The prospect of pressing the launch button on a new site can be a daunting one, so make sure you get the SEO fundamentals right before setting your new site live.
Here we’ll look at five things you should definitely consider before going live, after all, you do want people to actually be able to find your site, right? So what exactly makes up our SEO checklist?
Probably one of the most important aspects of SEO is keyword research, if you do it right the first time you’ll be setting the foundation to a solid SEO strategy. There are plenty of tools out there to facilitate this process too:
• Keyword Planner
• Moz Keyword Explorer
• And many more…
It’s important to map your keywords to the correct URL and ensure the content on each targeted page falls in line with user intent. Do this wrong and you could potentially see your bounce rate skyrocket.
In order for users to find the pages within your site, search engines need access. Using tools such as Screaming Frog or Google Search Console you should check the following:
• Ensure crawlers can get to every page you want indexed
• Discover duplicate content issues
• Check to see if search engines perceive your content as thin
• Find broken links and fix them
• Find broken pages (404s) and redirect them using 301s
• And much more…
Next you need to ensure that your content is accessible to all audiences, devices and browsers. Do a manual check on different devices using different browsers to ensure there are no problems.
Depending on which audience you are targeting, you’ll also want to check the site speed of the countries/regions where you target audiences reside to ensure that the site speed is the same from everywhere.
Get friends, colleagues or family to test the site out from a usability stand point to make sure there are no stumbling blocks within your navigation or content that prevent users from behaving in the way you expect them to on your site. If you want to get honest, unbiased feedback, try The Five Second Test.
Set Up Tracking
Of course you are going to want to document your site’s performance. Double check that you’ve done the following:
• Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console – it’s free.
• Uptime Tracking – ensure you’re the first to know when your site goes down etc. Pingdom is a good tool for this.
• Brand alerts – get notified whenever any online user mentions your brand. This is great for acquiring links – Google Alerts is free, but better paid tools are available such as Moz Fresh Web Explorer alerts, mention.net, Talkwalker etc.
• If you want to track rankings set up tracking tools including Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, Searchmetrics, Raven etc.
• Set up all your social media profiles – even if you aren’t going to use them all, claim them now before somebody else does.
Set up structured data in order to give your site optimal performance. Marking up certain aspects of your site allows search engines to organize and display it in creative ways. Set this up for social too with Twitter Cards and OpenGraph.
Think About Amplification & Links
In order for your site to rank well for organic search terms, you need quality sites to link to your site via engaging content. Put a plan together of who you’d like to help amplify your new site whether that is friends, family, business contacts and most importantly, press coverage.
Follow these five SEO fundamentals to set your site up for optimal organic performance, and good luck!