Have a new website and want to make sure you got all the right factors in place for your search engine ranks? Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz.com, has given a detailed SEO checklist for new search engine friendly websites in his Whiteboard Friday video. It’s all the same stuff we preach, but we couldn’t have explained it better ourselves. Many small details that you never thought about can have a tremendous impact on your search engine rankings.
UPDATE: The video appears to have been taken down.We will post a video on this very soon. Until then, we have written the checklist as follows.
SEO Checklist for New Websites:
- Accessibility: Your end-users and search engines both need to be able to access all your pages and content quickly. Make sure there are visible links on your site to other significant and relevant pages. Additionally, avoid these dumb mistakes that can harm your SEO:
- Avoid 404 and 500 error’s; make sure all your links work correctly.
- Create 302’s instead of 301’s for permanent redirects.
- Avoid duplicate content on all your pages; don’t place the same content on different pages and don’t copy content from the web.
- Avoid missing title tags.
- Avoid spinned content; don’t use content spinners.
- Use Google webmaster tools to help you avoid all the above (or Moz.com impressive crawl tool).
- Keyword Targeting: Choose the right keywords that are relevant to your website but at the same time you want to choose “little difficulty” keywords. Here are the three primary things to keep in mind when choosing the right keyword:
- Search volume: Should have enough people searching for it.
- High relevance: Should be highly relevant to your website; product or service.
- Little difficulty: Should not be too competitive that it becomes difficult to rank. Choose low competition keywords.
- Content Quality + Value: Search engines like Google has really sophisticated algorithms that will know if your content is boring and non-user-friendly or if it’s worth reading and sharing. So give your users what they’re looking for. Add value to your content by answering their questions; search query. The last thing you want is a bunch of confused users who will just never come back to your site. Add a better experience to your content by using images, maybe video or an infographic instead of just plain blocks of text. Overall, make your content worth sharing, and you will see your ranks go up. Also, avoid duplicate content at all costs.
- Design Quality, User Experience + Usability: Sometimes it’s just worth hiring a design company. Your website needs to have a good design, even if its simple. It does not have to be a 10/10 design but as long as it’s not confusing to users and has solid usability. All your pages should be one click away; give users what they’re looking for quickly make the content of the site easily understood. Otherwise, there is no point ranking if you can’t give users what they’re searching for. Tools you can use to test your site is Five Second Test, Feedback Army, and Silverback App.
- Social Account Set-up: Social media and search have been coming together in one direction. You should have realized by now that social profiles, as well as authorship profiles, have been showing up in rankings, above all, the other listings. Make it a primary goal to have at least the four major social accounts integrated with your website, such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and Pinterest if your an e-commerce or photography site. Additionally, give your users some social sharing button options on your pages or blog posts. Every time someone shares your content, it gives search engines a signal that your content is good (sort of like a vote). Yes, social signals do have an impact on rankings so utilize them!
- Link Building: Finally, after building a solid on-page SEO foundation, you can move on to the off-page optimization. Link-building a where most people just get it all wrong — by getting all the wrong links. Backlinks, in particular, must be coming from relevant sources or websites that are in the same market as you. Avoid spamming techniques or too many links from a single source. Build diversity and be transparent with your anchor text; in other words, don’t keep using the same keywords in every backlink. Be natural!
In Conclusion, if you’re looking forward to collecting leads from your website, then following a solid SEO strategy for your website is vital (such as the list above). Go thru the list and try to apply as much as possible on your new site and the results will soon sink in.
Do you have any other recommendations to follow for a new website? Let us know in your comments below:)