Whitehat SEO risks to take and risks to avoid

SEO for Start-ups: Risks to Take and Risks to Avoid

The online world has become too powerful and pervasive to ignore. There are over 67,000 searches performed on Google on a single day! More than 93% of purchase experiences begin on search engines.

If you are with a start-up already struggling with cash flow, you stand to make or break your business based on gaining and maintaining a sound position on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Think of it this way: 56.1% of the global population has access to the internet. It is highly likely that a significant share of your target audience will be online.

You can efficiently market your product to them through your digital marketing strategy and search engine ranking.

SEO is crucial for building an online presence. After all, it allows you to get the top spots on the SERPs.

And we all know that only a few visitors go past the first page of search results. The higher your search engine rank is, the more credible your start-up will seem.

SEO is a standard process, although the specific tactics used can vary. Some methods are riskier than others.

There are certain risks you should take and others which you should avoid. Let’s review some of both types of risks, those worth taking and those to avoid.

Three Risks Worth Taking

Here are some risks you might want to take with your SEO strategy.

  1. Altering your Website Design

It is often said that you shouldn’t change your optimized website design a lot. Why?

This is because it might mess up your current ranking. A web redesign gone badly can end up confusing the search engine bots that rank websites, as well as put off visitors.

Does this mean that no alteration to web design is welcome?

What if you have a great idea and wish to implement it?

As risky as it is to change your website design, it is a risk worth taking if you think that the idea can give you a boost in ranking, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction.

For instance, let’s say you have an online leather jacket store. So far, you have been using a standard template.

But now, you are tired of the monotony and wish to rebrand your website to better reflect your brand persona. You want to make your site “fun” and “hip”. If you genuinely think such changes will resonate with your visitors, don’t be afraid to take the risk.

After all, what is the worst that could happen? The website won’t turn out as you want it to? That’s okay! You can always revert to your original design.

  1. Building Links

Link building comes with a cost. And many start-ups don’t see the benefit of investing in it.

Why? Because link building might not deliver quick results. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t opt for it.

Link building is totally worth it. But, make sure to go for quality and high authority links, rather than a high quantity of links from any domain who will allow it.

By linking to your content from trustworthy websites, you will build the credibility of your domain as well.

If you think your backlinking efforts are not paying off at all, it is time to look at analytics and link to those parts of your content that are most sought after by customers. Link building is far from futile if you do it the right way.

  1. Changing the URL Structure

As a start-up, you might be afraid of using a long URL structure. After all, you wish to build awareness about your brand and drive repeat visits.

Apart from using a professional logo design that serves the purpose of brand recall, the ease of recall of your URL is also crucial.

This doesn’t translate to ignoring your URL structure altogether. While you should opt for a shorter domain name, which should ideally only reflect your business name, you can have longer and better-optimized URLs for other pages.

These pages should have high performing targeted keywords in them. Make sure the keywords you add are relevant to each individual page.

Since search engines rank specific pages rather than the website, optimizing your URL structure for the different pages will allow you to rank higher in various relevant searches.

Two Risks to Avoid

There are certain risks in the world of SEO that are best avoided. These include:

  1. Deleting Pages of Discontinued Products or Services

As a start-up, you are at the trial and error stage of your business. When you realize that certain products don’t have strong demand, you will typically want to discontinue them.

But what should you do with their pages? Should you delete them?


This is because deleting them means losing out on your ranking for the keywords that were present on the page. This is one risk you shouldn’t be taking at this stage of your business.

Rather than deleting a product or service page altogether, keep it up and simply add a message informing the visitors about the discontinuation of the product. Point them from that page to other relevant pages with a link atop the page.

  1. Using Black-Hat SEO Techniques

Some specific SEO tactics are highly discouraged by Google. This includes cloaking, keyword stuffing, link spamming, negative SEO, etc.

In the past, search engines went easy on those who employed black hat tactics. As the algorithms get more and more refined, the penalties are getting harsher as well.

Don’t take the risk of trying to use these tactics. You might think that you will go unnoticed.

But, with improved technology, there is a high chance that Google will identify the sneaky approach and penalize you. And once it does, it will be very hard for you to get your rank and reputation back.


SEO is complicated. It is risky. It is time-consuming.

But, if you do it the right way and know which risks to take and which to avoid, your start-up will benefit from it.

Even if you can’t see results instantaneously, have faith.  Be smart with your SEO strategy and watch as your rank improves slowly and steadily.

The initial days are hard for any business. Beat the odds by taking the right risks. Your start-up can and will succeed.

Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain. Feature image sourced from Pixabay.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

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Ashley Rosa

Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. Writing is her passion, and she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @ashrosa2. .

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