SEO for a New Website

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SEO for a New Website: 8 Important Steps There’s no better time to make sure your website is SEO-friendly than when you’re building it.

If you wait until SEO is finished to launch your new website, you’ll be waiting forever. SEO is never finished.

So a better question to ask when SEOing a new website is: where should I start?

To find out, we asked 215 SEOs for their opinions. Unfortunately, there was no consensus.

SEO for a New Website

If you wait until SEO is finished to launch your new website, you’ll be waiting forever. SEO is never finished.

So a better question to ask when SEOing a new website is: where should I start?

To find out, we asked 215 SEOs for their opinions. Unfortunately, there was no consensus.

It’s easy to overcomplicate the process of choosing a domain. But choosing a branded domain that is short and memorable works better in most cases than trying to shoehorn certain keywords into your domain name.

So if you already have one, go ahead with it. Or if you’re setting one up for your business, your business name works fine too.

When it comes to the top-level domain (TLD), for example, .com, Google has said that the TLD makes no difference for SEO.

So we treat all of the New Top-level Domains like any other generic top-level domain.

John Mueller
SEO for a New Website
John Mueller, Search Advocate

There’s no need to rack your brain over this. .com works fine in most cases, as it’s internationally recognizable.

Once you’ve decided on a domain name, head over to a domain registrar—like Google Domains or Namecheap—to see if it’s available. If it isn’t available, you will need to repeat the process until you find a name that is both available and works for your business.

Website platforms let you create and manage a website easily. There are two types:

  1. Hosted platforms – They host the site, give you ready-made designs, and let you add and edit content without touching code. Examples are Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify.
  2. Self-hosted platforms – These allow you to add and edit content with or without code. However, you’ll have to host and install them yourself. Examples are WordPress and Ghost.

Most SEOs recommend WordPress—a self-hosted, open-source platform. SEOs prefer it because it’s customizable—you can edit the code however you like.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be technical to use WordPress. There are millions of plugins you can install that do all sorts of tasks for you. These include SEO plugins too.

You don’t have to know how to code in order to use WordPress and Blogger Template.

If you’re using a self-hosted solution, like WordPress.org, you’ll need a web host. We don’t have a particular one to recommend.

But as you’re considering your options, look out for the three S’s:

  • Security – Hosts should provide you with a free SSL/TLS certificate.
  • Server location – It takes time for data to travel between the server and visitor. So it’s best to choose a host with servers in the same country as most of your traffic.
  • Support – You’ll want 24/7 support. Consider checking out their reviews in forums like Reddit or test their support out before you sign up.

You now have a basic website you can configure to become SEO-friendly. Here’s what you should do next:

Set up Google Search Console and Ahrefs Webmaster Tools

You’ll need GSC to do a bunch of important SEO tasks, like finding technical errors on your website, submitting sitemaps, and more.

Setting it up is pretty easy. Sign in to GSC with your Google account. You should see this “welcome” screen:

"Welcome" screen in Google Search Console

Choose Domain and enter your domain. You’ll then be prompted to verify your domain. Google has explicit step-by-step instructions on how to do this:

Verifying domain ownership via TXT in Google Search Console
Verifying domain ownership via TXT in GSC.

Verifying domain ownership via CNAME in Google Search Console
SEO for a New Website
Verifying domain ownership via CNAME in GSC.

If you’re stuck or unsure, you can check out Google’s help article.

Once that is done, you’ll be able to use GSC and see your search analytics. (You won’t have any data for now since it’s new.)

While GSC is irreplaceable for anyone serious about SEO, it is still lacking in some areas. For example, it only offers some data about the keywords your website ranks for and the sites that link to you.

To compensate for the lacking areas, you should set up Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT). It’s free and allows you to:

  • Audit your website for 100+ SEO issues (and explain how to fix them).
  • See the websites that are linking to you.
  • See the organic keywords your site is ranking for.
  • See the amount of organic traffic your site is receiving.

And more.

To use AWT, create a free account. Then add and verify your website. You can use your GSC account to verify too.

Importing or adding your project in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools
SEO for a New Website

Create a logical site structure

It should be easy for visitors and search engines to find content on your site. You’ll need a logical hierarchy for your content, which you can sketch out using a mind map:

How to use a mindmap to create your site structure
SEO for a New Website

Each brand on the mind map represents an internal link, which is a link from one page on a website to another page.

Internal links are crucial for your website because:

  • This is how Google and other search engines find new pages.
  • This is also how Google and other search engines understand what your page is about. They do this by looking at the clickable words in the link, known as anchor text.
  • Internal links help pass PageRank, which is an important Google ranking factor.

Use a logical URL structure

Our recommendation is to go for something that’s clear and descriptive, so something like website.com/seo-for-new-website/.

Other technical considerations

A positive user experience is important for your business and Google too. You’ll want to make sure you have these things covered:

Use HTTPS

Nobody wants their personal data leaked to hackers. You’ll want to encrypt your site with SSL/TLS. Most decent web hosts should be able to offer this service, or you should be able to enable it yourself with one click.

Read Also: Download Magazine Lite WordPress Theme

After that, you should see the padlock on your URLs.

Here’s what it looks like in Google Chrome:

What HTTPS looks like on Google Chrome

Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

Most people search on mobile these days. Your website should be responsive and work on all devices.

You can check this easily using Developer Tools on Google Chrome:

  1. Click on the “…” dropdown in the top right corner of the browser
  2. Select More Tools
  3. Select Developer Tools
  4. Click on the mobile button in the top left corner

How to use Chrome Developer Tools to check for mobile responsiveness
SEO for a New Website

From here, you’ll be able to select the exact device you want to test for:

Checking responsiveness for different devices in Chrome Developer Tools
SEO for a New Website

Avoid intrusive interstitials

Interstitials are full-screen ads that appear before a webpage’s content is loaded. Nobody likes them. Neither does Google. If there’s no need for such pop-ups on your website, avoid them.

Make sure your site loads fast

Page speed is a Google ranking factor. So it’s definitely important to spend some time making sure your site loads quickly. You can use a tool like PageSpeed Insights to check your page’s performance.

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