New Website SEO Checklist from Flawless Inbound
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the ongoing process of optimizing your website to get organic (un-paid) traffic from the search engine results page in Google or Bing. To be successful at SEO, you should be making certain changes to your website design and content that makes your site more attractive to a search engine. The final goal is that search engines will display your website as a top result.
If you are getting a new website, or updating your current one for SEO purposes, we've created a comprehensive checklist to make sure you cover all your bases. Remember results take time - in fact, it can take 6 months or more to start seeing results from your SEO efforts. So be patient and keep optimizing!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Checklist:
Before Website Launch
Before launching your site, optimize it for search engines:
- Add a site title - Even if you're using a landing page/splash you should add a Site Title, as the text may be indexed by search engines. We recommend you keep the title under 60 characters and include one keyword relevant to the content of the pages.
- Add a site description - Add a short (50-300 characters), relevant, readable description of your site to your SEO site description. This text may appear below your site title in search results, depending on what your visitors search for.
- Your location and contact information - Your site has a better chance of appearing in searches for your area if Google and your customers can see your location. If you have a business with a physical location, we recommend you create a Contact Us page with your address and a map.
Alternately, if you don't want to encourage people dropping by, take off your address. To be able to track all traffic that wants to contact you and avoid spam emails, we encourage clients to take away any email addresses from the website and have contact forms instead.
- Buy a custom domain - Using a custom domain (rather than the generic URL) strengthens your brand and makes it easier for potential customers to find you in search results.
- Connect to social media - Set up social sharing to link to your social media profiles, push content as you publish it, and encourage people to share your pages. Link these posts to your websites (Blogs, relatable service, product info page, etc.).
- Add social sharing images - Social sharing images display on social media when you or someone else shares your site. Add one to represent your whole site, one for each page individually, and one for each blog post, product, and event.
- Add unique page content - Ensure each page on your site has unique content. Do not repeat content from one page to another. You can use the same template but avoid using similar keywords on multiple pages and making all key pages redundant.
- Check your page and title formats - Control how your page titles appear in browser tabs, social shares, and search engine results. You can set this for page titles, the homepage, and collection items (such as blog posts or products). Be sensitive to the formatting and titles. Titles must always have keywords.
- Create a custom 404 page - Customize the 404 Page with links to some of the popular or important areas of your site. This encourages visitors who encounter a broken link to stay on your site, rather than immediately going back to search results.
- Choose your blog post URL format - If you're blogging, choose how your blog post-URLs are automatically created. While you can choose any options that fit your needs, we recommend you always include the post's title.
- Check URL slugs - It’s best to have URLs that reflect the content of the page. If you save a blog post, product, or event before adding a title, the URL slug will be a random string of characters. Check the slugs for each page and item on your site, and change any that don't use real words.
- Ensure SSL is enabled - Confirm your SSL panel is set to the Secure setting. Sites without SSL may be penalized. If your website collects information, it must always be protected.
- Review your content - Being informative is more important than being visual. To ensure people that have landed on your website, stay on your website and convert with you - make sure the content is not all fluff.
Related: 5-Point Checklist for E-Commerce SEO
At Website Launch
As soon as your site is launched, we recommend you:
- Set-up Google Search Console and Bing webmaster - After you've updated your site, you must verify it with Google Search Console and check if Google has been able to crawl your site and set-up and verify manage your site’s presence in Bing and Yahoo search results.
- Request that Search Engines index your site - This asks the bots to review your site and update the search results with your new content. This is especially important if you have updated a website.
- Set-up Analytics - We ensure to have websites track visits and other reporting on our sites through Google and HubSpot. This means setting up the tracking code and filters on the tracking mediums.
After Launching Your Website
As you add or edit content, ensure that your site stays as friendly as possible for search engines.
- Keyword Tracking - At Flawless we monitor our clients' keywords closely and do bi-weekly reporting.
- Check Analytics Reporting - Watch for common trends and patterns of visitor tracking and reporting. This will help you optimize pages with the least traffic.
- Make constant updates - Continue optimizing your site by following on an ongoing basis. A website project is never complete. The maintenance goes on.
- Watch out for changed or broken links - When you change the URL slug on a page on your site, create URL redirects to forward visitors who go to the old URL to the correct page.
- Continue adding content - Updating your site frequently helps search engines see your site as an active site. One way to regularly add content to your site is to start blogging.
Changes in Website Ranking
If there is a dip in ranking right after optimizing your site, don't be discouraged. It's very normal to see some fluctuations in your ranking while search engines are still crawling and index your changes. If your ranking hasn’t gone up in a few weeks, check your Analytics to see if there are site traffic trends that might explain the dip. You may also want to consider updating your keywords to target different search terms.
While it is great to have traffic on your website, it is even better to make sure the right people are looking for you. So if you see a dip in traffic, but are converting better you are doing well 🙂
Need some help with all this SEO stuff? We'd be happy to take a look! We even offer an SEO Optimization project package. Reach out right here if you're interested!