June 8th, 2016
Search Engine Optimization, Web Design & Development
Let’s face it — launching a new website might be one of the most important things you can do for your brand, but it comes with a number of concerns that can leave businesses feeling confused and intimidated. After all, an effective website is more than attractive design — you also need to find ways of infusing SEO into every aspect of your digital presence so that the right customers can find you, and help your business thrive.
Building a new website is a time-consuming and strategy-heavy process — especially because the algorithms used in ranking continue to change. If you’re overwhelmed by information, with no idea of how to start your SEO journey, the following steps should form a sturdy foundation for building a successful new website.
It’s hard to start a discussion about SEO without uttering the term “keywords” or “key phrases”. These are the simple optimization techniques that you should be using (appropriately), throughout every aspect of your website, including your URLs, content, title tags and meta-descriptions, image names, and more. The trick is to avoid choosing the most obvious words, and instead think about your terms according to how your audience might search for issues in your niche.
You can use a keyword research site like AdWords get an idea of how much traffic each potential keyword gets a month. But, don’t automatically choose the highest-traffic options, instead look at the competition level of the word or phrase to determine how much work you’ll need to get noticed above your competitors. Pick keywords that are relevant, capable of prompting traffic, and relatively low in competition wherever possible.
After you’ve figured out your keywords, it’s time to start considering URLs. Your URLs are crucial for drawing in traffic, and keeping search engines happy – but they’re frequently overlooked in favor of other SEO considerations. Often, URLs with long, meaningless strings of numbers or punctuation marks are difficult to access for search engines and potential traffic alike. In other words, poor URLs could mean that search engines can’t crawl and index your pages – making it impossible to rank highly.
When you’re listing your website on Google and Bing, make sure all your content is indexed with a sitemap.xml, and ensure each URL is search-engine-friendly by naming with clear keywords and phrases. After all, you want potential visitors and search engines to instantly know what each page is about when they look at the link.
Just as URLs are important in creating the right brand image – so are the names of your pages. Title tags are what people see in search engine results when they look for your product or service. To get the best click through rate, and make a good impression, each page should have a unique title tag that clearly defines what the page is about. Try to include keywords where possible, but be careful not to stuff phrases in places where they don’t fit.
Similarly, your meta description also works to summarize the content on any given page, and shows up beneath the title in the search engine results. This part of your listing is more for your readers than search engines, as a well-written meta-description can make all the difference in convincing a user to click through to your page.
The most valued websites are the ones that contain plenty of current, relevant, and useful information about a topic, service, or product. If your content offers values to your user, then search engines will value your website. Of course, the complicated part of this equation is figuring out what “value” means to your specific audience, in your specific niche.
Try to consider your brand from the perspective of a customer, and think about what they would want to see before you worry about what a search engine might be looking for. In this instance, it’s the humans – not the search engines, who will be sharing your pages, bookmarking your website, and subscribing to your content. What’s more, remember that “content” doesn’t just refer to blog posts, it also includes:
Launching a new website can be an exciting experience, but if you ignore the right SEO tactics, you could find yourself lost in the dark and forgotten pages of search results. Use the tips above when building your digital presence, and remember to keep track of your progress by monitoring your results with tools such as Google analytics, so that you can build on positive trends, and remove strategies that aren’t working.
What’s more, remember the value of offsite SEO, by using fresh backlinks and sharing content across social networking platforms. The more you work to build your online presence outside of the search engine results, the more your ranking in those results will improve, as social media presence and backlinks now play a huge role in optimization.
What did you do to establish SEO in the foundation of your website when you first started, and how are you refreshing those techniques today? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for more tips on SEO and content marketing? Download our guide: Why Content Marketing is the Key to Long Term SEO Success
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