Search engines such as Google are invaluable resources for finding an audience interested in your product or service and directing them to your website. For this, you must make it easier for search platforms to find and index your web pages. And that is precisely what SEO is about.
Here is a comprehensive checklist to have at hand when you are getting ready to launch a website so you can plan for SEO success in a few easy steps.
Table of Contents
1. Optimize the Content
The content is undoubtedly the most important component of a website. It is the very reason someone would visit your site, spend time on it, and keep returning.
Naturally, ensuring your content is optimized effectively is a top priority.
- Start by reviewing your keyword strategy. From search engine result pages to Google Trends, Semrush, and Moz, there are a range of research tools to find the best keywords for your business. When identifying them, consider the search intent, relevance, and location-specific considerations.
- Search engine algorithms can penalize keyword-stuffing. To avoid it, introduce the selected keywords naturally into the content and make use of related or similar words or phrases.
- Be mindful of readability for an improved user experience. Well-written content will keep visitors on your site for longer, which could persuade algorithms to move your pages higher in their search results. Using H1/H2/H3 headers to structure the content, avoiding lengthy paragraphs, and adopting enough transition words can all help boost readability.
- Allow search engines to identify images by optimizing them using alt text. Don’t forget to include the main keyphrase as well.
An SEO content writer can help create search-optimized content that ranks for the right keywords. To find a full-time or part-time writer, you can search Leadar’s professional directory or post a job on a freelancer site.
2. Add Meta Descriptions
This refers to the text that appears under your page title on SERPs. It tells the user what your page is about and can, therefore, influence them to click and visit your site.
The meta description you create should summarize the overall page content and must include your primary keyphrase. However, keep it short in the range of around 155 characters. This is because search engines display a limited number of characters on their search results, and anything beyond that won’t be shown.
3. Pay Attention to Page URLs
A descriptive URL optimized with the main keyword helps search engines understand the page content so they can match it with relevant search queries. It also informs the user about what is covered on the page.
4. Improve the Site Load Time
According to studies, a four-second delay in site load time will drive away 40% of site visitors. And when your website experiences an increased bounce rate, there is a high chance of it slipping down the search engine result pages.
5. Create a Sitemap
If Google and other search engines don’t know which pages your website has, they would naturally find it difficult to crawl and index the key pages.
Your site’s XML sitemap can let them know which pages the website contains, making it easier to discover and index each one. If your website doesn’t already have a sitemap, Yoast and similar tools can create one for you and automatically update it each time you add a new page.
6. Remove Duplicate Content
When the same content appears on several pages, search engines will find it hard to determine which page to show on their SERPs. As a result, your page rankings can plummet.
To avoid this issue, use Google Search Console or a similar tool to identify duplicate content. Then, deploy an appropriate strategy, such as rel=”canonical” tags and 301 redirects, to address it.
7. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Today, over 59% of web traffic originates from mobile devices. So, catering to mobile users should be a top consideration when launching your new site.
Creating a responsive design, keeping navigation simple, speeding up the page load time, optimizing images, and making fonts, buttons, and other elements easily visible are critical factors for making a website mobile-friendly.
All these will create a superior user experience, significantly reducing the bounce rate. And when visitors spend more time on your website, Google and other search engines will also favor your pages in their search result rankings.
Another vital aspect is content. People consume content differently on mobile devices. Remember, reading long-form text on a smaller screen is fairly challenging. So, keeping things short in snippet-like formats is important if you want to engage mobile users.
Moreover, this audience uses shorter search queries to find information on the go. Optimize your content using short keywords and keep in mind localized searches, too.
More people also resort to voice assistants on their mobile devices when they are out and about. To ensure you don’t miss out on those ranking opportunities, consider voice searches when optimizing for SEO.
8. Use HTTPS
Search engines typically prioritize secure pages. And that is exactly what HTTPS is about.
Sites with an SSL certificate have HTTPS on their address, together with a padlock sign. This means the information transmitted between a user’s browser and the site is secured using encryption. As a result, site visitors can make credit card payments, share their personal details, or use their login credentials safely on the respective website.
If you don’t already have an SSL certificate, check with your hosting service or request one from a third-party Certificate Authority (CA).
The importance of SEO cannot be stressed enough when you are competing for customer attention in a cluttered digital space.
Our SEO checklist details all the essential factors you must cover when launching your website so you can confidently plan for ranking success. However, keep in mind that search-optimizing pages is not a one-off process.
Once you launch the site, you must continue to track its performance and take ongoing action to improve and maintain its ranking.
I’m a writer, artist, and designer working in the gaming and tech industries. I have held staff and freelance positions at large publications including Digital Trends, Lifehacker, Popular Science Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN, The Xplore Tech, and others, primarily covering gaming criticism, A/V and mobile tech reviews, and data security advocacy.