If you’ve recently launched a new website or you’re about to launch one, congrats!
You’ve done the hard work of setting the whole thing up or have paid good money to get it done. Now it’s up to you to make it stand out from the billions of other websites on the web.
Scary, huh? Well, it is.
According to World Wide Web Size, at least 4.58 billion web pages have been indexed as of September 28th, 2017. The good news is that not all of these web pages are your competition.
Many of them lack proper SEO, and worse, interesting or helpful content. Hopefully, you have already got the helpful content part handled. If you haven’t, dig into this guide.
How successful your new website will become depends on the SEO tactics you use right off the bat. As Pythagoras once said, “Well begun is half done”.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website more visible to search engines. Without doing SEO, your visibility is not increasing and this means no growth.
It is important to understand from the beginning that there is no website too small for SEO. SEO is a tool for every website, either small or big, new or old.
SEO can almost guarantee long-lasting results
SEO is not a short-term solution. If you are looking for a quick uptick in traffic, look into AdWords or Facebook Ads. If your goal is to create a foundation that will last for years to come, then SEO is your answer.
Now that you are convinced that SEO is the way to go, you are conviced, right? let’s see how to do SEO for a new website.
1. Work on Technical SEO
Technical SEO describes the number of actions that have to do with the setup of your website and how to make sure that search engines can access it correctly.
Here is your technical SEO checklist:
- Make sure that your robots.txt is not blocking search engine spiders from crawling and indexing your website.
- Register and authenticate your website with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools.
- Create and optimize an XML sitemap and submit to Google and Bing.
- Ensure that your permanent link structure (URLS) is SEO friendly.
- Migrate your website to https (even if you are not selling anything)
- Add support for Accelerated Mobile pages to increase your visibility in mobile search results.
- The majority of the above tasks have one thing in common, once you get them right from the beginning, you won’t have to deal with them again.
2. Perform Keyword Research
A good keyword research process will tell you what to write about and how long to make your blog posts.
This should be done as early on as possible, even before work on the website begins. This is because you need to know what your website should be ranking for. Remember to base your keywords on more than what people are searching for in Google.
Your keywords should encompass your brand. You need to integrate keywords throughout your website, including in your page content, blog posts titles, alt tags, and even in your video. However, make your keyword usage as natural as possible. Going overboard can make your website look spammy.
As a final step, during the publication process, care should be taken to make your content readable by having headings (h1, h2, h3), small paragraphs, images and other visual elements within the content.
3. Develop a solid content marketing plan
To be honest, all the best SEO will do nothing if your content marketing game is poor. The success or failure of your website hangs on this.
The easiest approach is to use a tool like SEMRUSH and analyze your competitor rankings. What you want to find out at this stage is the number of pages they have in the Google index and the keywords they have good rankings. If it’s an old and established website with lots of content, you can learn a lot of valuable information on what is working for them.
Pick a number of keywords (preferable long tail keywords with low competition) and add them to a spreadsheet. Search those keywords in Google and take note of the pages in the top 5 positions.
Add the following extra columns to the spreadsheet: Number of words, type of content, date of publication. So, for each selected keyword, you will have 5 rows (one for each website).
Next, create a publishing plan in a calendar and specify when to publish each post. You may think that this is an over-simplified overview of the process but this is all you need at the beginning.
You need good relevant content that has some chances of ranking high in the SERPS and the above will help you accomplish just that. The difficult part for solo bloggers, small businesses or even large organizations, is usually following their publishing plan.
4. Optimize Content
For a brand new website, your main SEO focus should be on-page elements like title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and body content.
Optimize your title tags for each primary keyword. Your title tag is the text that Google will display as your page title for every search result, as well as the text that will display in the user’s browser when they visit your page.
It’s important that all of your pages have title tags that are optimized for their target SEO keywords. A good title tag should accurately describe the content on your page while mentioning the main keyword you’re targeting for SEO.
When adding on-page SEO components, it’s important to stay within recommended character limits and use relevant keywords to ensure content displays well on the search engine results page. In addition to pleasing search engines, properly adding on-page elements to each page of your websites helps visitors quickly decide if your page offers value and pertains to their query.
Not only should you incorporate keywords into your titles, tags, and text body, but you should also make your content shareable. By now you’ve noticed that just about all blog posts have social share buttons either at the top or the bottom of the post (though best practices say that it’s best to have them at the top).
Not only do search engines use keywords in evaluating SEO, but they also use social signals like Facebook shares and Twitter tweets to evaluate the popularity of your content.
5. Watch Your Links
There was a time when people distributed articles with optimized keyword anchor text to other sites, and gaining backlinks from any old website with a high enough PageRank. Those days are no more. Google has cracked down on articles and press releases with keyword optimized text, so you could get your website penalized for it.
Also, search algorithms have gotten smart enough to recognize whether the website linking to you is relevant or not. So it is advisable to get your backlinks from worthy websites and add the rel=nofollow attribute to keyword optimized text so that it doesn’t pass for PageRank.
6. Install Plugins
If you’re using WordPress then you have no shortage of plugins to choose from for your site. However, you should know that SEO plugins aren’t exactly a cure-all. Rather, they optimize your website’s code for search engines to pick up on.
Some popular options include All in One SEO Pack, Yoast, and Scribe. Each SEO plugin has its own offerings, so investigate which one is best for your site.
7. Install Analytics
Analytics software helps you to keep your fingers on the pulse of your website. If you’re new to analytics, Google’s free analytics program is a great place to start.
Open a Google Analytics account if you haven’t already, and add it to your site. Google Analytics allows you to monitor vital traffic stats including unique visits, bounce rate, and conversion rates. It even lets you do cool things like split testing and analyzing your traffic in excruciating detail.
8. Keep the Momentum
Stay consistent with your website. Consistently post to and update your social media outlets. Listen to feedback, watch for bugs, and otherwise make adjustments where necessary. Keep updating, tweaking, and improving your website.
Make it a dynamic, thriving web entity that people will be attracted to because of its value offerings, whether paid or free.
There’s more. If you want to learn more about making your brand visible, there is a digital media masterclass holding at the High Growth Africa Summit.