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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ultimate SEO Checklist for New Websites

Posted by @ 7:50 pm
18
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When setting up a new website it is easy to get excited about the design and content of the website, while forgetting the most vital aspect – SEO.

While your website might look great, searchers are never going to find it if you don’t implement even some of the SEO basics.

To help you out I have compiled a list of SEO tasks you must do before a new or updated website goes live. By doing all of these, search engines will be able to index the new changes quicker, and more efficiently.

1. Descriptive URL’s
Once you have determined what you need on your website, every single page must have a clean and descriptive URL with hyphen’s separating each word. This allows people and search engines alike to see what the content is going to be on that page just by looking at the URL.

Here is an example of a well structured URL:
http://www.ineedhits.com/pay-per-click/pay-per-click-services.aspx

2. Title tags, meta description tags and heading tags
The key to creating good title tags is to ensure each is unique and includes the keywords you think people would use when doing a search via Google when trying to find your site.

For example, if you’re a dentist in Arlington, DC then the title tag of your home page would be something like this:

Professional Dentist in Arlington, DC – Your Company

Each page on your site has unique content so each title tag for these pages should be unique because it is one of the strongest signals Google uses to determine what your page should rank for.

The meta description for each page can be around 150 characters and it should serve as a mini advertisement for your company and the services/products you provide.

Each page should have its own heading title describing what that page is about.

3. Use text alternatives to Flash content.
If your site uses Flash to present content that you really want or need search engine crawlers to index, provide text alternatives that they can index. If you use Flash for your entire web site without providing text alternatives, don’t expect search engine crawlers to index your site.

4. Install Google analytics
Having Google Analytics installed on your site is a must because it allows you to track how visitors get to your site, and then what they do when they are there.

5. Sitemaps – XML and static
An XML sitemap helps to show Google all the pages on your website that need to be crawled and indexed. XML sitemap generator is an easy tool to help you quickly create your sitemap and upload it to your website. Don’t forget to submit this sitemap to Google through Google Webmaster Tools.

While not necessarily helpful for your SEO, a sitemap within your website is imperative for helping visitors easily navigate around your website. The best place to promote your sitemap is in the footer at the bottom of each page of your site, as shown in the example below of the footer on the ineedhits website.

 

6. Avoid Accessibility mistakes
Users and search engines both need to be able to reach all of the pages, all the content that you’ve created on your website in easy ways. Here are two simple things you need to do to help:

  • If you have an existing website that is being updated, then it is extremely important to redirect the old pages to the new ones by using 301 redirects.
  • Should visitors come across a error on your site, then they will be shown a 404 error page. This page should be customized to include your branding and a list of your top pages and links to useful content on your website. This will help the visitor find what they are looking for more easily.

7. Allow access to all Robots
Before the website goes live, you must allow robots to crawl your website through a robots.txt file. If you don’t then the search engines won’t be able to find and index your new website.

8. Secure your online brand
While your website will be your main SEO focus, you should also look at other online sources to boost your SEO efforts. By registering your businesses brand on social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc) this will help your website’s ranking in the search engines. It also has the benefit of online reputation management in that social sites will rank well for your brand name, allowing you to keep the search results for “your business name” under your control.

9. Internal and external linking
Internal linking will not only help your visitor navigate through your site more easily but it helps with your SEO as you can use keywords as anchor text to link to relevant pages. Link anchor text is a very important ranking factor on all the search engines so link to relevant sections of your website whenever possible.

Links from external sources is a highly regarded factor when determining your websites ranking in the search engines. But here’s a tip: don’t buy links from low quality sources, because Google doesn’t like this and they will penalize you for it.

A great place to start when looking for external link sources are business contacts and your customers. Look at all your email contacts, your LinkedIn contacts, the people that you know personally and professionally and ask them if they would mind putting a link to your site on their website.

10. Compatibility
Ensure your website loads and views correctly across all Internet browsers and in both Windows and Mac operating systems before launch.

11. Get into Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a great resource as it provides information about how Google is crawling your site and whether there are any broken links or missing pages.

 

Hopefully, this checklist will help you get your site in a well established position in the search engines. Best of luck with your new website.

Are there any points I missed in the checklist? If so, feel free to share them below.



Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile






Discussion (18 - comments)

[...] full post on ineedhits « Whither Yahoo? Why Your PageRank May Have Dropped to Zero [...]

By Ultimate SEO Checklist for New Websites | World Top Template Forum - October 12, 2011



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By SEO For Small Online Business Owners – Technorati | SEO Blogger Tips - October 13, 2011



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By SEO For Small Online Business Owners – Technorati | Affordable Seo Blog - October 13, 2011



Installing Google analytics is a must. If you’re going to spend time optimizing your site, you will want to see what kind of effect it’s having. Depending on results, you can tweak it here and there to get the most out of SEO.

By Nick Stamoulis - October 13, 2011



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By SEO For Small Online Business Owners – Technorati | Online SEO Blogger | Basic Seo Tips | Advanced Seo Tips | Seo Busines - October 13, 2011



[...] Ultimate SEO Checklist for New WebsitesSearch Engine Marketing (blog)Links from external sources is a highly regarded factor when determining your websites ranking in the search engines. But here's a tip: don't buy links from low quality sources, because Google doesn't like this and they will penalize you for it. …SEOwhat.com Proves Panda Recovery is PossibleFree Press Release Center (press release)Are you placing too big of a bet on social media's direct impact on SEO rankings?ZDNet (blog)Where and When Your Keywords Really Matter for Content Marketing and SEOBusiness 2 CommunityState of Search -Brafton (blog)all 24 news articles » [...]

By Ultimate SEO Checklist for New Websites – Search Engine Marketing (blog) | Affordable Seo Blog - October 13, 2011



Thanks for the tips Courtney. What is the process for setting up a robots.txt file.

By Scott cassano - October 14, 2011



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By Getting Found Online: 3 Keys to Your Small-Business SEO Strategy – AllBusiness (blog) | DC2NET Links - October 14, 2011



@Scott Cassano – check out this recent article from Rene in our team, it’s a comprehensive guide to setting up a robots.txt file. http://blog.ineedhits.com/tips-advice/the-definitive-guide-to-robots-txt-for-seo-20398484.html

By Courtney Mills - October 16, 2011



This is a great article Courtney. I normally read your postings on the site and I find them quite informative. Here is an article I have written that would had some more points to the above article you have posted. Cheers
http://ashleshshah.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/15-elements-to-check-before-launching-your-website/

By Ashlesh Shah - October 18, 2011



[...] week I shared a checklist of the SEO tasks for new websites and one of the items on the list was to ensure that you have a custom 404 page when visitors come [...]

By How to Create an Effective Custom 404 Page | ineedhits - October 19, 2011



[...] week I shared a checklist of the SEO tasks for new websites and one of the items on the list was to ensure that you have a custom 404 page when visitors come [...]

By How to Create an Effective Custom 404 Page | World Top Template Forum - October 19, 2011



Ultimate SEO Checklist for New Websites | ineedhits…

Welcome to the ineedhits Search Engine Marketing blog, where we share the latest search engine and online marketing news, releases, industry trends and great DIY tips and advice….

By BizSugar.com - February 1, 2012




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