New Website SEO isn't any different from regular SEO except it is a little easier. In this comprehensive post we cover all things a new website needs to do to start off on the right SEO foot.
New Website SEO isn’t necessarily different than regular SEO, but it makes things easier to start on the right foot. As our first official blog post, we thought this was the perfect topic. Don’t worry, we will update this post every 6 months or so, which is a tip we’ll talk about later on. Let’s dive in:
If SEO is a top priority for your site (and it should be) then you should make the most basic decisions with SEO in mind.
While we were brainstorming our new company, we tossed around a few ideas. Once we had a shortlist, we started putting them into GoDaddy to see if the domains were available. Not surprisingly, most if not all the powerful keywords in the website design and marketing space were taken.
So we moved unto what would sound the best to our potential clients. And we found the domain (and company name) that encapsulates the emotion behind our service. All That Website Stuff speaks both to the all-inclusive nature of our service as well as our client’s not-so-interested-in-the-details-just-make-it-work attitude. Which was perfect for us.
Domain names are a factor for Google. So, if you can find a domain name that includes a keyword or keyword phrase you will want to rank for it, consider it. Just remember that everyone will be using that domain so it should be easy to remember, and make sense for your company.
For example, as of this writing you can go to GoDaddy and purchase “DentistNearMe.com” for around $18k. It’s a premium domain because it has a search volume of 1.5 million a month. There are 2 glaring issues for purchasing this domain. One, Google is pretty smart and the algorithm takes the user’s location into account when they search “Dentist Near Me” so if you are a local Dentist, you will rank better just by being well… a dentist near that person. Secondly, if you are a local Dentist, you will be getting useless traffic. Out of that 1.5 million searches each month very few will actually be looking for a dentist in your area. Now if your business is an affiliate marketing website or even a lead generation company this domain might make sense for you.
So our suggestion is to consider SEO but don’t force it with your domain name.
Once you own your domain (or at least have picked out what domain you want to buy) it’s time to start shopping for a web development platform. On what soil will you build your amazing new website? There are loads of options. Wordpress is still terribly popular. Something like 80% of the world’s websites are on Wordpress. There are pros and cons to that. Wordpress being so popular means there are loads and loads and loads and loads of plugins built to use on it. One major con though is Wordpress is also the target of most hacks.
This article isn’t about us but we use Webflow exclusively for all of our client websites. And the reason we use Webflow is that it is (in our humble opinion) the best website development platform for SEO. It’s not the easiest platform to use, but ease of use isn’t our priority, SEO is. But the point we want to make is that Wordpress isn’t your only option. There are oodles of website development platforms to choose from.
So, if you are choosing a web development platform with SEO as a priority, here are the things you want to consider:
The best part of new website SEO is that you can start with a clean slate. No worries about going back and changing things. So here are the basics to consider right off the bat:
Here is where the real fun begins. There are a lot of factors when it comes to keywords and therefore the strategy for creating your master keyword list is really up to you. Let’s break it down as best we can:
Here are some keyword factors to consider for your strategy:
And you can always combine strategies. Example: Competition and Low Difficulty.
A lot of these bullet points could be their own blog post or guides even. In order to make this specific article into a pillar page, we would then create a post or guide or something dedicated to each one of the bullet points and link it back to this article. This is one way that site structure works.
If you take a step back and consider all of your site pages as individual islands, without structure they have no organization. They are just all floating around. But with site structure you then build what looks like an organizational chart. Who’s on top vs who’s on bottom.
Setting up this type of site structure is important for a myriad of reasons.
One, it let’s Google know which page is more important. If you have 15 different blog posts all talking about the same keyword (and eventually if you write content consistently you will have multiple posts on the same topic) then all of those pages are competing for one another. If Google can’t tell what page is more important, then whatever SEO benefit your domain is getting is spread around all those 15 pages.
Two, it helps with your site navigation. There’s a lot of strategies out there but everyone should be making things as easy as possible for their end users.
Three, it lends itself to internal linking. When you link to your own content, you are in fact building site structure. You are also helping your visitors find the best, most complete content. As you keep an eye on your site structure, you will consistently link to the best content. And as you can imagine, it’s a heck of a lot easier to do site structure when a website is new vs after you have a bunch of content to then straighten out.
On-Site or On-Page SEO is at its core, making sure you are using every opportunity to make sure Google understands where to rank your content. Once you have your keyword, here are all the places you want it to show up. Thereby creating a bright neon sign to Google that ready “hey, this is what this page is about!”
Google Analytics has both a free and paid version. You are most likely just interested in the free version. Everything you need to know from sign up to setting up your analytics can be found on this helpful google support page. It’s free and from Google. If your goal is to rank higher in Google, you should soak up all that Google offers as free tools.
Even if you don’t max out all the options on Google Analytics like setting up A/B testing, you should at least set a calendar alert to review your traffic and other analytics one every quarter.
Once you have a master keyword list, a rough site structure and you think through your sales funnel, the content calendar pretty much makes itself. Spread the love across a few broad topics and then continually drill down to produce better and better content. All the SEO in the world can’t help you if all you produce is lousy content.
Remember that at the end of the day, Google wants to be a great search engine. That means when people search google for something they can trust the results will have value. If you aren’t producing value, Google doesn’t want you in their searches. Your bad copy makes them look bad. If people stop trusting Google, the search engine (and all the gazillions in ad dollars) will disappear like Ask Jeeves or Alta Vista. Remember them? A short history, in 1995 (before Google), Alta Vista was a search engine. But their algorithm was easily manipulated. So when Google hit the scene in 1997, it quickly overcame Alta Vista and other search engines. Alta Vista was bought by Yahoo! And then Yahoo! used it as their search engine. Have you ever searched on Yahoo! for something? Me either.
There are loads of strategies behind creating your content calendar. Some companies prefer to only post once a month with a 3k word masterpiece. Other companies post 3 times a week. Some companies schedule so that the sales funnel is evenly spread, others do it by keyword difficulty. At the end of the day, there are two things that are key to SEO success in regards to content: quality and consistency. If you post three times a week, you better be prepared to post 3 times a week for the next 5 years. And quality. As mentioned, Google cares the most about the quality of your content. Using these SEO tips are like raising your hand in class. It let’s the search crawlers know you are there and what you want to talk about. But if you are the knucklehead in the class who never takes things seriously, you aren’t going to be called on. Make sense?
Once your site is ready for publication, you need to start marketing. Let’s assume you aren’t doing any paid stuff and everything is good old fashioned sweat equity:
If you are a Webflow user, this is a simple step in your process. Just go to Settings>Setting> Turn on Auto-Generate site map. If you are on Wordpress, there are oodles of plugins that will submit your sitemap for you. If you are looking for a tool just for XML sitemaps, I would encourage you to scope out Screaming Frog. They are out of the UK and lovely. SEER Interactive wrote a massive manual on 55 ways to use Screaming Frog.
If you want to see how popular Screaming Frog is with the professional SEO crowd just google anything with “screaming frog” and instead of their main site coming up, it will be full of other top SEOs talking about them. Amazing.
If you are a local business, you simply HAVE TO create a Google My Business Profile. It’s helpful for any kind of company but if you have a physical location it’s a no brainer. If you are a lawyer and someone in your area googles “lawyer near me” your Google My Business Profile will be at the top of the SERPs. No targeting keywords, no writing extra copy. No extra work.
Now, if you are in a busy area and you have lots of competition there are plenty of ways to get your Google My Business Profile more recognition. Here’s a quick rundown of ways your competition might not be using their Google My Profile business that you can:
Beyond all that there is the obvious: completely fill out your profile. Add in your hours, keywords, during Covid-19 you can post things like how you are keeping your staff and customers safe, etc. Remember that Google owns Google My Business Profiles. So it would be in your best interest (because it is in their best interest) for you to use it to the max. Half empty profiles are not going to rank as well as highly active ones. Google is not stupid :)
I remember a marketing guru telling me back in 2005 that it is never too early for social media profiles. And he was so right! Even if you are still just thinking about your website, go ahead and start the profile. Get the traction rolling there. If you need graphics for social media including the profile stuff use Canva. Or better yet, real actual photos from your smart phone. Having a real face, a genuine person behind a profile is always better than a company brand. Unless it’s Wendy’s. If you can be Wendy’s by gollie, just be Wendy’s. Their social media is awesome :)
While we are talking profiles, let me get on my soapbox a bit. There are a ton of automated services, please only use those as filler posts. Social media should be social in nature. If you want to plan out a daily post for the next month or two based on your content calendar that’s totally cool. And actually what we do here at All That Website Stuff. But we also make a point of going into all of our client profiles for some genuine interactions. And that makes a huge difference.
Once your site goes live, you will get some emails. They might be potential clients or they might be people signing up for other reasons. Be clear in your site design so people know what they are signing up for and have a plan in place to handle these emails.
For example, if you are a service, create sales collateral that your team can send along with a welcome email. Or, simply have a plan in place so that every email makes it into your CRM. Even if the email is completely bogus, put it in your CRM anyway. It won’t hurt anything and it will help you track later if it pops up again.
And of course if you are promoting a newsletter or drip campaign on your website, make sure all the hoops are jumped through before you go live.
New Website SEO isn’t going to skyrocket you to the top of SERPs right away, so how do you keep the train moving in the right direction?
A general rule of thumb is that SEO takes about 6 months to see results. And an active SEO campaign should then dwarf those first 6 months in the first year. SEO is a bit more tedious than creative but it’s very important in the long run. If your company is going to be around in 5 years, you might as well use the time wisely. I can’t tell you how many of our friends work specifically on websites that have been around for ages without any SEO. It never made it into the budget and now, years, sometimes a decade later they have to go back and change things. It’s ludacris. New Website SEO is easier just by the nature of being new. Enjoy it!
The first 6 months of an SEO campaign can be frustrating, but it’s important to keep tabs on everything. Look for new key words every couple months. Keep tabs on your competition by running monthly reports on them. And every other week go to your analytics to see what your content is doing. Whatever you schedule, put in on your calendar and stick to it. It’s the little tweaks along the way that make the biggest impact. SEO is definitely not a one and done kind of effort.
Revisit your pillar content so that you can improve it. Do more than just change the date though! Go through and add more information. Maybe add or tweak a little of On-Site SEO but be careful that you don’t lose any momentum you’ve already earned. But if you have a great performing piece of content, chances are you will only keep the momentum going when you add more value to the page.
Phew! That was a lot of information! I hope this post was helpful to you as you work on your own new website SEO.
We love design and everything web marketing. This newsletter is geared towards those that share our passion. It never includes salesy stuff because candidly, our clients hire us to care about this stuff for them.
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