Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key factor in ensuring your website gets the traffic it deserves. SEO helps your website reach your target audience at the right time and in the best possible way. In other words, SEO is indispensable for your site’s success.
In order to make the best use of your time and resources, it’s important to have your SEO strategy implemented correctly before launching your website. You want your site to be ready to go on day one so you can start gaining traffic immediately.
Not sure where to start with SEO for your new website? Not to worry – we’ve put together a comprehensive SEO checklist for launching a site. Our guide will discuss some of the most important SEO steps you should take before your website goes live, from choosing the right domain name to conducting keyword research. Check it out!
1. Choose the Right Domain Name
Choosing a proper name for your website is critical for making sure your audience can find you online. Your domain name must reflect exactly what your website is all about. It should also be as close to the name of your business as possible.
Search engines don’t just look at the headings on your page to find out what your brand is all about, they also examine the domain name and URL. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure you’ve chosen the most accurate and enticing domain name for your website.
Along with your domain name, make sure you’re choosing a reputable website host that will load your pages as fast as possible. Most users will only wait six to 10 seconds before abandoning a slow-loading site.
2. Create a “Coming Soon” Page
As soon as you choose and set up your domain name, create a quick “coming soon” page with a few lines of engaging text to get people interested. Adding several images can also help if you have them readily available.
When people visit your page, their browsers will remember your website – thus increasing the chances that they’ll come back and visit once it’s fully up and running. Just be sure to optimize it for search engines – pay attention to titles, meta descriptions, and other important SEO elements.
3. Redirect Old URLs
If you’re launching a new redesign of an existing website, it’s important to make sure that your URLs still work properly. Not only do broken pages and dead links negatively affect the user experience and credibility of your website, but they can also impact your domain authority and organic search rankings.
If any URLs are changing on your new website, 301 redirect old URLs to the new ones.
4. Prepare Your Blog Content
Blogs are another great way to reach your audience and engage them in the business services or products you’re going to offer on your website. Blogging also offers important opportunities to increase your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Think about your business from the point of view of your future clients. What questions will they ask? What topics are they interested in? Take the time to write at least three to four blog posts that will answer those questions and speak to your audience’s interests. Having a good backlog of posts ready to go when you launch your site will provide you with a selection of interesting and engaging content from the get-go.
5. Organize & Prioritize Keywords….and Don’t Forget to Optimize!
Performing keyword research is one of the most important things you can do for your website’s SEO, before and after launch. Keyword research helps you find the search terms your audience uses frequently. This gives you a solid understanding of which keywords to target and include in your website copy to improve your traffic.
Once you’ve gathered your keywords, work them into the content on your website so they sound as natural as possible. Just make sure you don’t include too many – Google will penalize your site if they catch you keyword stuffing. Read your content aloud to yourself before publishing it to ensure that it flows well and doesn’t sound over-optimized.
6. Carry Over Tracking
If you are launching a new website and you use any tracking services on your current one, such as Google Analytics, it’s important to ensure that they are carried over from your old site to the new one. That way you can still have access to historical data from your old site.
7. Submit Your Sitemap to Google & Other Directories
Google’s web crawlers will find your website on their own at some point, but you can speed up this process by submitting it through the Google Search Console. This resource allows you to communicate directly with Google and let them know that your site exists.
Placing your site in industry-specific website directories can also help you get noticed by the right people. Keep in mind that these business directories often charge you for a listing, so make sure it’s really worth your time and the price before committing. General directories like Yelp and Best of the Web can be beneficial as well.
8. Plan Out Your Future SEO Strategy
Last but not least, plan out your future SEO strategy. When will you update your keywords? What are your SEO goals? What type of client or customer are you trying to reach? What is your SEO budget? Having a solid plan in place prior to launching will allow you to implement it more easily once the site is live.
9. Perform a Re-Scrape After Launching
Once you’ve launched your new website, it’s important to re-scrape it. By scraping the site, you can identify any technical SEO issues such as missing meta tags, canonical tag issues, and meta robots. It’s important to ensure pages that should be indexed, are indexed – so double back and make sure everything was done properly.