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posted on September 13th, 2012

SEO Checklist for New Websites

seo-checkAre you building a new website for your business? If so, now is the perfect time to perform some crucial SEO techniques to maximize your SERPs and start building credibility with Google and other search engines.

The first three months are critical for any new website. During this time, it is important that you are aware of the pitfalls of overzealous attempts at high rankings and the benefits of some key components of a successfully optimized site.

Below are some factors to consider when preparing to launch your site.

Quality and usability of Design

This is a great opportunity to make sure your website’s user interface is designed intelligently so that it is visually appealing and easy for your potential clients to navigate, get to the valuable information they are looking for, and find clear calls to action for the intended goals of your website.  Ideally, you will want to find a professional website design company with the experience and talent to ensure usability as it will improve your ROI in the long run. Some helpful tools to test your site for usability include the 5 Second Test, Simple Mouse Tracking, and Feedback Army.

Include an XML Sitemap

Make sure your new site includes an XML sitemap so that search engines can more easily find and index your site information. By providing this sitemap, you give Google, Yahoo, and other search engines a directory to see the complete structure of your website.

Keyword targeting

One important factor to consider for your new site is the keywords you are targeting. When planning your site content, ask yourself the following questions. Are the keywords I am choosing directly related to my site? Do they have a good search volume? Are they difficult to find? Ultimately, if you are writing pertinent, valuable content for your audience, many common sense keywords will naturally be included in your text, but it’s always good to do your research to find keywords your audience may search that you haven’t thought of.

Not sure how to go about choosing keywords? There are some very powerful, not to mention free, tools at your disposal. The Google Keyword Tool is a great place to start.  Not only can you search out keywords, but you can also type in the URLs of your competition to see what keywords they are using. This will give you a good overall perspective of what keywords are useful and what kind of search volume they have. Also, try typing keywords into your Google search bar to find out what people are searching for related to your product or service.

Accessibility

It is crucial that both users and search engines can access all of the pages of your site. Check for things such as page errors, missing title tags and meta descriptions, missing or broken links, thin content, and missing content.

If you are looking for some helpful tools and insights, try the Google Webmasters Tool or SEOmoz Crawl. Using these resources, you can have crawlers sent out to crawl your URL and provide important information on title tags, links, meta descriptions, and other key data.

Quality of Content

Ensure that your content is valuable to the visitor. Quality content should be engaging, informative, and useful to your potential customers or followers and should reflect exactly what you promote it to be. Visitors will easily become frustrated and bounce from your site if they search out keywords only to click on your site in search results and find your information irrelevant, misleading, or altogether lacking. Also, consider adding images, video, and professional graphics to enhance your copy and engage your viewers. Providing rich content, combined with the keyword targeting strategies mentioned above, helps set the stage for increased SERPs (search engine results pages).

Link Building

High quality, credible link building is key to any successful SEO strategy. Aim to obtain links from sources which are trustworthy, relevant to your site, and have a level of authority in their respective niche. Avoid the lure of link building using low quality links; as Google will penalize for that.

How do you go about obtaining these links?

  • Link to business contacts and customers (personal and professional).

  • Write guest posts and content with a link back to your site.

  • Utilize high quality industry-specific resource lists and directories.

  • Write content for news media and blogs with a link to follow back to your site.

  • Post on social media sites with your site information.

Be Social

Don’t forget your social networking! I know what you are thinking…You don’t have the time or energy to be messing around with Facebook, Twitter, and the like. While it may seem tedious or bothersome to many business owners, there is no denying that social media goes hand in hand with SEO. Consider posting most recent articles, press releases, and other information relevant to your industry on your social media platforms. By providing links for your visitors, you are giving them an easy opportunity to click through to your site, which is ultimately the goal.

Other Considerations When Incorporating SEO

Above, we took a look at how to incorporate search engine optimization into your new website. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  1. Take your time. It takes about three months for Google to start to trust your new website.

  2. Hang out with Google’s friends. Build trust with Google by becoming active in social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

  3. Be consistent. Google wants a steady stream of content posted to your site. Try to post something once a day to give Google spiders something new to crawl and index.

  4. Be diverse. Don’t rely on one search engine optimization strategy for your site.  Use many techniques, like the ones listed above, for a 360° approach to your SEO.

  5. Focus on quality over quantity. Be sure to use valuable, unique content and offsite SEO techniques such as utilizing social media, writing informative press releases, and guest posting (to name a few) in order  encourage inbound linking to build your credibility with search engines.

  6. Avoid shady SEO strategies. These include using link farms, some types of paid links, article spinning, low quality directories, and reciprocal link pages.

When you utilize these key factors and tips, you will be well on your way to a search engine-friendly site. It is then that you will reap the benefits of higher SERPs, increased web traffic, and ultimately a higher customer conversion rate.

Do you lack the time to implement your own search engine optimization strategy? We can help. Our SEO firm uses a variety of effective, legitimate onpage and offpage techniques to improve your rankings in search results and to increase quality leads. Contact us to find out more about our results-driven SEO solutions.

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