SEO is a long-term process and results are rarely immediate, but the first steps you take after you launch a new website can have a big impact on the website’s potential to rank in Google search for its target keywords and start bringing in traffic, leads and sales. Get things right at the beginning, from an SEO perspective, and you’ll save yourself hours and hours of work further down the line fixing a website that wasn’t originally built with SEO in mind.
Below, we’ve listed seven first steps that you should take whenever you launch a new website to make sure it’s designed from the very beginning to rank for its target keywords and attract as much traffic as possible from organic search.
Structure your website for your target keywords
The structure of your website has a huge effect on its ability to rank. In order to rank effectively for your target keywords, you need to structure your website so that each page targets its own set of closely related, highly relevant keywords.
For example, pretend you’re launching a website for a men’s shoe shop. You sell a variety of different men’s shoes, from leather shoes and boots to sports shoes. You’d like each category to rank for its target keywords and attract searchers looking for a specific type of shoe. Research also shows that long, detailed pages are more likely to get links than short pages. As time-consuming as it might be to develop long-form content for each of your pages as you build your website, doing so can pay for itself in a greater number of inbound links to each page.
For optimal on-page SEO, include your target keywords in your content occasionally, but don’t overdo it. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to detect keyword stuffing, and it will usually lead to your website being penalized in the rankings for its target keywords. Keep your title tag under 60 character (55 is recommended) so that Google doesn’t truncate it due to excessive length.
Add engaging, action-focused meta descriptions
The meta description is the short snippet of information that appears below your website’s title and URL in Google’s search engine results. Although meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, it’s important to give each page on your website a relevant, keyword-focused meta description. Now it’s time to move onto the next step in the SEO process: building links. A great way to start building links to your website is to reach out to your personal network — friends, influencers and colleagues — and ask them to help promote your website.
This strategy could involve content marketing, or it could simply be a matter of reaching out to website owners to highlight link building opportunities. There’s no one “right” way to do SEO — since every website is different, everyone’s SEO strategy is ever so slightly unique.
Are you ready to start optimizing your website for search?
If you’ve built your website and implemented the seven steps outlined above, you’re well on the path towards SEO success. As you start to generate traffic, stay up to date on the SEO metrics that matter for your website with our practical guide to SEO metrics.