When creating a new website, there are a number of things that you should be doing to give yourself a strong start.
Have you set up a new Google account? You don’t have to but it can make these next parts much easier.
Add the tracking codes & authorise:
- Google Analytics – This is essential. No arguments.
- Google Webmaster Tools. – This is also essential.
- Bing Webmaster Tools – Remember, not everyone uses Google.
What CMS are you using? If it’s WordPress, you need to install an SEO plug-in such as Yoast or All in One SEO. These plugins will make your life much easier in the long run.
Check Google Webmaster Tools for errors with content duplication, missing titles and tags and other errors. Keep checking this on a regular basis.
Browseo can help you find even more errors, such as 301 redirects actually being temporary 302 redirects.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth can help you spot broken links, and costs nothing.
For keywords, try out Google’s Keyword Research Tool. It can help you identify what keywords you should be targeting. Try to find the right balance with the volume. Too low might not be worth it, but too high might not be relevant enough. Think of the following keywords for a footwear e-commerce store: “Shoes” (may not be browsing to buy shoes), “Ladies Shoes” (there’s a lot of different types & what are the volumes for ‘womens’ instead of Ladies?), “Brand name Shoes” (a great one to target, if you have a wide enough range) and “Brand name – Model number” (incredibly targeted, likely to be ready to purchase, but for most shoes this will be a low monthly search volume).
Competitor research can help you get started with link building. Try inputting your competitor domains at Link Diagnosis, Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and LipperHey to get an idea of who is linking to them and on what sort of content.
Keywords are key (hence the name). Have you used your primary keywords in each page URL?
Are you keeping an eye on the length of your title tags? The maximum limit used to be a fixed number of characters; with recent Google changes this is now an amount of pixels – 512. How on earth will you know how many pixels your titles are? Moz has a testing tool or you can download Screaming Frog (which has tonnes of useful features).
Check the length of your meta tags. 155 characters or less was the old recommendation. As with title tags we’re now looking at a number of pixels. Reports are that this is ‘around’ 920 pixels, but it seems to vary slightly.
In addition, check your H1 tags. Your H1 tags should contain your main keyword on each page. You should only have one H1 tag per page.
Content is required. To get search engines to understand what you do you’ll need to have enough copy there for it to understand – 250/300 words is a good base minimum, but don’t get in the habit of aiming for this and stopping for every page. Sure a contact us page won’t need many words, but an in-depth technical explanation would be naturally at least 3-4 times as long as this.
Synonyms are great as search engines have been getting better and better at gaining a semantic understanding of webpages. So create well-written copy instead of churning out drivel with the same keywords repeated mindlessly over and over. No one wants to read it; so neither will the search engine spiders.
Images also help, but remember to add appropriate tags and descriptions. No need to write an essay under each picture though. If your image seo is done properly, image search facilities may become a valuable source of traffic for you.
Link to your internal pages in a moderate and relevant matter. Here we aim to show the search engines which of your pages are most important to you and also to recommend other areas of interest to visitors.
Submit your sitemap file to Google and Bing Webmaster tools. If you don’t have one use XML-Sitemaps.com or the Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin to create one.
If you need any help with your SEO or designing and launching a new site contact us – we’ll be glad see how we can help maximise your site’s potential.