When you launch your first website, it can be quite daunting – you do all of that work, set it to live and nothing happens. But that’s okay because that is perfectly normal. However, if you don’t have the vital SEO first steps covered before you hit publish, there’s a chance that nothing will happen for a long time. Cover these key areas, however, and you have a better chance of starting to see organic traffic.
Understand what search engines look for
Before you design, write or sketch a single thing for your website, it is important to understand what search engines such as Google are looking for. By creating your website with these principles in mind, you have a better chance of catching their attention and getting that important traffic.
- Content – are you creating content that is relevant to what users are searching for?
- Performance – does your site load quickly and work properly? (If using WordPress avoid bloated code editors, like Visual Composure)
- Authority – do you have useful content linked to other authoritative sites (and are planning for other sites to eventually link to you)?
- User experience – is the site easy to use and navigate so users can get around?
Vital SEO first steps
With these principles in mind, you can then move onto looking at those vital SEO steps to use in the creation of the website to help cover these main areas and provide what search engines and, most importantly, users are looking for.
The domain name
Choosing a domain name isn’t as tricky as many would think. You will likely want to call the website after your business, but do you go for a .com, a .co.uk or one of the other variations? A .com website is considered the top level and is always desirable but if you can’t get it, a .co.uk website is great if you are based in the UK.
Do your keyword research
Keyword research and analysis is something to learn from the start because you will always be doing it. There’s no point writing a piece of content with keywords that no-one uses or phrases that are too specific for normal people to ever think about. Finding the right tools such as a good SEO checker will help you get into practice studying and analysing keywords from the start. SEMRush is a good place to start.
Create the website
When it comes to creating the actual website, a good priced web design company will be your friend. There are some great DIY options out there, but the time involved in learning all of the things you need to learn is often counter-productive. A good web designer will be able to create a site that is attractive but more importantly functions well, loads quickly and is easy to navigate, two of those key areas mentioned above.
Create the content
Armed with keywords and having a website to hold it, you next want to create content. There is plenty to do and you can do this yourself, hire a freelancer (www.peopleperhour.com) to do it or a mixture of the two. You will want web page content for sales pages, product pages and other core pages such as About Us. You will probably also want blog content for using in content marketing.
These vital first steps are then backed up with technical SEO elements which can include things like meta descriptions, title tags, XML sitemaps and more. While I would recommend you set up Google Search Console and go and use an onsite website crawler which will highlight any low-level issues. Ahrefs.com and SEMRush are worth a look.