Trust us, we understand. Getting a new website up and running is no easy task, especially if you’re starting a new business.
The fact is there are a lot of technical issues that go into developing and launching a brand new website, but unfortunately many business owners and managers often overlook the piece at the end which could potentially pay for the whole project – search engine optimization.
You could literally spend weeks reading articles on SEO tips and best practices for new websites, but we’d like to compress that information for you down into some bite sized chunks to make sure you cover the basics.
Here is a practical guide with actionable steps you can take:
Utilize Free Google Tools
One of the very first things you want to do is install something which we refer to internally as the “Google Tool Suite” These are a set of free tools offered by Google that you can use gauge the effectiveness of your site.
These tools are:
Keyword Planner – This tool was designed for AdWords, but is a great help in deciding which phrases to target as it can help you to come up with relevant keywords and phrases, which you can then use in your initial optimization, on-site content planning, and even in social media posts.
Webmaster Tools – Verifying your site with Webmaster Tools will ensure a few important things. First, you’ll be notified whenever there is an issue with your site such as an outage, or if by chance your site ever violates Google’s quality guidelines. Also you’ll be able to submit or remove individual pages from Google search results as well as see critical data on which keywords your site shows up for.
Google Analytics – The final free tool from Google you need to install is Analytics, which will provide your central reporting and performance dashboard for your website. Click here to read more about what Google Analytics is and what it does.
One of my pet peeves is taking over a website project that has the same page title on every page. This is such a waste of valuable real estate for a website!
You need to have unique title tags for all of your pages, and it is a good idea to use your keywords on those tags. Be sure to make them local if that applies to your business.
Also, don’t forget to create unique meta descriptions for all of the pages too, and again, use those target keywords you gathered earlier.
Make sure you have easy to use navigation on your site as well. You do not want your visitors to grow frustrated because they can’t find what they need. They should be able to get to everything they want – and back to the home page – in as few clicks as possible.
And finally, many people forget to add ALT tags to their images. This is really important for people with unique or ecommerce photography and ensures that search engines crawling your page will know what the images are, and they can then incorporate them into search results.
Produce High Quality Content
Of course, you also need to make sure you have high quality content throughout your website. Each of your pages should have content of 300 to 400 words at a minimum, and ideally between 600-700 words if you can manage it.
Don’t stuff keywords into your content to stretch the word count. Instead, use keywords and phrases naturally in the content.
Try to keep your content fresh too. At the very least, you should post something to your site or blog at least twice a month. More is better as long as you don’t trade quantity for quality.
When writing content, you don’t always have to talk about your products or services and why people should buy. Instead, make sure you are creating all sorts of interesting content to keep your readers’ attention. It should relate to your site, naturally.
This blog post is a good example. Yes we offer SEO as a service, but this post is giving away free advice to those who are looking for it.
You can also consider other things to add to your site in addition to written content. Photos are great, custom graphics are even butter, but video and audio can get quite a bit of attention as well.
This article on searchengineland.com offers additional advice for new websites when it comes to getting up to speed with SEO. Check it out as well to make sure you have all your SEO bases covered when you get your new site up and running.
Or, if after reading this you have come to the realization that there is no way you can invest the time or effort to make sure this is right, drop us an email and we’ll be happy to provide a quote to take this off of your plate!