Launching a new website can be an exciting yet daunting task. You’ve put in months of hard work designing, building, and creating content for your site. You’re eager to get it out into the world and start attracting visitors. However, with so much competition online, getting noticed is easier said than done.This is where search engine optimization (SEO) enters the picture.
Implementing an SEO strategy, even for a young site, can help improve your search visibility and rankings. It takes time and consistency, but will pay dividends down the road by earning you more organic traffic. In this post, we’ll explore some key SEO tactics to focus on during your site’s first year. Follow this SEO checklist and you’ll be off to a strong start.
Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword Research is the core of every excellent SEO plan. You need to know what keywords and phrases your audience is using to search for content related to your niche. There are several free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Soovie to uncover this data.
Make a list of seed keywords, then use the tools to discover longer variations and phrases. You’ll also see monthly search volume data so you can gauge interest and competition for keywords. Focus first on less competitive terms that still have decent search volume.Going after ultra high-volume keywords right away likely won’t be fruitful.
Optimize Pages for Target Keywords
Now that you’ve collected a strong list of target keywords, it’s time to optimize your site content. These keywords need to appear prominently throughout your newly published pages. Aim to feature them in titles, headers, meta descriptions, image alt text, and naturally in the body content as well.
Ideally, each page or blog post should focus on just one or two main keywords. Don’t go overboard trying to cram in all your targets. Google will see right through thin content padded with keywords. Write first for visitors, sprinkling in relevant keywords as makes sense. Your copy should sound natural while still placing keywords strategically.
Create Sitemaps and Submit to Search Engines
XML sitemaps serve as a roadmap for search bots to better crawl and index your site. Manually creating and submitting sitemaps helps Google, Bing and other engines efficiently discover new content on a site. There are free sitemap generator tools available online to easily create XML sitemaps.
After generating a sitemap file, submit it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. You should also submit individual URLs as you publish new blog posts and pages. This signals to search engines that new content is available for indexing. Consistently maintaining and updating your sitemaps means search bots can crawl your site more intelligently.
Set Up Google Analytics and Search Console
Google Analytics and Google Search Console (previously named Google Webmaster Tools) are free platforms that provide invaluable SEO insights. You should set up and connect accounts with both as soon as your site goes live.
In Analytics, you can view traffic data including sources, top landing pages, keyword queries, conversions and more. Search Console shows how Google specifically is crawling, indexing, and ranking your pages. It alerts you to technical SEO issues like 404 errors, provides manual crawling options, and offers keyword ranking data.
Combining insights from both tools guides your ongoing SEO efforts. You’ll see how visitors find your site, which terms they search for, what content resonates well and where more optimization is needed.
Produce Fresh, Quality Content Frequently
There simply aren’t shortcuts around this one – regularly publishing fresh, unique content is required to rank well long-term. Search engines, especially Google, highly weigh sites that consistently add new, quality pages showcasing expertise on a topic. Content can take the form of blog posts, videos, tools, research…get creative!
Aim for at least one new in-depth piece of content per week as you’re first establishing your site’s authority. More frequent posts are even better to accelerate growth, if your resources allow. Make content central to your operation from day one, rather than an afterthought. Support inbound marketing efforts by promoting all newly published pages on social media. Email subscribers, paid ads and influencer partnerships also help amplify content further to attract links and eyeballs.
Request Backlinks from Relevant Sites
Backlinks remain one of Google’s top ranking signals. As an unknown, new site you face an uphill battle getting established domains to link back to you though. Start by identifying websites in your space that might be open to featuring or interviewing you as a guest. Blog comment outreach also works well, just ensure your comments add value rather than blatant self-promotion.
As you build relationships with influencers in your industry and produce killer content, earned backlink opportunities will come more naturally over time. Have patience, focus on building trust and becoming a thoughtful leader.the backlinks will follow accordingly.
Launching a fresh website is no small undertaking, but implementing SEO from day one cuts through considerable noise online. Follow this checklist covering keyword research, sitemaps, analytics, content and backlink building to ensure your site gets discovered. Search visibility takes time, so stay patient and persistent with these core strategies. Before you know it, you’ll have built an asset that draws targeted organic traffic from search engines on autopilot.