I've just started a brand new page (in Denmark), and I'm wondering what's the best way to kickstart the SEO?
I know all about the on-page factors, but how long would you recommend me to wait for linkbuilding?
Don't worry about link building. The secret is in the content. For a brand new website you will want to begin content marketing right away.
People don't realize that each piece of content you publish on your blog has its own chance of ranking in Google. (This is key!)
In other words, if you publish 3 pieces of solid content every single week that is 12 pieces of content a month.
12 x 12 = 144 posts per month. Basic math, right?
Now let's assume that each piece of content gets 5 visitors every month (you can track this with Google Analytics.)
5 visitors may not seem like a lot, but all of a sudden you now have 720 new visitors every single month (8,640 visitors per year) because of your 144 pieces of content.
Plus in reality it will actually be more because the more content you produce, the more Google sees you as an authority.
That is the power of content marketing (and nobody appreciates it!)
To kick start SEO on a brand-new webpage, keep the following steps in mind:
Step 1: Choose a great domain name
Choose the best possible domain name for your site. When selecting this important piece of digital real estate, think about:
a. Spelling: If your company name can be easily misspelled, then it can be easily missed too. While many people will look online and probably find you if your SEO is right, many others will find out about you through word of mouth so if your domain name sounds a bit too much like something else, they could end up missing you. So, make sure your domain name is short, easy to spell and easy to remember.
b. Branding potential. It is easier to build credibility and links to branded domains as people will take a yourcompany.uk more seriously than keyword-keyword.uk which looks spammy and is not fooling anyone. A branded domain can help build trust online and increase the value of your content. When searching for your domain, use a domain search tool like the one we have at 123 Reg that allows you to check if your desired name is available.
c. Keywords. Having keywords, you are trying to rank for in your domain is not as important as it used to be. In September 2012, Google released the Exact Match Domain (EMD) update to prevent those poor quality keyword-keyword-keyword.com sites from ranking well simply because they had their main keywords in their domain names. So, while it cannot hurt to register a domain with a keyword in it, you should not stress over it.
Step 2: Research the right keywords
Before you start adding content to your new site, you need to do a proper keyword research to find out which words your audience is using when they are searching for your products or services.
Before you get started with your keyword research, ask yourself:
1. What is your page about? Is it about a product or service you are selling, like water heaters or burst pipe repair? Or a useful how-to guide on how to fix a garbage disposal unit. When you know what the main topic and what information will be, you’ll include, you’ll have an easier time determining the type of keywords you’ll need to target on that page.
2. What is the main intent of the page? What are your main goals for this page? Is it to sell a product or a service, or is it to provide more information that can help visitors make an educated decision? By figuring out the main intent for a page you will be able to focus on more relevant keywords, rather than generic ones.
Now, let us take a simple example to show you how you can perform your keyword research.
Say you are selling water heater repair services. Use this as the starting point of your research. So, add the “water heater repair” to various keyword research tools to get more suggestions on what word and phrase variations people are using to search for these services.
You can use tools like:
a. Word Stream’s free keyword tool
But the fastest option is Google suggest. That is because it gives you suggestions based on your search even before you hit enter. These suggestions are based on the most common searches that people perform when looking for the product or service you are selling.
Step 3: Craft your content
High quality content is the cornerstone of your interactions with customers and how sites achieve top rankings. By content I am referring to anything you publish on your site that educates, attracts and delights customers, such as:
a. Web page content
b. Blog posts
c. eBooks, white papers, and reports
d. Brochures, tips sheets, and frequently asked questions (FAQs)
e. Sales pages
g. Pictures, infographics and more
Now that you have a better idea of what users are searching for to find a page like yours, you need to start writing your content and optimise it. Search engines will crawl your website and try to figure out what it is about and then decide what queries each of your web pages should rank for.
Make sure you write for your visitors first, and then for search engines. Your content needs to be fresh and enticing, otherwise you will not stand a chance converting visitors into customers. Do not ever sacrifice the usefulness and persuasiveness of your content for SEO-friendly content.
When writing your content for both users and search engines, pay extra attention to:
a) Titles. Write catchy titles that grab your visitors’ attention.
b) Keywords. Focus more on adding relevant and useful information that will bring people to your site. Also, combine relevant keywords together and focus on adding varied forms of keywords rather than adding as many keywords as you can.
c) Topics. Every page needs to focus on a unique topic. At the same time, make sure you don’t optimise more than one page for the same product or intent as this not only causes confusion, but you’ll have two pages competing for the same keywords. You don’t want to be your own competitor, do you?
d) Quality. Your content needs to be unique and purposeful. The reason people come to your site is because they are searching for information, for a solution to a problem so make sure you can provide it to them, so they don’t go elsewhere. Find out what Google sees as high-quality content and ways to create it on your site.
e) Freshness. Add new content on a regular basis. You can create a blog where you constantly share information your visitors might find useful, or you can share eBooks or whitepapers.
f) Length. We recommend having more than 500 words on a page. But the idea is this: your content should be long enough to answer visitors’ questions about your product or service.
Step 4: Optimise your code: While writing content for people is especially important, you need to pay attention to how you optimise your website’s code so search engines can read your content too.
Let us look at how you can properly optimise your site’s code and help your site rank higher in search engines:
SEO-friendly URL structure: URLs are another important element but often overlooked. If your URLs have gibbering numbers and punctuation marks then, just like users, search engines will have a hard time understanding what that page is about.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to achieve an SEO-friendly site URL structure:
I. Consolidate your www and the non-www domain versions. If you type in www.example.co.uk into your browser and then you type in just example.co.uk and the “non-www” version does not redirect to www.example.co.uk, that means that search engines are seeing two different sites which is considered duplicate content. This is not effective for your overall SEO efforts as it will dilute your inbound links, as external sites will be linking to www.example.co.uk and example.co.uk. So what you need to do is to set your preferred domain, whether with or without www, and implement 301 redirects for all other versions of your URL which will redirect visitors to your preferred domain. It does not matter which URL version you choose if you are consistent with it
II. Avoid dynamic URLs. Dynamic URLs are ugly and do not say anything about what is on your page. So instead of a www.example.co.uk/?p=3355474 you might want to use static URLs like www.example.co.uk/topic-name. Descriptive URLs allows visitors to figure out what the page is about just by looking at the link.
III. Use canonical tags. These tags tell search engine bots which pieces of content are the original and which are duplicates. This way the bot will pass over the duplicates and only index and give link credit to the primary piece. To specify the canonical URL, you need to add the rel=”canonical” tag into your URL. Find out how to add canonical tags.
IV. Create an XML sitemap. Sitemaps are like a roadmap for search engines. They include every page on your site, making sure search engine bots do not miss anything. You can use tools like the XML Sitemap Creator to automatically create a sitemap for you. Once your XML sitemap is created, you should submit it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools so that search engines can crawl and index your website more easily.
The title tags: Each of your web pages needs to have a unique title tag that describes what that page is about. Pay attention to the title tag because its what people see in search engine results when they are searching for your products or service. In addition, the title tag also shows up in posts shared on social media sites like Facebook, for example. So, you not only need to include your main keyword in the title, but you also must make it entice enough to convince people to click.
So, when you write your title tags, make sure you:
I. Have a unique title tag for each page
II. Include the name of your product or the main topic you are covering on the page
III. Keep your title tag between 42 and 60 characters, including spaces. This is just an estimate because it’s no longer about the number of characters but about the number of pixels the characters occupy. To make sure your title is not cut off, try not to go over 60 characters.
The meta description tag: The meta description needs to summarise the content on your page because this too will show up in search engine results together with the title tag. While it will not help you rank higher, a well-written meta description can have a big impact on whether users decide to click through or not so it should be written to “sell”.
When writing your meta description, make sure:
I. You create a different one for each page
II. It talks about the features or ideas users would benefit from
III. It is between 100 and 150 characters, including spaces
IV. It includes a call-to-action that entices people to click.
Alt tags: Search engine bots cannot see images, so you need to help them by adding an alt tag for each image. This alt tag acts as a short description of an image and it can also be a great place to use your keywords and help increase your chances of showing up in image search results.
However, make sure the alt text is relevant to the image. For example, you should not label an image of a dog with the alt text “affordable online marketing services in London” as it does not make any sense. Do not try to trick search engines this way, as it could hurt your SEO. The same goes for your logo image. You need to use logo mark-up to protect your brand’s logo and prevent it from being hijacked in the way the Gregg’s logo was. With so many elements that need to be optimised on every single page of your website, you will find it saves time if you use a tool like Search Engine Optimiser. The tool will alert you to any issues the site has, such as missing or duplicate titles and descriptions, more than one h1 tag, missing ALT tags and so on, so you won’t have to check these elements manually across every page on your site.
Interlinking: Interlinking refers to linking on certain phrases or words within the body text of your pages, to other pages, where relevant.
Why is internal linking important?
I. It helps guide users around your website, to other content they might be interested in.
II. It helps search engines better understand the relevance of the content on that page.
III. It can lower bounce rate. If a user lands on a page on your site and quickly finds a link to something they are interested in, the chances are they will click on it rather than exit the site.
Here are a few interlinking mistakes you should avoid making:
I. Always linking on the same keyword or keyword phrase in hopes that it will increase rankings for that keyword. This is over-optimisation and can harm your SEO. So, for anchor texts to work in your favour, they need to be relevant to the content you’ve placed them in.
II. Over linking. Do not link every third word on every page to another page. Only add a link if it is useful and relevant.
III. Broken links. Make sure you always check the pages you are linking to so that they are functional.
Step 5: Technical setup
I. Set up and verify Google Analytics: You need to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and see how your website is performing. How many visitors a month is your site attracting? Which pages are the most popular? How much time are they spending on your site? These are just a few of the things you can uncover by using an analytics tool so make sure you set up your analytics software now so you can start collecting data right away.
II. Set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools: The webmaster tools products from Google and Bing allow you to go more in depth and see things like: who is linking to your site, what search terms are sending visitors to your site, whether your site has any issues that need to be fixed quickly, and more.
III. Install an SEO plugin: If you have a WordPress website, make sure you install an SEO plugin to help you optimise your content. One of our favourites is Yoast. Why? Because it’s free, easy to use and packed with powerful features. Having an SEO plugin like this installed will help you meet all the recommended SEO criteria with ease.
IV. Robots.txt: The robotx.txt file contains instructions for search engines as to which pages of your site to ignore during the crawl. Basically, this file includes a list of commands, such as allow and disallow, that tells web crawlers which web pages they can or cannot retrieve. So, if a URL is disallowed in your robots.txt files, that URL and its contents will not appear in Google search results. Make sure you are not stopping search engines from indexing your site. While some prefer to use the “disallow: /” command while their site is under construction, it is important to remember to remove it once the site is ready to receive visitors.
Step 6: Earn links
Links are an important ranking factor and continue to be a great indicator of what content is relevant and important. However, it’s not about getting hundreds of links quickly but about getting quality and authority sites to link to your website.
Today your link building strategy should be about earning links, which you can do by:
I. Creating purposeful content (for example, guest posts or infographics) that is so useful and engaging that people want to link to it and share it with others.
II. Promoting your content so that it reaches the right people who will be motivated to link to your content and share it online.
III. Building relationships with influencers and convincing them that your content is of a high enough quality to share.
If you are using our Search Engine Optimiser, make sure to check the “Increase Popularity” tab. It will not only tell you where your links are coming from but will also show you where competitors are getting links from so you can get a good idea about what other websites might be interested in linking to your site too.
Step 7: Things to check post-launch
I. Test usability: Usability is super-important for SEO and it also helps keep your visitors happy. Great user experience refers to a site that is easy to navigate through, with information that is easy to find and useful. Test your site’s usability yourself (or ask your friends), as if you were a customer. Check to make sure there are not more steps than necessary in the checkout process and that it is easy for visitors to navigate through your site, to buy a product and to contact you.
II. Test your site speed: Site speed is an increasingly important ranking factor, so do not forget to test your site’s speed and improve loading times if necessary. You can check the loading time for each of your web pages by using Google’s Page Speed insights tool. If the speed is less than 90, you will need to make some changes such as optimising and compressing images, and loading scripts after your website’s main content, wherever possible. At this time having a web developer is useful as you can send them a link to the site speed report and ask them to follow instructions supplied by Google to increase your pages’ loading time.
III. Check your mobile website: Having a website that works properly on all devices – desktops, tablets, and smartphones – is extremely important. With mobile devices now driving 56% of traffic to top sites and with mobile-friendliness now a ranking factor, you need to make sure that your site is mobile-ready and that there aren’t any issues. You can learn more about the importance of mobile-friendly design here. The “Review your site” tab in Search Engine Optimiser will let you know if your website is fast enough and it will also analyse if you have any broken links which interrupt the user journey and create a bad overall experience on your website. You can also visit the “Adopt mobile” tab to get help with making your site mobile friendly.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath