You just launched your new small business website. Congratulations! But launching isn’t enough. If you want your site to appear in search results, you need to incorporate on-page SEO. Aren’t sure whether you’ve optimized your site well enough? Follow this checklist to help you tackle these immediate SEO tasks.
New Website SEO Checklist
- Review URLS. Make sure the URLS of your website pages include the keywords you are targeting. If there is an important keyword that doesn’t appear in a website URL, you may need another page. The goal should be one primary keyword on each page.
- Look for duplicate content. Ensure each page on your site has unique content. If you find that many pages have the same copy, fix this immediately. Failing to do so could result in the search engines downgrading your website.
- Make sure that you have enough content. Include enough content on every page to help search engines understand what each page is about. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 300 words per page. However, longer-form content (1,500 words or more) is more likely to generate inbound links.
- Check links. Make sure that all internal links (links from pages on your site to other pages on your site) and external links (links on your site to other websites on the web) work and take you to the intended location.
- Confirm compatibility with major devices and browsers. Your site should work well on a majority of browsers in use and on every type of device—laptop, desktop, tablet, mobile and screen reader. Test functionality using different browsers and devices.
- Test your site’s loading speed. Use Google Speed Test or proxy checking to be sure your site loads as swiftly as possible from areas that you have targeted. How swift is swift enough? There’s no clear answer here, but you should note that you will lose site visitors after just a few seconds.
- Run usability tests. Test content and navigation to be sure your customers have the best possible experience. Usability includes everything from site speed to clear navigation to easy-to-follow calls to action.
- Avoid keyword stuffing in content. Google and other search engines are now smart enough to detect keyword stuffing—overloading a page with the same keyword phrase. Content should read naturally. Place keywords strategically in your copy, and vary the way you phrase your keywords.
- Keep title tag short. Search engines show different title tag lengths depending on the device you use. A good rule of thumb is to stick to the lowest maximum view. For instance, right now, Google is showing up to 70 characters on desktops and up to 78 characters on mobile. For best results, put your most important phrase toward the front (likely your primary keyword or some variation of it).
- Make sure each page has its own unique, engaging meta description. Meta descriptions are the short summaries that appear in search engine results (SERPS). When written with engaging, marketing copy, they help to distinguish your site from others and encouraging click-throughs to your site.
DIY SEO Tools to Try
We realize this sounds like a lot of work. However, there are tools to help you check your site thoroughly. Many are free to use, including:
There are also low-cost tools such as:
Bonus Tips: 3 To-Dos to Ensure a Successful Website Launch
- Secure your website name on social media. Even if you do not plan to use a particular platform right away, make sure that no one else can use the brand you are trying to build.
- Build a community for a successful public launch. Get your friends, family, colleagues and existing customers to visit your new site. Send out postcards or email messages inviting people to the website. Consider offering incentives to visit the new site, as appropriate.
- Update all coordinating content. Include your new website URL in your email signature, Twitter page, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and anything else with your business name on it.
Does All of This Sound a Bit Too Much?
Don’t be overwhelmed by a new website. If you break down your to-do items in a reasonable fashion, you can make great leaps to properly SEO a new website. But if you are overwhelmed, or you simply don’t have the time, reach out for help.