How to put SEO first when launching a new site
We are often shocked by how many web designers and developers do not think about SEO during the design process. It matters because SEO is not a destination, it is a journey. It matters because not considering SEO up front means you will have a more difficult job implementing it post-launch. Because it directly affects your page names and titles, meta data and the content you create. Unless you map keywords to pages from the very start, you will be working blind.
The first thing to say is this: if the web design agency you are thinking of partnering with doesn’t mention SEO from the offset, walk away and find one that does. The second thing to say is this: if you need to know what SEO considerations to make during the design process and after launch, read on.
Why should you care about SEO at the design stage?
You use a keyword or phrase on your page. A potential customer uses that same word or phrase to search Google. Google joins the dots and serves up your page to the potential client. In a nutshell, at its simplest, that is how SEO works. If you want people to find your website when they search Google for products and services like yours, you need to take SEO into account.
On the other hand, if you are planning to pay for page 1 Google visibility via AdWords campaigns, SEO is less important. Having said that it is still vital for letting search engines know what your website is about, helping them to classify it accurately.
You or your site designer will already have taken keywords into account at the planning stage. Begin mapping a primary term to each page and boosting it with similes and longer tail terms. However, that is just the start of your SEO journey. Thorough keyword research can easily deliver 1000s of keywords of every type, and you can use the most popular to inform fresh content like blog posts and new pages into the future. When you end up ranking for a vast range of keywords, your overall visibility is naturally good.
So you have done all that, and your new site is launched. What’s next on the SEO front?
Here are 8 essential SEO steps for new websites
- Always make sure you have removed any ‘noindex’ or ‘nofollow’ tags from your settings. Also, make sure that your robots.txt file is not blocking any of your pages. All these tell Google not to index your site in one way or another, and it is not unusual for developers to forget to remove them before launch
- If your new site has not been indexed by Google and co, grab yourself a link. Any link. As soon as another site links to yours, Google should send bots to explore and index it. Once it is indexed, it should start to show up in the search results. These will usually be way, way down rather than anywhere near the first few top pages, but it is a start
- Make sure any pages that you do not want people to find in the search results are indexed, for example, your checkout page. You want to focus on your most valuable content, and you want it to come up first
- It is important to know exactly how to leverage keywords within content, and how to create top class content that people will appreciate, enjoy and find useful. It’s a particular skill – do you have the time to learn it, and the talent to write well, or will you need to hand over to a professional copywriter? It makes sense to decide earlier rather than later.
- Now take a long, detailed look at what your competitors are doing. In this context, we mean competing businesses whose websites appear close to you in the search space, not generic competitors in your sector. What are they doing that you are not? Can you do a better job of their evergreen content? Do they blog more than you, or do a better job? Are you missing a trick?
- Maximise the potential of your snippets. Are your pages’ meta descriptions and titles inviting to users? Do they contain the right keywords? Could you write better ones?
- Your site structure matters. Internal links reveal a lot to search engines, telling them how important you think any given page is in the vast scheme of things. If a page or post is important you should link to it internally so wherever someone is on your site; they can easily access it. Google will follow your links, and the content with the most internal links will be likely to rank highest in the search results
- Last but never least, get link building. Remember you cannot buy links unless you want to risk a Google penalty or ban. Use content marketing best practice, harnessing social media to share content and attract attention. Use outreach. Ask other site owners to review your products or services. Do anything you can to gain backlinks to your most important pages, and your rankings will steadily improve
We do not leave your position in Google to chance or luck. We know SEO sits at the heart of every successful site, and we will make sure your new website take SEO into account from scratch. Let’s talk.