It sounds contradictory, but its true. There are two main scenarios for new startups, the first is that it’s a completely new product or proposition, for example – balaclavas for pets. The second is that it’s a slant on an existing product, such as a service that allows other people to lend small amounts of money to others at a more reasonable rate. The problem with scenario 1 is that, because it’s a new idea, people won’t know about it and so they simply wont be searching for it. You can check search volumes for particular keywords using Google’s AdWords keyword tool – but take the data with a pinch of salt, as it’s not always entirely accurate. For scenario 2, because it’s an existing product, the competition is likely to be far too strong (at first) to get those rankings. Even though the person-to-person micro-lending example above is a relatively newish idea (the example is actually stolen from Zopa, who have been around for a few years now) – the new site would still be aiming to rank for terms like “small loans” and “payday loans”, which are remarkably competitive and could take a huge amount of time and effort to rank for. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be thinking about SEO when you prepare for launch, however. Launching your startup is one of the biggest opportunities you have to gain links into your site – links that, later down the line, could prove to be invaluable in allowing you to rank above your competitors, or rank for particularly high traffic driving phrases. While there are a huge number of intricacies with search engine optimisation, the basics are to find the right key phrases to target, to include those terms on the page naturally and within the page title and, of absolutely massive importance, to get other sites to link to you. When launching your startup, even with just your minimum viable product, there are a large number of chances to pick up links – potentially some of the strongest links you could hope for.