University of Oulu

How can start-ups increase their value co-creation through SEO?

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Author: Riutta, Caleb1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.4 MB)
Pages: 72
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : C. Riutta, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-05-31
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Juntunen, Jouni
Reviewer: Juntunen, Jouni
Komulainen, Hanna


The internet started in the 1960s for government researchers to exchange research. Tim Berners Lee created the foundation for the web in 1990, which consisted of the HTTP protocol, a browser, a server, and the world’s first website. Netscape, an early web browser, had a very successful IPO in 1995, which ultimately popularized the web and sparked the so-called “Dot Com bubble.” The World Wide Web, since its creation until now, has become a critical channel between companies and customers. Over half of the internet starts their search on a search engine, making it imperative for companies that want to stay competitive to have a website online. Ever since the commercialization of the internet, startup companies have competed for the first search results in search engines through a digital marketing technique known as Search Engine Optimization. SEO as a study topic has been studied since Google was created in 1998.

This thesis explores how value co-creation is created with Search Engine Optimization and how the two concepts are related. The context is for high-growth start-up companies that aim to increase their digital presence online.

The research method is qualitative dominant and takes an abductive approach. The primary data was collected from a young startup company in North America and consisted of an extensive data set of user behavior. The data consisted of screen recordings of the users and user metrics collected through a tracking script on the website. The secondary data used takes the form of peer-reviewed articles, previous SEO studies, online articles, and books.

Search Engine Optimization was found to enable companies that want to increase their value co-creation based on the data. It was shown to have the capacity to boost their online presence, create more opportunities for value co-creation, and provide an insight into any blockages preventing co-creation. Essentially, SEO was found to be a vehicle to drive users to companies’ websites and increase the chances for the company to engage the user with a value proposition that could later turn into value-creation. The data also revealed that companies could choose to become co-creators in value if they choose to do so. This was a contrary finding to the pre-existing theory.

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Copyright information: © Caleb Riutta, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.