Oh hi there. So you’re launching a new site and want to make sure it’s SEO ready? Cool cool. Here’s a fairly basic ten step step guide to getting more traffic to a new site.
1. Do research
Keyword and competitor research to be exact. Keywords are straightforward: when someone types a phrase related to your website into a search engine, you want to come up for that in the results. That phrase is your keyword. Every industry has a whole bunch of them.
With competitors, it’s a matter of gauging just who your online competitors are. Remember: an online competitor isn’t the same as your offline competitors. (This point applies more to brands, but I’m leaving it in!)
Let’s say you sell laptops and you have a brick and mortar shop. On the street, your competitors are PC World, Harvey Norman, and the likes. Online, if you’re starting out, your competitors are not those big brands. Big brands are long established and have a lot of trust. You won’t be toppling them for a while. Think realistically and target competitors at your level.
How do I do keyword research?
A very easy gauge is to see what your competitors are ranking for. Google phrases. See who is on page one. You also need to keep in mind how difficult it’ll be to rank. Moz have a cool Keyword difficulty tool that’ll tell you your chances of breaking in that keyword. Other than that, all you need is a Gmail account to log into Google Adwords Keyword Planner. It’ll give you traffic estimates and keyword ideas. That’s your base.
2. Get familiar with onsite SEO
10 steps. I talk about this a lot BECAUSE IT MATTERS! SEO is search enginge optimisation–the process of doing anything to your website to get it to rank higher. The ten factors are:
- Your URL
- Page Title
- Title Tags
- Meta descriptions
- Media descriptions
- Social signals
- Website speed
- Internal and external links
- CTR, Impressions, Bounce Rates, and Dwell time
In no particular order! Your keywords from point one should appear in all the above. Keep it natural and don’t shove too many in, or you’ll find yourself in trouble with the long arm of the Google law.
My basic keywords for this site are these:
3. Install Analytics and Webmaster Tools
Both are seriously useful for monitoring all kinds of stats: queries people have typed to find you, your bounce rate, your demographics. Set them up and get learning.
4. Keep usability and UI in mind
UI is like a joke: if you have to explain it, it’s gone wrong. UI is user interface. Its brother is UX, or user experience.
Both of these are the principle of making your website as easy to use as possible. If you’ve got a cluttered, difficult site, you’ll send your readers running. Which, in turn, will negatively impact your SEO as your bounce rate will climb and your dwell time will plummet–which is a screaming flag to Google that something’s not right.
Find a luddite. Get them to use your website. See if they can figure it out.
5. Make a sitemap and upload it
Sitemaps do great things for your SEO–they’re also a long-standing practice of web design. Sitemaps exist as way for you to tell search engines about your site: your layout, your content, any changes you make. If you don’t have a sitemap, get one asap. You can build one yourself via an XML file or you can use third party tools like XML Sitemap to do it for you.
Once, you’ve got the file, submit it in your Webmaster dash.
6. Have a blog
Use it. If you’re on WordPress, make sure you’ve actually got a proper first post. If possible, have several posts ready to go. The more good-quality, original content you post, the better it is for your SEO and rankings. I’ve written enough words about content marketing and blogging to warrant an ebook, so I’ll link to a couple of posts here:
7. Get social up and running; social signals are fairly important to SEO
Social signals–shares, retweets, pins, etc.–tell Google that your website it trustworthy. The more legit shares you get the better. Google, being biased, favours +1s and shares on Google+, but the myriad other social media platforms are plenty important.
Also Google+ is lame and no one uses it, so please continue to ignore it, SEO signals bedamned.
Make sure all your blog posts have a share box. Install Facebook ‘like’ boxes and Twitter follow options on your homepage too.
This graphic is a bit silly, but you get the point. (SEO, do you take social media to be your lawfully wedded cohort?)
8. Keep an eye on your permalinks
I see a lot of websites with odd permalinks: example.com/index#html.com or non-customised URLs like example.com/?p=666. Your permalinks are another way to give Google an idea as to what your website is about. The more Google can tell about your website, the better it is for your SEO.
If you’re changing your site, KEEP your URLs the same. Change them and you’ll lose SEO value.
Once a post has been live for a bit, DO NOT TOUCH THE URL. DONNNNNNN’T DO IT.
9. Do/get a site audit
Site audits are great to keep up with SEO. SEO is a forever-changing beast. Once upon a time, the entire discipline consisted of spamming directories with links to your website. That’d get you banned in a hot second now.
SEO encompasses an awful lot: everything from link-building to writing quality content. Getting a site audit ensures you’ll follow the best practices and it’ll keep your site ticking over, penalty-free.
10. Optimise your site for speed
There is certain irony here because I know my site is slow as shit but this blog is not worth the cost of expensive hosting. Soz.
Website speed is a factor in SEO and rankings, but it’s not nearly as important as good content or keywords in your title tags, for example. It’s still important–and anything that makes your site better for the user is always a plus. Google have a really cool tool called PageSpeed Insights that lets you test your page’s speed and tells you what to do to fix it.
You’re welcome. 🙂
Want to thank me for imparting my knowledge? Follow me on Twitter, where I never actually talk about SEO. Brand confusion. I got this, you guys.