Whether you’re launching an entirely new website or are considering a redesign, you’re in a great position to start implementing on-page SEO. When it comes to SEO, it’s never too early to get started on your strategy to ensure long-term success.
Integrating your SEO strategy into your initial design plan will save you time in the long-run. The earlier you can begin planning your SEO, the better. These are the essential ingredients to set up your new website for success.
SEO Blueprint – Shotgun firing keywords you want to rank for all over your new web pages will not help your initiatives, we promise. Like any good strategy, you need an initial plan. Spend some time thinking about how your prospective clients would search for you online. Compile a list of keywords and use Google’s Keyword Tool to assess competition and traffic. The higher the traffic and competition, the more difficult it will be to rank for those terms, so try using more specific keywords that relate to your business. Also, if your company is local, consider using location-based keywords to be even more specific. Understanding what you want to go after is the first step to success.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions – Once you have your overall theme developed, you’ll want to incorporate these keywords into your title tags. Title tags do have some bearing on rankings, so it’s especially important to use good, relevant keywords. Make unique tags for every page on your website, and make sure they pertain to the page, while still relating to the overall theme. While meta descriptions do not have an effect on rankings, it’s really important to also create relevant, catchy descriptions with a call to action, since that is what searchers will see in the search results.
Content – Write original content for each page that describes what the page is about and incorporates keywords from your theme. Use keywords naturally and sparingly! Overuse of keywords is considered keyword stuffing and can actually result in penalties for your website. Great content doesn’t directly impact your rankings, but it does affect your traffic, bounce rate and overall user satisfaction; so strive to write great content on all of your web pages that your readers will enjoy and find informative.
Internal Linking – Search engine spiders crawl websites via links, so if you forget to link to a page on your website, guess what? It won’t be indexed. Create a ‘flat’ link structure on your website, meaning that you can navigate to almost any page within three clicks. This type of linking makes it easy for users to navigate your website, and search engines to crawl your pages. Most importantly, make sure your robots.txt is set to ‘follow’, or it won’t matter how great your link structure is, search engines will not be able to crawl your pages.
301 Redirects- If you are doing a website redesign, this applies to you. It’s very important to redirect the pages from your old website to similar pages on your new website. Why? You want any link credit from outside links to be applied to your new pages. Also, if you are re-using any content from your old website, this can create duplicate content if the old pages aren’t redirected properly.
The work isn’t over yet! The weeks following the launch are just as crucial. The most important thing you’ll need to do post-launch is making sure there aren’t any issues with your site’s functionality. Google Webmaster Tools is a great way to identify any broken links or other crawl errors that you may have missed. For a few weeks after launch, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your Google Analytics account, looking for any pages with extremely high bounce rates or drop-off rates. It could be an indicator that there is an error with the page, or the page needs some cosmetic/content changes to keep users interest. Viewing your Google accounts can give you a lot of insight into how users are interacting with sight, as well as revealing any errors.
Have a new website that you need help optimizing? Contact us, and we’d be happy to help or answer any questions!
Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth