So you've just launched your brand-new website, and you're anxious for new customers to start rolling in, or want to make sure your existing customers can still find you online. What some business owners don't realize is that web users need to be able to find you online before they become a customer. Since the very beginning, web users have favored websites that show up higher in search results, as they want to find the information they need fast. Showing up on the first page of search results has become even more difficult as search engines have adapted to increased browsing on mobile devices, more ad space, and tougher competition as more and more businesses are getting online. That being said, following SEO best practices is critical to building your online presence and attracting customers to your newly launched website. Below are six critical SEO actions to take before you launch your new site or as soon as possible afterwards to give your website the best chance to rank against the competition.
Action 1: Redirect Old URLs
If you have an existing website, don't give up on all of that ranking power you've built up! A permanent 301 redirect will pass on the majority of your former page’s SEO value to your new site. The stronger the rankings for the older URL, the faster you can improve your search rankings on the new site by using these kinds of redirects. Web developers sometimes recommend other options, such as 404 errors or canonical tags, because 301 redirects can be difficult and require intensive testing. However, Websites 360®’s simple Legacy URL Tool has simplified and streamlined the redirecting process, so you can give your new website a better chance of ranking from the start.
Action 2: Add Metadata
You wouldn't buy a book without reading its title, and search algorithms feel the same way. Page titles and meta descriptions help search engines understand how relevant a page is for specific keywords, and also help searchers determine if a page will provide the information they're looking for. People also tend to rely on pictures to relay a great deal of this information, but site crawlers can't see images (yet). That's why "ALT" tags for all of your images are necessary to help crawlers understand the content of your pages. With Websites 360®, our SEO tools make it easy to add titles, meta descriptions, and alt tags to your website's pages, so users and search engines can quickly see what your website is all about. See step-by-step instructions on how to do this in our SEO support articles.
Action 3: Verify With Webmaster Tools
Webmaster Tools gives you the ability to see your website as Google does. When you sign up for Google Search Console (former Google Webmaster Tools), you're telling Google that your site is legitimate and open for business. Once you establish your website ownership, it’s easier for you or your webmaster to maintain the health and wellness of your site for the long term. Keep tabs on broken links, missing pages, and larger errors or issues that can occur on your website such as DNS and Server Errors. Make sure you verify your site with Bing, Yahoo and Google to keep an extra set of eyes on your website's health.
Action 4: Index Your Sitemap
Indexing your sitemap is another important way that Google Webmaster Tools helps search engines understand the structure of your site. Sitemaps have become even more important after changes to the Google algorithm, such as the Panda update, tried to eliminate a great deal of duplicate content on the Web. Submit your sitemap to Google through your new Search Console account so that Google is made aware of each and every page on your website. This helps establish yourself as the originator of your own content.
Action 5: Integrate Google Analytics
An important part of SEO is monitoring how your website traffic has changed over time. While it's easy to get lost in the numbers, setting up Google Analytics will help you measure how visitors are interacting with your site, how long they spend there, how often they come back and how many end up converting into customers. Diving into your website's user data can help you make changes to your website that increase conversions, and can provide valuable insight about what content users find useful, and what sections of the site aren't performing well. Google Analytics provides great training resources if you're interested in learning how to navigate analytics yourself, or let our SEO Experts dive into the nitty-gritty details by signing up for one of our SEO packages.
Action 6: Manage Your Local Profile
Ultimately, you want your website to convert visitors into customers. You want to raise awareness, answer their questions and bring them to the point of sale. For businesses that have a brick and mortar location, this means bringing visitors to the physical store, so having correct business information across the web is critically important. However, maintaining your local profiles can be a time-consuming task. We recommend using a location management platform such as Yext to ensure your local profiles have up to date information about your business at all times. This is especially important if you’re doing any traditional media such as radio or TV. What’s worse than a potential customer hearing your name only to search online and find incorrect business information? Having correct business information not only helps users contact and find your business, but can also increases your credibility in the eyes of search engines. Help web users and search engines find you on the web by signing up for one of our SEO packages, and we'll provide location management services for you, so you can focus on running your business.
At Websites 360®, we want your new website to not only look beautiful, but also be a source of new clients. We offer ongoing SEO packages that will help your website get found in search results. Whether you just want to get your feet wet in the sea of SEO knowledge or your business is ready to kick your marketing efforts into full gear, we'll make it happen. From metrics to content, we have everything you'll need to attract and engage your preferred audience. From a hyperlocal to a global reach and all points in between, it all starts with the right SEO to spotlight your new website. Contact us today or feel free to give us a test ride by signing up for our 14-day free trial.