15 Point SEO Checklist for Launching New Websites

Article Overview

Launching your new website is not so easy. There are many pitfalls and hurdles you need to avoid but the following list should help you set off in the right direction. If you are launching a website you need SEO to attract new business, clients and drive revenue. It’s as simple as that. The online world and I must say the Australian digital landscape is becoming seriously competitive. To stay ahead of the pack and be an online leader I’ve created a cheat sheet of points that will help your Google rankings from the beginning.

They tell me it’s so tough out there online where everyone is trying to outdo each other on Google and attract more customers.

It’s a battle and if you do not have the right equipment and tool from the beginning (the design, build and launch) of your website.

You will fall behind. No two ways around it.

Even if you have a website and it’s been live for a while make sure you implement these changes as they will help. If you find that this all sounds like mumbo jumbo, then call me and I will be glad to run things through with you. Remember, if you cannot be found on Google, you are losing business. According to StatCounter, Google owns about 93% of all Australian searches so it’s critical that your business is front and centre on page 1, even higher, if that can be achieved.

If SEO & Google rankings matters to your business then you need to follow these steps.

1. Research your keywords and write copy that reflects these.

People are searching using keywords. If for example, you are a cosmetic surgeon specialising in liposuction, make sure you have a dedicated landing page all about liposuction. Make sure you write very specific content around this that is not only factual but also a good read. Again, you don’t want to bore the pants of the reader. Remember they are not doctors and don’t want to read a whole lot of medical information. They are on your website to be sold to. They are there looking for a solution to their issue ( fat reduction) so make sure your copy addresses this. Make it a tad sales focused with information about why people should use your service and why you are simply the best in the business. Keep a copy at around 1000 words. It’s a bit of an ask and an effort to write, but Google really rewards good copy.

2. You need to write catchy title tags & meta-descriptions that correspond to the page content

The title tag and the description are what the public sees when they land on Google’s page. For this reason, it needs to be unique, relevant and sales are driven. Using the liposuction example, your description may read something like this: ‘ Need Liposuction Help? Call Dr XYZ Now.’

For the description, you can be a little more flamboyant and descriptive as you have around 25 words to really sell yourself. HINT: Look at what your competition is doing and write something different. Being creative here is a really good idea.

3. Make your on-page heads ( H1) easy to read

This is really a no brainer. The easier your headings are to read the more likely the consumer will stay on the page. Content needs to be broken with large headings. Reams of information, without appropriate headings to break up the information, are just going to increase your bounce rates and you will start to see people exiting your website very quickly.

4. Write for your customers

People often tell me when we discuss what to write on their website: ‘ all we need is to put our keywords down and everything will be fine’. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you think that you can help the SEO process by stuffing keywords into the copy, you are wrong. It will just annoy the reader and Google will not rank it. So the golden rule here is to write for the customer. Pretend they are reading a company brochure and write copy for it. Keyword stuffing is so 10 years ago.

When writing content, be informative, but be aware that the consumer is on this particular page because they have searched online for something and your page is the one they have landed on. For this reason, the copy should sell to them in a subtle way. Make sure you are always reminding them of why you are the best and only choice.

5. Forget duplicate content

Google will find out. This is not something worth risking. Google has the algorithms that can detect duplicate copy and if your website is guilty of this plagiarism watch out. Not much more to say about this except Google rewards new fresh content. If you are stuck for things to write get in touch with a web and SEO copywriter – even better call us as we have the best copywriters in the business.

6. You need internal links

Link relevant text within pages of your website. This adds structure and logic to the site and will help with your overall SEO strategy. Again, with the liposuction example; there may be an internal link from this main liposuction services landing page to an internal blog article you have written about post-operative liposuction exercises.

7. Images need alt tags

Google will not read images and alt tags about the images will tell Google what they are and help in the SEO process.

8. What’s your website’s URL structure like?

I have seen some real URL shockers. Ideally, you want to have the description of your service in the URL. This is all about website logic and having an SEO friendly URL structure that screams logic will be one of the best things you can do for your internet and SEO marketing. For the liposuction doctor, a good URL structure would be: Sydney

If your current content management system (CMS) doesn’t allow for this, then it’s seriously important to ditch the current CMS and get your website built on an SEO friendly CMS like WordPress. Why? Because WordPress creates really SEO friendly URL structures automatically.

If you are locked into a CMS because you are using a web agency that has built your website using their proprietary CMS systems – get rid of them fast. Trust me when I tell you this…WordPress is the best for SEO.

9. Make sure you have your Analytics set up

Why bother with SEO if you cannot measure the results. Analytics, if they are set up properly will allow you to see so much juicy information about your website. A number of visitors, how long they have stayed, which pages they have gone to, bounce rates etc etc. It’s such a useful tool that your SEO agency can make on-page amends based on the information they receive.

10. Register your site in Google WMT, Google My Business or Webmaster Tools

You have to do this. If you are unable to, speak to us as this is an essential step in the indexing process.

11. 301 Redirect old pages

So many people forget to do this and they wonder why their new site is no longer ranking. Basically, if you have an existing site and it’s been around for a while it would have built up some authority with Google. These old pages’ authority needs to be redirected to the new pages. That is, they need 301 redirects. This really important step is often overlooked or forgotten when new sites are launched. To maintain existing rankings and to pass the SEO juice from the old to the new, 301’s are mandatory. Ahrefs in their article 301 Redirects for SEO: Everything You Need to Know goes on to explain that a 301 redirect indicates the permanent moving of a web page from one location to another. And, is there evidence for that? Yes, Google (re)confirmed PageRank as a ranking signal last year.

12. Is your website mobile friendly?

Known as responsive web design, Google now ranks mobile sites higher than those that are not. Also, mobile sites make the browsing experience so much easier. So, if you want to keep customers happy and keep them coming back ( especially for eCommerce sites) make sure it’s built so it’s mobile compatible. Nothing affects shopping cart abandonment, bounce rates, and wasted opportunities more than a non-mobile website. You can test to see if your website is mobile-friendly here.

13. An XML sitemap is important

Have one of these in the footer of your site. This way it will be a lot easier for Google to crawl and index each page of your site.

14. Enhance page speeds for optimal performance

Ever been to a website that takes ages to load? Does your site take more than 3 seconds to appear? Are there large images on your website? Site speeds are critically important for those businesses wishing to keep clients on the site. So for this reason as well, Google will penalise sites that are too slow to load. There won’t be a penalty there will just be a preference to rank quicker loading sites. In many cases this is a simple fix – so whatever you do, do not let your website’s speed and load times affect your SEO rankings. Again, if unclear of what to do, let us know and we can run some site speed tests, work out the problems and fix them for you. You can check your website page speed here at Pingdom.

15. Lastly, pick the right SEO & web agency

The best thing that you can do is try to find an agency that can handle all your web design and SEO together. The best type of agency for this is a digital agency and the good ones are extremely hard to find. Make sure you pick wisely or else you will end up getting smashed by rip off con artists who like nothing better than to take your money without producing any results. Shop around speak to as many people as you can and at the end of the day the choices you make now will impact your business.


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