Out with the old, in with the new. SEO is changing… how about you?
Search Engine Optimization is a critical investment if you operate a website. That’s a fact. Without SEO, you’re lost in the endless search results.
You know this, everyone knows this.
The real topic is where to start with new website SEO. Not how to get an extra fraction of conversion or 10X — the basics. The actions you’ll take the moment after you signaled the site was good to launch.
Get ready; this will be a blitz of an SEO tutorial.
New Website SEO: A Checklist of the Most Important Ranking Factors
SEO is difficult when you’re having to go back and fix its problems. The effort you place in the early stages of optimization roll into all future efforts. You’ll build upon best practices versus mending broken issues.
Here are the absolute SEO essentials you need to do when launching:
Hardware & Code
The hardware powering your website matters. The code delivering your site files matter, too. Get both of these sorted and the site will perform to standards.
The main items include:
- Hosting — Pick and use the best hosting you can afford as site speed is a ranking factor. Likewise, get hosting that’s reliable, so your visitors can access its content. Last, choose a host with flexible features if you choose to upgrade or install add-ons.
- Code (Theme) — Develop or buy a mobile-friendly website theme. A mobile-friendly design adds to your SEO rankings since it’s accessible. You’ll also want to ensure your site code is compliant and error-free.
- Security — Get an SSL certificate, so your website is HTTPS compliant as this, too, is a ranking signal. Use security add-ons or scripts to lockdown site security. And, perform backups and scans, so the site isn’t knocked offline because of malware.
You’re welcome to scale these items as the site matures. A fast, reliable website will prevent Google from de-indexing its content. Plus, a great experience keeps users engaged — and incentivize engagement like sharing.
Get these right, and you’ll earn most of the SEO benefits:
- Titles — Include the primary keyword in the title but also make it engaging. Compare search results for the term and add CTA triggers. This can improve your clickthrough and search presence.
- Descriptions — Include primary and secondary keywords in the meta description. Likewise, give it a hook to make it engaging for search and social users.
- URL — Keep it short and sweet, with the primary keyword.
- Headings — Apply keywords in the page headings (H1 – H4, usually). Use the headings to break-up content, making it digestible, too.
- Alt Tags — Apply descriptions in the alt tags of your images, links, and other on-page items.
Use a combo of keywords related to the topics (i.e., LSI) on every page. The topical keyword selection refines the page, making it relevant in search.
Content deserves its own section because each new page introduces new rankable keywords. Whether it’s written, video, or anything between, you want regular content going up on the site.
Here’s what you do — in 5 steps:
- Make a list of everything known about your offers and industry
- Use keyword tools to discover the keywords for each topic created
- Compare your topics to competitors and decide on a content format
- Create the content, DIY or outsourced, and refine its structure
- Publish content to the site and get it shared on social channels
The ideal scenario is creating a few new blog posts each month. The posts should aim for length as this gives you more keywords you could rank for.
Continue expanding topics and interlink them using relevant keywords. And, try new content formats (ex. video) depending on your community’s preference.
Account for visitors with disabilities or those who don’t speak your language. A website should be accessible to all if you want to maximize its reach.
- Structure — Keep the site “flow” simple by including navigation and interlinks on each page. Fix dead-end pages and use heatmaps and analytics to find roadblocks.
- Accommodation — Fill in alt descriptions for those who may use Web readers. Tweak the font size for easier reading and comprehension. This keeps users of all types engaged.
- Load Times — Get better hosting (as noted above) else remove anything bogging the site down. Ideally, you want the website loading within 1 to 2 seconds. Anything beyond a few seconds will have people leaving.
In all, you want the site experience engaging so people stick around. The longer they stay, the more they’ll get valuable information. This info will increase the chances fellow webmasters link to your resourceful pages.
The 80/20 of Search Engine Optimization
Too many website owners get wrapped up in “guru” speak. They’re quick to jump into a marketing strategy because it sounds great. Except, they never completed the strategy they had going before — wasting resources.
Jumping from strategy to strategy creates an endless loop of failure.
You’re in business so you know about the 80/20 rule. Apply it to your website development and marketing strategies. In doing so, you’ll max the strategies without getting hung-up on unimportant details.
For example — you could do the following for the 80/20:
- Completing all the on-page optimization for exiting pages
- Starting and maintaining a blog to get fresh content in search
- Removing underperforming pages while optimizing high ROI pages
SEO becomes a waiting game once you’ve covered the basics. In the meantime, learn more about SEO services you could tap to supplement growth efforts. And, refine the operations and do your best in providing a great service.
From the Basics to the Next-Level Strategies
You can do most new website SEO on your own by following tutorials. After, you can explore advanced SEO strategies…
…but this poses an interesting path:
- Option #1: Learn advance strategies and spend the time doing them
- Option #2: Pass the advanced work to vetted professionals
Those with plenty of free time should explore doing DIY SEO. Otherwise, hire an SEO agency if you rather spend time in business operations.
In the meantime — learn as much as you can about website optimization. See our site tutorials and tips while the SEO efforts mature.