New Website SEO Checklist: How To Get Your Website On Google in 2020
According to Mill For Business’s research, 547,000 new websites were launched every 24 hours in 2019. The number is staggering, isn’t it? Given how many new sites are added every day, it’s understandable that many website owners wonder how to promote a new website when established competitors have more authoritative domains that naturally rank better in search engines.
What are the chances of getting your new site to rank on the first page in Google search? How long does it take for Google to index a new website? What are the SEO steps for a new website launch? Is it even worth marketing a website if it is less than six months old?
Continue reading to get answers to these and other questions on how to SEO your website. We have put together a new website SEO checklist that will tell you how to get your website on Google and achieve high rankings.
SEO Checklist #1: Semantic SEO. Keyword Research For New Website Launch
Semantic SEO is a marketing technique aimed to improve website traffic by using metadata and semantically relevant content that clearly answers specific search queries.
The first step in semantic SEO is researching the semantic core—a list of phrases and words, describing the type of goods and/or services offered on the website, and, at the same time, matching the search intents of your target audience.
The purpose of this is to identify the low-volume and high-volume search queries, and use them to achieve a higher search engine ranking.
However, never forget that more important than any item on our SEO checklist for new websites is writing content for actual readers—not search engines.
Make sure that your copy sticks to the topic and all the keyword phrases are relevant and used naturally as part of the content. Maintain a keyword “density” between 1% and 3% to prevent your content from looking spammy. There are a number of SEO tools to help you find the best keywords, including Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, and SEMRush.
Let’s take a closer look at the search for “digital marketing” topic in one of the best semantic SEO tools, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, and explain how to SEO your website with it.
Search volume represents the average monthly number of searches for the keyword in the selected country. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer shows that, on average, people search for the term “digital marketing” 65,000 times per month in the US. Therefore, we can consider this keyword to be a high-volume one. At the same time, global volume for the term “digital marketing” accounts for 546,000 monthly searches worldwide, so ranking on the first page in Google search for this keyword is likely to result in a substantial traffic from various countries.
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer also provides an option to explore multiple keyword ideas relevant to the term “digital marketing”. For example, the “Having same terms” section shows you all possible keyword combinations that contain the term “digital marketing”. Suggested phrases in this section include “digital marketing agency” with 10,000 monthly searches in the US, “what is digital marketing” with 9,300 searches, etc.
The “Also rank for” section shows all the keywords that the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for. This section is very useful for getting new ideas on the other keywords and phrases relevant to your target search. For example, if your content is dedicated to “digital marketing”, you may also consider using terms such as “online marketing” and “internet marketing”.
Once you have compiled a list of relevant keywords, you can start developing content for every page of your site. It’s important to keep in mind that your text copy should be unique, useful, and up to date. It’s also recommended to mix text with other types of content, such as custom images and videos. If the site copy has already been written, you will need to update it by including semantic keywords and phrases as a part of your new website SEO.
SEO Checklist #2: Technical SEO. Conduct a Technical Audit of Your Website
Technical SEO refers to the task of optimizing a website for crawling and indexing. However, it can also include any technical process aimed to improve search visibility, such as mobile optimization, structured data markup, page speed optimization, etc. A technical SEO audit is the very foundation of all SEO efforts.
Technical SEO checklist:
- All web pages should respond with 200 OK success status. Make sure you don’t have pages that result in 4xx (page not found) and 5xx (server error) response codes. Below is an example of how to find web pages with such errors in the Screaming Frog SEO tool.
- All web pages should have SEO meta tags, including page title, meta description, H1/H2/H3, etc. Meta tags are invisible tags providing information about your page to website visitors and search engines, and they should be included in every basic SEO checklist. Meta tags should comply with the search engines’ recommendations, be unique, and contain the target keywords. Don’t underestimate the importance of filling out the required meta tags for every page of your site even if it contains more than 100 pages.
- Check out the loading speed of your website. We recommend using PageSpeed Insights tool to analyze your site speed performance. This web tool was specifically created by Google to help you identify ways to make your site perform better and be more mobile-friendly.
PageSpeed Insights tool will define exactly what issues are slowing your website down and provide recommendations on how to fix them. Keep in mind that fixing all issues and hitting the “yellow” or “green” page speed zone is just as important part of search engine optimization as having a good content strategy and checking all marks on your new website launch checklist.
- Check if your web pages are mobile-friendly. Since July 1, 2019, all new websites are indexed using Google’s mobile-first indexing. You can check if your site’s pages are mobile-friendly using Google Mobile-Friendly Test. During this test, Googlebot analyzes how your mobile users see your web page. If the page passes the test, you will see a green message saying, “Page is mobile-friendly”.
In case your website does not pass the test, the tool will give you the reasons why it failed and what it recommends you to do to fix the problem.
- Make sure you don’t have duplicate content. In other words, this refers to content that might be replicated within your website or on other web domains. If your website structure presumes duplicate content, it can be addressed with canonical link elements or redirects, depending on the cause.
- Make sure your website has a correct sitemap.xml file. A Sitemap is an XML file providing search engines with an efficient list of all live URLs on a site. You will need to make sure that this file doesn’t contain non-existing pages or pages with redirects and duplicate content. Another important file is robots.txt, and you need to make sure that it’s configured correctly.
Robots.txt is a text file used to instruct web robots (search engine robots) how to crawl pages on the website. These directives specify which parts of the site should be hidden from search engines. In case there are no applicable directives, search engines will crawl the entire website.
We also recommend indicating the location of any sitemaps associated with your domain at the bottom of this file. You may check Robots.txt specifications from Google for more details on how to create this file correctly and how to SEO your website with it.
- Build an SEO-friendly website architecture with internal links. Internal links connect pages on your website with each other. Overall it gives Google an idea of your site’s structure and gives more link value to its most useful and valuable pages. Check out the best practices of internal linking from Yoast.
To make sure that your site is fully technically SEO optimized and all items on your new website launch checklist are completed, you may need a review from an SEO agency such as ComboApp. ComboApp SEO Strategy team has extensive experience in running technical SEO audits, managing new website launches and new website promotions, as well as optimizing sites of varying complexity for search engines. Experts at ComboApp know how to market a new website in any industry and deliver guaranteed results.
SEO Checklist #3: SEO Link Building. Develop an External Link Building Strategy
When your brand-new website is ready to go live, you may be asking, “How long does it take for Google to index a new website?” On average it takes from 4 days to 4 weeks for Google to fully index a website. However, if the site contains more than 1000 pages, it may take from 2 to 4 months to crawl and index all pages.
To check if your web pages have already been indexed by Google search engine or not, you need to sign in to Google Search Console. Select the URL Inspection section from the left menu. Then, enter the web page URL you want to check in the search bar at the top. If this page has already been indexed by Google, you will see a message saying, “URL is on Google”.
Once you have completed semantic and technical SEO and made sure that the site pages are indexed by major search engines, it’s a good time to develop and implement a link building strategy to boost your new website SEO.
Link building for the purposes of new website SEO doesn’t have to be aggressive. In fact, you need to create links to your content as naturally as possible. It is recommended to gather links from web resources of various types, such as forums, social media platforms, questions and answers sites, catalogs and web directories, etc.
Another great tip is to avoid the overuse of “anchor” links. Anchor text refers to the clickable words used to link one web page to another (Ahrefs). For a new website SEO, it is recommended to create a small number of keyword anchor links while increasing the number of links without anchor text (so called “naked” URLs), when the URL is entirely visible to the content readers.
The HTML code for a naked link should be like this <a href=”https://www.yourwebsite.com”></a>. To make it look more natural for search engines, it’s also recommended to create brand anchor links such as “your website name”, “your product name” and generic anchor links such as “click here”, “view more”, etc.
Let’s dive deeper into the main types of websites that you can use to collect links for your site in the early stages to help you better understand how to get your website on Google.
3.1. Sign Up for Catalogs and Web Directories
For a new website SEO, we recommend you start with manual submission to the most relevant and useful web directories. Create a thorough description of your business, include a link to your home page, add images, and include other information that potential customers and clients might find useful. There are a number of lists of the best web directories and catalogs in 2020, such as this one.
As we have mentioned before, if you are wondering how to promote a new website and how to get your website on Google, you need to remember that you need to carefully choose the most relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy domains to get links from during the early stages of your website’s presence on the internet.
For example, it is highly recommended to add your company to Google My Business and Bing Places. This will help you get trust from search engines and potential clients, increase visibility on local search results, attract new clients, and drive sales. Here is a great guide for getting the most out of your Google My Business listing.
3.2. Create Member Profiles on Relevant Forums
Many forums let you add a link to your website when you fill in your member profile. As a result, you will get a dofollow or nofollow link in the profile itself, and, in most cases, you will also be able to add a website link to your forum signature. This way, each time you create a community post, your website link will appear in your signature after the post message.
It is a good practice to participate in the conversations which are relevant to your business or product. You will be able to recommend other forum members to test your product or service and encourage them to share their experience with other members. You will not only get real user feedback but also create quality backlinks to your domain. Just like with web directories, make sure to choose the most relevant forums during the first months after your new website launch to make it look more natural.
3.3. Get “Profile Backlinks”
Many websites allow members to add a website/blog link on their profiles. All you need to do is to spend some time creating profiles and linking to your domain. Some websites to consider are About.me, Crunchbase, Foursquare, etc. You can easily find many more similar sites on the internet. We recommend you check this comprehensive list from LateNightBirds and add the most relevant ones to your SEO checklist for new websites.
3.4. Get Quality Backlinks from Guest Posts for Your New Website SEO
“Guest posting” refers to the practice of writing a blog post for a site other than your own to build links and gain exposure for your brand. One of the link building tactics is reaching out to websites and blogs relevant to your niche (healthcare, finance, technology, education, lifestyle, etc.) and asking for an opportunity to submit your guest post. In case this option is available, you will be provided with the requirements to the text such as its length, preferable topic, uniqueness, number of links allowed and others.
During the first months of your new website SEO, it is not recommended to order a lot of sponsored guest posts (on a paid basis) even if you have a sufficient marketing budget. Instead, build your young website backlinks profile slowly and continuously while choosing websites for guest posting that are relevant to your niche.
3.5. Reach Out to Journalists
Reach out to journalists and bloggers who write in your niche and may be interested in testing your product/service or mentioning your business in an article. You may google relevant keyword phrases and check the “News” section to see the most recent articles featuring the selected keyword.
Another simple method of how to advertise new websites with the help of journalists is to analyze your competitors’ backlinks. For example, in Ahrefs SEO tool you will be able to review all domains referring to your competitor and choose posts covering their business or product. After that, you will need to find contacts of the authors of those posts and reach out to them with your pitch.
This link building method will be worth the effort and could bring you quality backlinks from authoritative and trustworthy domains if you find the right journalist or blogger who covers your niche, making it an absolute staple of any basic SEO checklist.
Another option on how to get news about the recent articles on your topic is to set up Google Alerts. You will need to choose keywords and keyword phrases to track in Google Alerts and set how often you want to receive a selection of new articles. For example, you can track your competitors’ names and get a notification when someone writes about your competitor. There will be a good opportunity to reach out to this journalist and ask about the possibility of adding your business/product as an alternative solution.
SEO Checklist #4: Social Media SEO. Be Active on Social Media
This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning how to get your website on Google by leveraging social media for search engine optimization. There are several reasons why you need to actively manage the social media pages of your business or product, and we would like to highlight the most important of them:
- Social Media Builds Authority and Brand Trust. These are the platforms where you can engage your target audience, interact with your potential customers, and provide expertise. You can also gain new ideas from communicating with people who use your product or service.
- Social Media Content Gets Indexed. Of course, it doesn’t mean all your tweets or posts on social media will be indexed by Google. It should be relevant enough so that your content can be found by people searching for this topic. The more comments and other types of engagement your blog or post gets, the faster search engines will find such content because of the social factor.
- Scale Your Social Media Exposure to Boost Traffic. Participate in relevant groups and tell people about your business and how it can satisfy their needs. Remember that people spent an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media in 2019. So, there’s a great opportunity to find your potential customers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
Aside from traditional social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, it is highly recommended to create profiles at Quora and Reddit and promote them as well. These question-and-answer and discussion platforms are sources of enormous traffic. Imagine that Quora has 300 million monthly active users while 1.2 billion comments were added in Reddit in 2018.
You will need to search for relevant topics or questions and share your expertise while recommending your business or product where appropriate. This marketing strategy will not only bring your new website quality backlinks, but it will also drive potential leads and clients to you, making it one of the most important SEO steps for a new website promotion.
SEO Checklist #5: Content Development For New Website SEO. Write Blog Posts Regularly
Building links becomes much easier when you have content worth linking to, and blogging stats confirm this statement: companies who blog receive 97% more links to their sites while the best length for a blog post is 1,600 words, which takes around seven minutes to read (SEO Tribunal).
You don’t have to write a certain number of blog posts each month. However, there is a clear positive correlation—the more blog posts you publish per month, the more traffic you’ll get to your website. According to HubSpot research, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that published between 0 and 4 monthly posts. Let’s take a closer look at how to do SEO for website step-by-step with SEO content development.
Choose the topics for your blog posts based on the list of keywords that you’ve already created during the semantic SEO for a new website. Try to include only one keyword group in your blog post. There is no need to use the same or very similar keywords in multiple posts. Google search engine understands which words are synonyms and expects all posts to be unique, useful, and SEO optimized.
For instance, if you want to write about project management tools, you don’t need to create separate posts about the “best project management software” and “best project management tools” as these keyword phrases are synonyms. It is a much better idea to write one blog post about the “best project management software for Mac” and another one for the “best project management tools for Windows”.
Developing site content featuring insightful and interesting information will increase your chances of getting organic backlinks from independent journalists. If they find your content useful enough, they will likely quote your article and link to it. Therefore, conduct research, share your expertise, and create content that others will want to link to.
Do not forget to share your posts on social media accounts and other professional content sharing platforms.
SEO Checklist #6: Off-page SEO Strategy. Analyze your competitors’ backlinks profiles
One of the tips on how to promote a new website launch is to analyze the backlinks of your main competitors. You can use the Ahrefs SEO tool to get information about which domains link to your competitor’s website. You will need to add this website to the search field and click “Referring domains” in the menu bar on the left. By changing the “Link type”, you will be able to choose domains only with dofollow links which are more useful for search engine optimization as they transfer so-called “link juice” (share the authority of the referring domain). Getting backlinks from such domains would be your priority goal in order to build your own strong backlinks profile.
When analyzing your competitor’s backlinks profile, you may group referring domains in the following way:
- Dedicated reviews and mentions in posts. Here you can see all the articles featuring your competitor and try to send your pitch to their authors. You may ask them to test your product/service and add it to the old article as an alternative solution. The other option is to feature your product or service in a dedicated review. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sponsored post. Try to find the journalist who will really want to try your product and share comments and honest opinion about it for free.
- Catalogs and other web directories. Look for the catalogs and directories your competitor has a profile on and create your business or product listing there as well.
- Forums. Find out if there were any discussions about your competitor on relevant forums. Explore forums threads and messages containing the backlinks to your competitor website and try to post a reply recommending your product or service as an alternative solution. Make sure that your member profile looks natural to avoid getting banned. Add your picture and other information and post several messages in other threads without promoting your website.
- Any other categories of the websites linking back to your competitors. Make an assumption that all the domains referring to your competitors, whether this is a Web 2.0 website or a Q&A platform, or any other site type, would be a good fit for the backlink to your site as well. All you need is to find out how the backlink to your competitor was created and replicate it. Consider your competitors’ backlinks as tips for your link building strategy.
Assuming that your new website is fully optimized and demonstrates positive user behavior patterns, while both on-page SEO and off-page SEO are done correctly, there are high chances of ranking in Google’s Top 100 for low-volume keywords in a couple of months.
The next important question will be, “How well does your website satisfy users’ search intent for these low-volume keywords?” Search engines will consider the following metrics: how much time users spend on your web pages, do they continue browsing other websites from the Top list after visiting your site, do the users switch to the other pages of your website and how long they stay on those pages, etc.
If most of the above-mentioned factors have a positive value, your website will start ranking for middle-volume keywords and high-volume keywords afterward.
We are confident that getting your new website to rank in Google search in a couple of months is a realistic goal. However, in order to make this happen, strategic planning and consistently precise tactical execution are required. Don’t have time or resources to do it yourself – hire our experienced SEO professionals to do the “heavy lifting”, so you can focus on a bigger picture.
Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. Whether you need help with promoting a new website or an existing business, we look forward to putting our SEO experience and expertise at your service.