SEO For New Websites: Why You Need It and How You Can Start Using It
Your new website is ready to launch, each page crafted with care with pithy yet punchy copy, eye-catching graphics, and easy navigability on desktop and mobile devices alike. But how will people find it?
A website’s best friend is its ranking. Studies and statistics show that when people search for a product or service, they’re most likely to click on one of the top three links that appear in a Google search. The further down your site appears, the less likely it’ll attract traffic. If it appears on page two or beyond? That’s akin to banishment to Siberia.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provides the magic that can boost your Google ranking and gain your website traffic from search engines.
Start with getting at least one external link. Why? Google follows links, and for it to find your site, it must follow links—like breadcrumbs—from other sites. When it crawls to an external site that includes a link to your site, Google will discover and index your site, and then your site will “magically appear” in search results.
It’s important, too, to verify that your site settings aren’t set to noindex or blocked by robots.text. Noindex tells Google not to index your site—a setting that makes sense if you don’t want searchers to land on your checkout page but not a setting you want for your home or products and services page. For more specific details on controlling how search engines treat your site, check out this resource.
Invest time in finding & incorporating effective keywords
Spend the time to conduct proper keyword research and strategy. It’s important to create an extensive list of industry-related keywords and phrases for which you want to rank. You’ll want to incorporate long tail keywords into your website’s copy and metadata. The longer and more specific the search terms, the easier (and more likely) you’ll rank for the term. Focus keywords are those words and phrases for which you want your page found. If you’re offering a concierge property manage service, for example, that’s the phrase you’ll use.
Keyword research allows you to identify the search terms used by your target audiences. If you’re not speaking the same language, the mismatch will likely result in people missing your site in web searches for the products or services you’re offering. Once you identify those common terms, it’s easy to optimize your text to incorporate them. For best practices and tips on how to conduct effective keyword research—and what to do with the results—check out Yoast BV.
Once you’ve completed that keyword research, incorporate the words and phrases your audience is most likely to use in web searches. Regularly updated dynamic content will help audiences find your page because it’ll rank higher on web searches.
Each page should target its own set of highly relevant, closely related keywords. Your wireframe (website structure) should be divided into categories and each category should use a different search keyword. When structured in this way, each page has a clear theme and target keyword. Then you can break down categories into subcategories, if you like.
Avoid the temptation to optimize one page for too many keywords. It’s more likely that you’ll cover many topics poorly rather than “scoring” with Google by having several pages each with its own relevant information and keywords.
Google rewards pages with 2,000 or more words of content more than pages light on content. That detail takes time but improves your ranking in organic search for target keywords. Pages that present substantive content also attract more external links than pages with less content.
Use keywords strategically—avoid stuffing them everywhere, which interrupts the content’s flow. Instead, use the H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags for your primary and secondary keywords and variations for which you’re hoping to rank. Add content with a purpose—answering questions your audience might ask, for example, and providing answers on your website.
Optimize title tags with the right target SEO keywords. Those title tags are the text displayed by Google in search results and the text that displays in user browsers when they visit your page. It’s easy:
- Lead with your target keyword and then describe what users will find when they click through to reach your website.
- Don’t overfill your title tag with extra keywords—use the primary keyword, then add information about your page. Example: Terrariums – Find habitats for lizards and other reptiles
- Keep your title tags to 60 characters max, although 55 is the sweet spot, since Google may truncate longer titles.
Fill in the metadata for each of your website’s pages to get the biggest benefit from your organic search clickthrough rate. Use the target keyword in the meta description, but again don’t overstuff it. Google penalizes websites it believes are trying to “game” the system. Add a CTA (call to action) that encourages users to interact with your website by clicking through. After all, the goal of meta descriptions is to sell your site to your target audience.
Use Google Analytics
Install and familiarize yourself with Google Analytics. This tool is perfect for finding places to optimize your website further for additional specific keywords. Set it and Search Console up early in your website’s “life,” and then check the data they collect every two weeks or so.
Add a blog
While blog posts can be challenging and time consuming, it’s really time well spent, because you’re:
- Giving your audience information they can use.
- Incorporating SEO that improves your page rankings.
- Increasing search engine traffic including organic search visibility.
- Humanizing your brand and cultivating trust with current and potential customers.
- Supporting your social media presence by enabling you to direct leads from your business Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages back to your own website.
- Building and increasing your authority and establishing you as an expert in your industry.
- Improving your ROI (return on investment).
- Helping to generate even more high-quality inbound links and improving your rank for long-tail search queries.
- Increasing your leads—the more you blog, the more leads you generate because more content leads to more email opt-ins, request for quotes, form submissions and, ultimately, more sales.
- Encouraging and facilitating productive discussion between you and your customers.
- Earning you kudos and recognition from Google, which rewards sites that regularly add new content.
So yes, setting up SEO for new websites takes time, research, and patience. But the payoff is worth it—you’ll rank higher, drive more traffic to your site, generate more conversions, and increase your revenue.