There’s no doubt that it’s a challenge to get a new site live and in the search index. But what if you don’t know the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tips and tricks that will get your site to the top, and fast? Not knowing the best SEO practices will leave your site in the dark, which means that no one will know that you even exist. There are no clicks, no visitors, no sales.
The truth is that SEO is not rocket science. Yeah, mastering subtle nuances takes time and effort, but the truth is, you don’t need to spend years studying the basics to optimise your site properly, particularly if you’re using the right tool.
So if you’re only just getting started with a new website, this post offers clear advice on how to get a strong SEO start and shows you where you can get the support you need to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished.
What Are Search Engines Looking For When It Comes To Ranking?
Search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing want to guide users to websites and links that are important to what they’re looking for. But how is significance determined?
There are four main features that search engines look for when deciding the site is more important and should appear higher in the Search Engine Results Pages ( SERPs):
- Content: Is the information important to what the user is looking for?
- Performance: Does the site load quickly, and does it work properly?
- Authority: Is the material useful enough to connect to, or do other authoritative sites use the website as a guide or provide the information that is available?
- User experience: How does the website look and respond? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it look convincing? Does it have a large bounce rate?
These are the most important elements that you need to concentrate on when optimising your platform. Here are the main SEO measures you need to take to make sure your site has what search engines are searching for.
Step 1: Choose A Great Domain Name
Choose the best domain name for your site. Think about this as an important piece of digital real estate when selecting:
Spelling: If the business name can be easily misspelt, it can also be easily overlooked. Although a lot of people will search online and hopefully find you if your SEO is right, a lot of others will find out about you through word of mouth, so if your domain name sounds a little too much like someone else, they could end up missing it. So make sure that your domain name is simple, easy to spell and easy to remember.
The power of branding. It’s easier to develop a reputation and links to branded domains as people take a company in the UK more seriously than keyword-keyword.uk that looks spammy and doesn’t fool anyone. A branded domain will help create faith online and increase the value of your website’s content. When searching for domain ideas, use a domain search tool like the generator over at Shopify that helps you come up with domain name ideas as well as checking if the name you want is available.
Having keywords that you’re trying to rank for in your domain isn’t as important as it used to be. In September 2012, Google published an update to the Exact Match Domain (EMD) to prevent those low-quality keyword-keyword-keyword.com sites from ranking well simply because they had their keywords in their domain names. So while there’s no risk in creating a domain with a keyword in it, don’t stress about this.
What If You Plan To Acquire An Old Domain Instead of A Brand New One?
This is absolutely fine, but if you’re buying a domain that was purchased by someone else, make sure the previous owner hasn’t done something shady to get the domain penalised. Do your research and find out more about buying pre-owned domains and how to make sure there are no problems you may inherit.
You can start creating your site now that you have a domain for.
Step 2: Research The Right Keywords
Before you start adding content to your website, you need to do the right keyword research to find out the terms your target users use when they’re looking for your goods or services.
Before you start investigating your keyword, ask yourself:
What’s your page about? Is it a product or service you’re offering, like water heaters or blown pipe repairs? Or a helpful guide on how to repair a waste disposal device. If you know what is going to be the main topic and what details you’re going to include, you’ll have a lot easier time deciding the type of keyword you’re going to need to hit on that list.
What’s the main aim of the page? What are your key objectives for this page? Is it about selling a product or service, or is it about having more information that can help users make an informed decision? By defining the main objective of a website, you will be able to concentrate on more specific keywords rather than generic ones.
Now, let’s look at a quick example to show you how to do your keyword analysis.
So you’re providing water heater repair services. Use this as the starting point for your studies. So, add “water heater repair” to a range of keyword analysis tools to get more feedback about what word and phrase combinations people are using to search for these services.
You may use software such as:
Free WordStream keyword tool (also indicates how much a keyword is searched)
If you click the Questions tab, you can also see the popular questions that users have about “repairing the water heater” when they search Google, which is useful as well.
But the quickest choice is to use Google suggest. That’s because it offers you search-based recommendations right before you press enter. These recommendations are based on the most common searches that people do while searching for the product or service you are selling.
Here’s what happens when you write “Water heater repair” in Google Search:
So, gather all the keywords you’ve learned using the resources above, and then group them based on stuff like:
- Product type: e.g. repair of electrical water heaters, repair of hybrid water heaters, repair of Ariston water heaters
- Location: e.g. water heater repair in Birmingham, water heater repair near [then write the location of your business here]
- Cost: e.g. water heater repair cost, water heater repair cost estimate.
Could a group of keywords be useful as it helps to address specific questions that prospects may have about your product or service?
So, when writing the contents of your post, make sure it contains information about:
- Product: What kind of water heaters can you repair?
- Price: Is there a special deal or discount for the week?
- Location: Do you cover my area as well?
- Properties: Is your team skilled in the repair of various forms of water heaters?
- Extras: How quickly can a team get in and fix it?
If your list has so many keywords and you don’t know which ones will give you more traffic, take a look at the average monthly search volume and see how much demand there is and how frequently people search for a particular keyword. For these purposes, you can use a Search Engine Optimiser tool to get suggestions for keywords as well as approximate search volumes for your keywords.
You may also conduct SEO competition research to see what your rivals are doing in terms of improving their pages.
Step 3: Craft Your Content
High-quality content is the foundation of your communications with consumers, and the way sites achieve top rankings. By content, we refer to something that you publish on your website that educates and attracts new customers, like:
- Website content
- Engaging Blog posts
- Courses, Ebooks and white papers
- Infographics, Brochures and frequently asked questions (FAQs) with answers
- Sales pages
- Interactive Pages
- Pictures, diagrams and more
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what users are looking for when trying to find a page like yours, you’ll need to start writing and refining your content, so it’s perfect. Search engines will 100% crawl your website and try to find out what it’s all about, and then determine what queries each of your web pages should be listed for.
Make sure you write to your users first, and then to search engines. Your content needs to be new and appealing. Otherwise, you won’t have the chance to turn users to customers. Never surrender the quality and persuasiveness of your content to SEO-friendly content.
When writing content for both users and search engines, pay particular attention to:
Titles. Write catchy titles that capture the attention of your users.
Keywords. Focus more on providing interesting and valuable content that takes users to your website. You should also, combine some of your most relevant keywords together and focus on adding different keyword patterns instead of adding as many keywords as you can.
Topics – pages need to concentrate on a specific topic. At the same time, make sure that you do not customise more than one of your sites page for the same product or service as this not only creates confusion, but you also have two pages vying for the same keywords, this doesn’t necessarily apply when it comes to local SEO however you should try to ensure that you don’t have any duplicated content and images. You don’t want to be a rival of your own, do you?
Quality – Your content needs to be unique and relevant. The reason people should be coming to your site is that they’re looking for information to solve a problem, so make sure you can give it to them, so they’re not going somewhere else. Find out what Google sees as high-quality content and how to build it on your blog.
Freshness – Please add new content on a consistent basis. You can build a blog where you can continuously share information that your visitors may find useful, or share ebooks or whitepapers.
Length – We suggest that you have more than 500 words on a post. But the concept is this: your content should be long enough to address questions from visitors about your product or service.
Step 4: Optimise your code.
Although writing content for people is very important, you need to pay attention to how to customise your website code so that search engines can read your content as well.
Let’s look at how you can better optimise your web code and make your web rank higher in search engines:
SEO-Friendly URL Structure
URLs are another critical aspect, but they are often neglected. If your URLs have shoddy numbers and punctuation errors then, much like users, search engines will have a difficult time understanding what that page is all about.
Here are a few things to bear in mind if you want to achieve an SEO-friendly website URL structure:
Consolidate the versions of the web and non-www domains. If when you type www.example.co.uk into your web browser, then you type in example.co.uk without the www and the “non-www” version doesn’t link to www.example.co.uk then this will need to be fixed.
This will ensure that search engines can see two separate pages that are considered redundant content. This is not beneficial for your overall SEO activities as it dilutes your inbound links, as external sites can connect to www.example.co.uk and example.co.uk. So all you need to do is set your preferred domain, with or without www, and enforce 301 redirects for all other versions of your URL that will redirect visitors to your preferred domain. It doesn’t matter which version of the URL you select as long as you are consistent with it. Here’s how to redirect using 301 to any site.
Avoid dynamic URLs – Dynamic URLs are nasty, and they don’t say much about what’s on your page. But instead of using www.example.co.uk/? You may want to use static URLs like www.example.co.uk / topic-name. Descriptive URLs help visitors to find out what the page is about just by looking at the link.
Using canonical tags – These tags tell the search engine bots which parts of the content are original and which are duplicates. This way, the bot will move over the duplicates and only index and connect the credit to the primary item. You’ll need to add the rel=”canonical “tag to your URL to indicate a canonical URL. Find out how to add a canonical name.
Build a sitemap XML – Sitemaps are like a search engine guide. They have every page on your site, so make sure the search engine bots don’t forget something. You can use tools such as the XML Sitemap Builder to automatically create a sitemap for you. After you have built your XML sitemap, you can apply it to the Google Search Console and also to the Bing Webmaster Tools so that search engines can crawl and index your website more easily.
Use Title Tags – Each one of your web pages requires a unique title tag that identifies what that page is all about. You should pay attention to the title tag because it’s what people see when searching for your products or service in the search engine results. In addition, the title tag also appears in posts shared on social media sites such as Facebook, for example. So not only do you need to include your keyword in the title, but you also need to make it attractive enough to convince people to click.
So, when you’re writing your title tags, make sure you:
- Have a unique title tag on each page.
- Include the name of your item or the main subject you cover on the page.
- Keep the title tag between 42 and 60 characters, including spaces.
This is just an estimate because it is no longer just about the number of characters, but also about the number of pixels that the characters occupy. Try not to go over 60 characters to make sure your title isn’t cut off.
Meta Description Tags – The meta descriptions on each page need to summarise the content on your page, as the tags will appear in the search engine results along with the title tags and will inform the searcher of what’s on the page. While it may not help you to rank higher on its own, a well-written meta description can have a major impact on whether customers decide to click through or not, so it should be written to “sell.”
When writing a meta description, make sure:
- You create a unique description for different each page on your site.
- Write about the features or ideas that users would gain from
- It must be between 100 and 150 characters, including spaces.
- It includes a call-to-action that encourages people to click.
Headings – Heading tags are used to visibly break content into sections (from a user experience point of view) and inform search engine bots what that page is about.
When it comes to headings, try to ensure you:
Always have an h1 tag on every page, but never more than one h1 tag.
Make sure that each heading is relevant to the section it represents
Alt tags – Search engine bots can’t see images, so you’ll need to help them by adding an alt tag to each image. Alt tags act as a brief explanation of an image. The alt tag can be a great place to use some of your keywords and help increase your chances of being seen in results in an image search.
However, make sure that the alt text is relevant to the image. For example, you should not label an image of a dog with the alt text “available online marketing services in London” as it makes no sense at all. Don’t try tricking the search engines this way, as it might hurt your SEO.
The same goes for the image of your logo. You need to use the logo markup to protect the logo of your brand and prevent it from being hijacked in the way Gregg’s logo was.
With so many components that need to be optimised on every single page of your website, you will find that it saves time if you use a tool like Search Engine Optimiser. The tool will notify you to any problems the site has, such as missing or duplicating the titles or descriptions, having more than one h1 tag, missing ALT tags, and so on, so you won’t have to manually check these items on every page of your site.
Interlinking corresponds to linking certain phrases or words within the body text of your pages to other pages, where applicable. If you look at this blog post, you will see that we ourselves, often link to another one of our own posts or to a specific page on our website. Basically, we link to other resources that are relevant to a specific subject and that we believe you might find useful.
Why is the internal link so important?
Internal links that are obvious to the reader help to guide people around your website to other relevant content that might be of interest to them based on what they are already reading.
It helps search engines to better understand the relevance of the content on the page and could also lower the bounce rate. If someone lands on a page on your site and quickly finds a link to something they’re interested in, they’ll probably click on it instead of leaving the site.
Here are a few interlinking errors that you should avoid making:
Always link to the same keyword or keyword phrase, hoping it will increase the ranking for that keyword. This is over-optimisation and may harm your SEO. So, in order for anchor texts to work for you, they need to be relevant to the content in which you have placed them.
Over linking. Don’t link to another page every third word on each page. Only add a link if it is useful and relevant.
Broken links. Make sure that you always check the pages you link to so that they are functional.
Step 5: The Technical Setup Side of Things
You Need To Set up & Verify Your Google Analytics Account
You need to assess your SEO efforts to see how your website operates. How many visitors are attracted to your site every month? Which pages are the most popular of all? How much time do site visitors usually spend on your website? These are only a few of the items you can discover using an analytics tool, so make sure you set up your analytics program now so you can start gathering data right away.
Google Analytics is a very good option because it is free, easy to set up and use and provides lots of useful information about the behaviour of your visitors on your site.
Get Set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
Google and Bing webmaster tools allow you to go deeper and see things like who links to your site, which search terms are sending traffic to your website, whether your site has any issues that need to be addressed quickly, and more.
Install an SEO plugin
If you have a WordPress website, ensure you install an SEO plugin to help you optimise your content. Yoast is one of our favourites. Why? It is online, free, user friendly and filled with powerful features. Having installed an SEO plugin like this will allow you to easily meet all of the suggested SEO requirements.
The robotx.txt file contains instructions for the search engines on which pages of your site should be ignored during the crawl. This file essentially contains a list of commands like allowing and disallowing that tells web crawlers which web pages they can or can not read. So, if the URL is disallowed in your robots.txt files, the URL and its contents will not appear in the Google search results.
Make sure you don’t stop search engines from indexing your website. While some favour to use the “Disallow:/” command while their site is under development, Remember to uninstall it until the site is able to host users.
Step 6: Earn Links
Links are an essential ranking factor and continue to be a strong indicator of what content is important and relevant.
That being said, it’s not about getting hundreds of links quickly; it’s about getting quality and authority sites to link back to your website.
Currently, your link building strategy should be about establishing links, which you can do by:
Creating interesting content ( e.g. guest posts or infographics) that is so important and engaging that people want to connect to it and share it with others.
Promote your content so that it reaches the correct people who are motivated to link to and share your content online.
Build relationships with influencers and convince them that your content is of the highest quality to share.
If you are using our Search Engine Optimiser, check the “Increase Popularity” tab. Not only will it tell you where your links come from, but it will also show you where your competitors are getting their links from so that you can get a good idea of what other websites might be interested in linking to your website.
Step 7: Things to check post-launch
Usability is very important for SEO, and it also helps keep your users happy. Good customer experience refers to a site that is easy to navigate, with information that is easy to locate and use.
Test the usability of your site yourself (or ask your friends) as if you were a customer. Check to make sure that there are no more steps than necessary in the checkout process and that it is easy for customers to navigate through your site, purchase a product and contact you.
Test your site speed
Site speed is an extremely significant ranking factor, so don’t forget to test the speed of your site and, if necessary, improve the loading times. You can use the Google PageSpeed Views tool to check the loading times for each of your web pages. If the speed is below 90, you’ll need to make some changes, such as optimising and compressing images, and loading scripts to your website’s main content wherever possible.
It is helpful at this time to have a web developer, as you can give them a link to the website speed report and ask them to follow Google’s guidance to improve the loading time of your pages.
Check your mobile website
It is extremely important to have a website that works properly on all devices – desktops, tablets and smartphones. With mobile devices now driving 56 percent of traffic to top sites and now rating web-friendly, you need to make sure your website is web-ready, and there are no issues at all. The value of mobile design can be learned here more.
The “Review your site” tab in the Search Engine Optimiser will let you know if your website is fast enough and will also analyse if you have any broken links that disrupt the user’s journey and creates a negative overall website experience. To help make your website mobile-friendly, you can also visit the “Adopt Mobile” tab.
If you follow these steps, you will be setting a good base for your website so that it can receive more organic traffic. But remember to be patient, because it takes some time for search engines to index your website and start ranking it.
Also, there are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO. If you do anything shady to speed up the process, you might get caught and be penalised, and it’s not worth it. The only thing you need to focus on is creating a site that gives users what they’re looking for and optimises it for search engines so that people can find it much easier on the internet.
The bottom line: it takes some time, and it’s a huge amount of effort, but it pays off if you stick to it and do it right.
If you found this step by step guide on how to do SEO on a new website helpful then we’d love to know, alternatively, if we’ve missed something that you think others could find useful then drop us a comment below.