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SEO Checklist When Launching a New Website

     -     Sep 14th, 2015   -     Search Engine Optimization, Web Design   -     0 Comments

SEO Checklist There is no question that getting a new site live and indexed is a not an easy task. Failing to leverage SEO best practices may leave your site in the dark making it more difficult to get your site ranked for the desired keyword phrases. No clicks and no visitors means lost business opportunity. Having an SEO strategy in place from the beginning of a website launch will help ensure you don’t miss any important SEO elements in the development process.

When moving forward with creating your SEO strategy, it is important to remember that the objective of the search engines is to deliver the most relevant content to its users. It is crucial to take the necessary steps to help the search engines find and index your content and deliver this to the users who value your information.

SEO Checklist

So if you’re just getting started with a new website, or redesigning a new one, below is a checklist of important SEO items to keep in mind:

  1. Keyword Research: Before you start adding content to your new site, you need to do keyword research to find out which words your audience is using when they are searching for your firm or services. Strategically and appropriately using these keywords throughout the content of your website will ensure potential clients can find you in a search.
  2. Title Tags: Title tags should tell search engines what your page is about and should contain the important keywords you are targeting.  Each title tag on your web site should be unique and specific to that page.
  3. Meta Descriptions: The meta description is the brief description that displays with your search result and let’s searchers know what they can expect if they click on that page. While these have little to no value as a ranking factor, they do play an important role when it comes to the click-through rate.  Be sure to have a unique description for each page try keep it at 160 characters or fewer.
  4. Alt Tags and Image File Names:  Because search engines can’t “read” images, you need to help them by adding an alt tag for each image. This alt tag acts as a short description of an image and it can also be a great place to use your keywords and help increase your chances of showing up in image search results. However, make sure the alt text is relevant to the image. Trying to just “stuff” keywords here will hurt your SEO.
  5. URL Structure: URLs are another important, often overlooked SEO element. If your URLs have random numbers and punctuation marks, or if they are not accessible, search engines will have a hard time crawling them. As a result, search engines won’t be able to index those pages which means they won’t rank in search engines.
  6. 301 redirects:  If you are replacing your old website with a new, redesigned website, it is extremely important to set up permanent 301 redirects from the old URLS to the new URLS (assuming the URLS are different).  Not only do you want to avoid your users being taken to the dreaded Not Found page, but you also don’t want to lose any “link juice” if the old page was linked by other websites.
  7. Sitemap and Robot Files – These are important files that help search engines when indexing the website. A sitemap tells Google and other search engines what pages on your site you want to be indexed. It also ensures that pages are found quickly. Robot files, on the other hand, allow you to specify which parts of your site should be crawled and what parts to avoid. When either of these files is missing or incomplete, it makes the job of indexing a site much more difficult.
  8. Site Speed: Site speed is an increasingly important ranking factor, so don’t forget to test your site’s speed and improve loading times if necessary. No one likes waiting forever for a website to download so be sure that your site loads within 1-3 seconds. A fast-loading website is good for your visitors and user experience which equals better rankings.
  9. Mobile-Friendly: Having a website that works properly on all devices – desktops, tablets and smartphones – is extremely important. As mobile traffic is set to overtake desktop traffic, you need to make sure your site is mobile-ready and that there aren’t any issues.
  10. Google Analytics:  This free tool is a must.  It offers an endless amount of data tracking ability.  It can tell you such things as the number of visitors to your site, how they got there (organic, direct, referral, paid search, etc.), what keywords they used to find you, which page they entered the site, whether they are converting, and so very much more.

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In the end, SEO is an ongoing process. However, starting with a sound strategy from the beginning will help to ensure the website ranks well for the desired keyword terms right from the start. If you have questions about your firm’s current site or need help with a new website, let us know. We’re here to help!

 

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