SEO for a New Website: Jump-Start Your Site Rankings
What to Expect in the First 30 Days
SEO for a new website is a long-term investment and results can take anywhere from six months to a year, but the steps you take in the first 30 days after a website launch can have a huge impact on how your website will rank in Google for target keywords and start to bring in traffic, leads and sales. Getting things right from the very beginning will save you hours of work down the line fixing a website that wasn’t originally built with SEO in mind. One way to achieve this goal is to make sure your website is optimized before you launch it.
Whether you’re working with an SEO contractor or a digital marketing agency, having a solid on-page optimization strategy will ensure that your website starts receiving traffic right away. Keyword research, optimized website content, appropriate meta tags, image optimization and internal linking are all important elements that need to be completed and checked prior to a website launch.
While an SEO pre-launch check is important to drive traffic to your new website, there are also some technical considerations to keep in mind that can help with this. A good developer will make certain your website functionality is working properly so that your target audience has an overall good website experience. This means testing web forms, social sharing buttons, and any third-party tools, like a CRM or ecommerce platform—as well as installing the necessary plugins, add-ons and extensions, like the spam blocker Akismet.
You’ll also want to create a trusted environment where potential customers feel confident in giving their information when filling out a contact form, subscribing to a newsletter, or making a purchase. Your developer should implement Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification on your website—it’s that little lock in the browser search bar that indicates a secure website.
Lastly, implementing a caching solution designed to speed up the website is important—a big factor in Google rankings—and also setting up automatic backups for the website and any databases tied to it.
What to Expect Immediately After Launch
Now that you have a brand new website that is fully-optimized, secure and fast, how will people find out about your business?
Google is essentially a giant database that has a record of pretty much every website in the entire world. Google uses bots that crawl the internet, looking for new pages to index. But how does Google know which pages to index on your website?
There are some things your developer should be doing immediately after your website launches too. Making sure everything carried over from the staging environment is the first thing. Checking for errors, making sure redirects work, and fixing any broken links are all part of a dev-to-live website audit. Another important task is cross browser testing on all major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer/Microsoft Edge), paying special attention to how images and video appear, and making appropriate CSS changes if necessary.
Now that your site has gone live and been tested, you’ll want to consider putting together an amplification and outreach strategy so people know about your business and your new website.
Plan for a successful launch month by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who will help you amplify your business and promote the new website?
- What (if any) existing relationships do you have with websites, directories, social media or local resources?
- When do you plan to execute your launch plan? First day of launch? One week after launch?
- Where do you want to submit a press release or guest blog?
- How do you plan to execute your launch strategy and plan?
Here are some great strategies to amplify reach:
- Writing and submitting a press release
- Creating social posts promoting the website
- Setting up a small ad campaign
- Publishing your first blog
Over the Next 30 Days
Now that the site is live and error free, Google has indexed your pages, and you’ve implemented a launch plan, you need a way to measure your traffic. That’s where Google Analytics and Google Search Console set-up come into play. Google Analytics will tell you how much traffic is coming to your website, which pages are performing best, how much time users are spending on your page and much more. Google Search Console gives you deeper insights into some of the more technical aspects of your website, and you can work with your SEO specialist to determine the appropriate KPIs.
Do the pages on your website load fast from everywhere? What about across devices? Website page speed is another important ranking factor that Google is putting weight into more and more. Doing a simple Google Page Speed Test will show you how to improve site speed (especially for mobile!), usually minifying CSS or images.
Google has recently announced that they are focusing on mobile-first indexing, meaning that Google will predominantly use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. Working with your website developer to make sure that your website is responsive for multiple devices is key in helping your website show up on Page 1 of Google search results.
Also recommended is a quick usability test to identify issues in the navigation or content that’s stopping users from having a good experience.
Some Final Considerations
An area that is often overlooked after site launch is social media. Make sure that all of the accounts that exist are complete and optimized, make sure NAP (name, address, phone number) and website URL are consistent. Another pro tip is to claim your business name on all major social media platforms, even if you don’t plan on using them now. You might want to use them someday, and you don’t want to run into a situation in which another person or business is using your brand name.
If you’re working with an SEO specialist or digital marketing agency right after launch (if you’re not, you really should be!), submit your new website to all major directories; and if you’re a local business, make sure you identify and submit to those as well.
Find a Custom SEO Program for Your Business!
One of the best things you can do to keep traffic coming to your website and continue to see rankings increase is to invest in a comprehensive SEO program for your business.
Don’t let the new website momentum slow down! Work with us to help develop a custom SEO program for your business!