maybe I feel the financial pinch of a large scale SEO campaign more than others, but any time spent on SEO by anyone in your startup is money.

This is a good point. I was trying to talk about unit economics: a customer from organic SEO is free at the margin, and if you're not able to monetize them profitably with a marginal cost of 0 then it is strikingly unlikely you will be able to buy them on AdWords and make up the loss on volume.

That's generally true, but in some cases, particularly in certain niches, that argument breaks down.

In the past several years I've staked significant money(6 figures) on my ability to predict traffic quality(how well a traffic source converts) and you may find that the people who click on ads(sometimes before clicking on any search results) convert much better than SEO traffic. I've seen 50-150% difference in conversion rate between targeted free and paid traffic several times.

This is why many companies bid on their name in their SEM campaigns, even though they obviously easily rank first for it organically.

This isn't necessarily always true, but it's something to think about.

great point. updated post and linked to this comment. Gracias amigo.

I would definitely agree with this plan of action. I am intending on launching my bootstrapped startup in around 4-6 months time, with that in mind I started my seo campaign with longtail keyword landing pages just last week.

Are there any best practices for linking up a blog to your site for SEO purposes?

Do you have any marinating recipe tips?

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