When it comes to launching a new website, there are countless moving elements and action items to be aware of that objectives and best practices can easily get lost or miscommunicated. This is especially true when it comes to optimizing a new website for search.
From title tags, to meta descriptions, to content and subdomains - overlooking these SEO elements can detrimental to your website's performance and ability to get found easily by your prospects and customers.
So for the busy business owner, I've created this checklist below to outline the most critical components you need to consider to ensure that upon launch, your new website is optimized for search engines and your target audiences.
- Does every URL have a unique title tag and Meta Description?
- Are your title tags under 70 characters?
- Are your Meta descriptions under 160 characters?
- Do all images have alt text optimized with important keywords?
- Every page should have a H1 – H6 tag depending on the structure of your content.
- There should only be one H1 tag per page.
- Include links to other relevant sections of your website within the copy on each page. These links should include keywords that are important to the content on that page.
- Are your URLs descriptive of each page? Do they contain important keywords?
- Do you have content written for every page?
- Is each page's content unique?
- You should have a blog setup on your domain. This will provide a place to post relevant articles (not branded to your business) that you think your website visitors would find interesting.
- Are your subdomains consolidated?
- http://example.com should be redirected to www.example.com
- The homepage should have one URL. Sometimes a website will have both www.example.com/ and www.example.com/index.html. These should be consolidated with a 301 redirect.
- Are canonical tags implemented? These will help avoid having duplicate pages indexed in the search engines. (Not sure how canonical tags are used? Click here.)
- Do you have Google Webmaster Tools setup and verified? Is it linked to your Google analytics account?
- Do you have a robots.txt file? This prevents certain directories from being crawled.
- Does your website load in under 4 seconds?
- Have you raised proper awareness about your website?
- You can reach out to authoritative bloggers in your industry or write a press release.
- Did you claim your business name on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Yelp etc?
This list may seem overwhelming at first, but ensuring each of these initiatives are implemented is essential to the performance of your website upon launch and overtime.
To learn more about ensuring your new or existing website is performing to meet your goals as well as your users' expectations, click here to read my last blog about how to use site information architecture to create a better user experience, or check out our free ebook to learn the secrets behind creating killer landing pages that generate traffic and leads!
All the best,
Steve is a SEO Specialist with Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.