Launching a New Website: Your SEO Checklist

When launching a brand new website, it is easy to get swept along in the excitement of flashy designs and user experience, especially if it’s been a long time in the making. In order to give your new website, the best possible chance of being found, crawled and ranked by search engines, you’ll need to ensure that all the technical aspects are in place. So, before pressing the live button, you will want to make sure you have an SEO strategy in place to help you get off to the best possible start.

Remember, SEO is a long-term process and your strategy will start in the building of your website and carry on throughout its lifetime. Getting your strategy right in the beginning will save you plenty of time and tears in the long run.

To make the process a little less painful, we created an SEO checklist. Perfect for launching your new website. Following these simple steps will make life much easier for you and your team later down the line!

On-Page SEO

Search engines continuously look for ways to identify, the best and most relevant information and result for users. And this needs to be reflected in your on-page content in order to match the information with the search.

1. Keyword research

When creating content for your website, you’re going to want to know which terms or keywords your customers are searching for and the intent behind them. This will be crucial to your SEO strategy because search engines will crawl your pages for relevant and informative content to show to searchers. Search engines will only choose websites that have the most relevant content related to a user’s search.

Once you have your list of keywords, look at your website very carefully and decide which pages are most relevant for each group of keywords and include them in the copy. To rank effectively for your keywords, you should group them together so that each page has its own set of related and relevant keywords. If you can get them into the first 100 words on the page, even better. However, be careful not to go overboard with your mentions of the keywords because this could harm your rankings.

Making your content relevant to your customer’s searches will help you in the long run not only to attract traffic to your website but to keep visitors engaged and help them to convert once they have landed on your website.

2. Meta Titles and Descriptions

After you’ve optimised each of your website pages with your chosen keywords, you’ll also need to optimise the meta titles and descriptions too. These will display in the search results and tell your customers more about what they can expect to see when they click through and whether your content is going to be relevant and helpful to their search.

A good page title describes should contain relevant keywords and tell customers more about your page content. Meta descriptions offer a longer explanation of the page and can have a huge impact on clicks from the search engine result page (SERP) so getting it right and use it as an opportunity to explain more about the page and offer a call to action will help to drive visits to your website.

3. XML Sitemap

It is good practice to create an XML sitemap which acts as a road map of your website pointing out the key pages to search engines. An XML sitemap is especially important if the site is completely new and has little to no external links. Not all pages have to be included in the sitemap, only those that you would like the search engines to crawl and rank. Check out Google’s own advice on XML Sitemaps.

4. Robots File

A robots.txt file sites within the top-level directory and is used by search engines as a guide as to which pages can be crawled and which shouldn’t be. For more information take a look at another guide we wrote.

5. Image Alt Tags

Image Alt tags are a key factor in the topic/keyword a search engine ranks a page for. Most content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, Drupal or Shopify make it easy to add alt tags to images.

6. Mobile Friendly

As mobiles use continues to increase, search engines have recognised the importance of mobile-friendliness in their algorithms. This means that the mobile responsiveness of your website on mobile will have an effect on your site’s rankings. Search engines love responsive website designs, not only that, but it will also help to reduce bounce rates and provide a better user experience overall, helping you to drive conversions.

Off-Page SEO

Whilst on-page SEO tells search engines more about the relevancy of the content on the page, off-page SEO tells them more about how web users and other websites see the content on the website. A high-quality website is much more likely to have links from different websites, mentions on social media and will be shared by users across the web.

1. Link Building

This is one of the most effective off-page SEO techniques because it tells search engines that others value the information on your website. These links show search engines that other users value the content on your website.

There are many different ways to build links with other websites:

  • Distribute PR
  • Chat to bloggers and influencers to see if they will endorse your business
  • Guest blogging
  • Linking to relevant industry bodies from your website and vice versa
  • Directory submissions
  • Local listing websites

These are all great ways to get your website seen by search engines and to let them know that your content is interesting and relevant to your web viewers.

Google Analytics

From day one, you’re going to want to monitor and measure your website traffic. Google Analytics gives you the tools to optimise your website and identify any sticking points that are preventing visitors from converting. You’ll also be able to add social media tracking pixel such as a Facebook Pixel so that you can track activity from those channels.

Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools

Google’s Search Console and Bing’s Webmaster Tools help to optimise your website’s visibility and provides information about how your site is performing.

Page Speed

Page speed is extremely important when it comes to SEO. People want web pages that will load quickly and search engines now use this as one of their many ranking signals. Since it considers user experience, this is an important factor so make sure your website is responsive on all channels.

Social media

Social profiles are great for interacting with and starting conversations about your business is a great way to get people talking about you and, search engines now look for social signals when ranking your website so it’s important not to miss this element. Social media is another form of link building because it signals to Google that web users are interacting and sharing your content.

If you want to know more about launching a new website or you would like to revamp your SEO strategy, contact our team of experts.

 

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