Using SEO To ‘Prepare’ For GTM (Go To Market)

SEO Effectiveness

We all know that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important and still works. Can SEO give a boost to your GTM (Go To Market) engine? Of course yes. We all know that, obviously.

But how about using SEO to enhance your GTM efforts even before launching your products or services? We discuss that perspective in this article. We will learn what this means, its benefits, and most importantly, the approach you could take to do it the right way to maximize the effectiveness of your go-to-market efforts.

Also read: Getting Started With SEO-led Content In 3 Days

So, what’s the BIG idea?

We first touched upon GTM in one of the previous editions of this newsletter, where we discussed a concept called the GTM flywheel (check out the article here).

It discusses why GTM must work like a flywheel, not a one-time activity. We also discussed the 12-point flywheel in detail, of which demand gen and capture was one of the elements.

Beyond a doubt, SEO helps in creating demand for your business. But most businesses start with SEO only when they are about to launch a product or service (usually 1 or 2 weeks before the launch).

However, we all know that SEO can’t move the needle much within a short period (like how a PR campaign can do). So where are we getting with this?

The alternate approach I propose – and we will discuss it in this article in detail – is to start with SEO way before you launch the product.

This way, by the time you are ready for the launch, you will have already created some traction for keywords related to your offering.

Note: We have discussed before that GTM is not just about the launch. It has to work like a flywheel and continuous engine that help meet your growth aspirations over the long run.


The approach

Okay, fine. You get the idea. But that’s not enough. You need to know how to execute it well. That’s what we will cover in this section.

The following figure briefly illustrates the approach you need to follow to implement SEO to support your initial go-to-market activities (and thereafter).

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As you can see in the figure, the idea is to start actively investing in SEO 6 months before the product launch.

6 months is not a golden number. There is no solid answer if you ask why not 7 months instead of 6. But you need to start with SEO 3 to 6 months before the product launch. This will give you enough time to rank your content for relevant keywords.

And remember, SEO works better with time (though there usually is a decay after a few years). So the earlier you start, the better. It is far better to be aggressive in the first few weeks of the 6 month period than in the last few weeks. This is because, the longer a content piece is live before the launch, the higher the possibility of it ranking.

Also read: Using AI to improve SEO effectiveness

How to choose the keywords and topics?

The next obvious question that might arise is: how can you pick topics for a product or service the company has not already positioned it for?

Let me explain this with an example.

Imagine your company sells an HRMS (Human Resource Management System). Now, you are working on building an AI-based automated interview application. Since you have not launched the product yet, how do you find topics and keywords relevant to it?

Quite simple. Pick topics and keywords that are related to what your product offers.

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Well, not that obvious. Read on 😀.

For instance, take the same example of the AI-based automated interview app. To attract an audience that might be interested in the product before the launch, you can pick topics like the following:

  • How AI can automate interviews at scale
  • AI-enabled video interviews – the formula for achieving efficiency in hiring
  • Using AI in candidate screening – pros and cons
  • Leveraging AI to find candidates with the best skillsets

You can improve upon the topics. But you get the idea here. You are attracting traffic to your website for keywords related to the product you are launching.

Note: You need to do proper keyword analysis and ensure that you pick the right keywords and develop the topics accordingly. The topics I came up with are off the top of my head.

Wait, there is one more problem.

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In some cases, you might not be able to write about the product or service way before the launch since the competition might get a hint on what you are working on.

So how do you tackle this challenge?

There isn’t a perfect solution to this problem. But you can always find workarounds in the hope that your competitors don’t get a hint. Here are a couple of steps you can take:

  1. Make the keywords and topics you pick generic so that others cannot guess what you are working on.
  2. Diversify the content you create.

The former is about finding topics anyone in your space could potentially discuss. Here are a few examples of such topics for the same HRMS company:

  • 10 effective ways to reduce your hiring time
  • Talent hunting – tips and best practices for 2023
  • 7 behavioural characteristics you should look for in every candidate
  • 5 tips to ease candidate communication during the hiring process

Here too, you need to make sure all the topics are SEO-relevant. The advantage of doing it this way is that you attract the same target audience (say, HR managers, talent hunters, HR ops specialists, etc.) that you would want for the new product (in this case, the AI-enabled interview software).

The second step you need to take is to diversify and avoid the monotony. Don’t let your competitors derive a pattern from your content. Keep them guessing.

At the same time, taking the above two steps doesn’t mean you don’t talk about AI-enabled hiring at all. Mix it up. The key is to never give a hint.


The key difference in doing keyword analysis for SEO for GTM

The normal approach for doing keyword research to create content around a new product or category goes something like this:

  1. Identify keywords that competitors rank for related to the category or product (you can do this either by looking at their organic keywords or performing a keyword/content gap analysis).
  2. Plug the relevant keywords into Google search (for finding Google autosuggestions) and/or a keyword tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush and develop a list of related keywords.
  3. Group keywords into categories and pillar topics based on relevance.
  4. Perform keyword analysis for individual articles/landing pages.

There could be more details or nuances. But this is more or less what the process looks like.

The same process can be followed when it comes to SEO for GTM as well, the only difference being that you need to branch out the process into two, like I mentioned earlier.

  1. Content directly related to your product or category
  2. Content not directly related to your product or category but would help attract a similar target audience to your new product (go back and look at the specific topic examples we discussed if you need).

Related article: The GTM Flywheel – Go To Market Strategy For New-age B2B Businesses

Continuing SEO efforts beyond the product launch

As mentioned earlier, GTM doesn’t end with a launch. Like the other efforts that are part of your GTM engine, SEO also needs to continue (in the image that illustrated the approach, we saw how SEO could give better results with more time and 6 months after the launch).

While the overall approach remains the same, you could follow a few best practices and approaches to ensure SEO gives the boost your GTM flywheel needs. Here are some of my suggestions:

  • We already discussed the importance of starting early. When you do it, follow the stepped approach. It involves writing about topics that are the most critical first. This will ensure that they have enough time to rank before the launch.
  • When you do internal linking, create a dedicated mesh for topics related to your new product. Don’t confuse search engines by doing internal linking from articles unrelated to the product (this is a general best practice for internal linking, but more important from the context of GTM).
  • Index your product guides. You could still host them as PDFs (gated or ungated). But having multiple indexed pages talking about your product’s features will help boost your website’s overall ranking and domain authority.



Final words

I could have gotten into more details about how to do keyword research and touch upon other elements of on-page SEO (and off-page SEO too). But the intention of this article was to share a new perspective on leveraging SEO to improve the effectiveness of your GTM efforts. I hope you found this an insightful read.


Skalegrow – B2B marketing agency

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About the author

Naseef KPO

Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.

Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.

You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.