A volume of online content is available for owners of new websites. Most advice is targeted at business owners deciding how much to spend on their new online presence. Paying a professional web design firm enables these owners to deploy a fancy website without spending in-house resources.
However, once a new site is live, businesses must move on to the next phase of online competition. Improving the search engine rankings of a new website is just as important as creating the site itself. Thankfully, a basic search engine optimization (SEO) effort can be described in a single article.
The following is a quick SEO guide for new websites:
Check On-Site Issues
Look for broken links. Even brand-new websites can suffer from broken internal links. As pages are moved or additional content is added, site administrators can miss an occasional broken link.These errors, though small, can magnify over time and reduce site credibility and performance.
Make the site accessible to search engines. Search engines are computers that “read” your site in a different way than humans. Technical files like the robot.txt are critical to search engines even as they are invisible to end users.
Test site speed. Faster websites rank better in Google and Bing. Faster websites are more popular with users as well. Check for speed-related problems such as caching, image size, or excessive redirects to ensure you have a fast website. The webmaster of a sports site saw a 12% increase in search rankings across 115 keywords just by reducing image sizes on the photo-heavy website.
Delete bloated code. Websites consist of content directed at humans and code directed at computers. While this back-end code is required for all sites, try to achieve a 1:1 ratio of content readable to humans and code intended just for computers.
Create More Content
New content is the lifeblood of the internet. Search engines reward sites with useful, timely, and relevant content that is updated regularly. Unfortunately new sites have very little content and are trying to compete with established sites with years of content.
According to Hawaii SEO company, Argon Marketing, new website owners should incorporate a simple rule when it comes to developing content:
Match the quality of content on your competition’s site, then beat them on volume.
Different industries have different guidelines. The quality of content on the website for a physician’s group will be quite different than the content used for a take-out restaurant. But within a specific industry, it is easy to identify the level of quality required by simply looking at the websites that rank for relevant key words.
New site owners should determine the quality of content necessary to rank in their industry, then spend resources generating more content than their competition. When performed properly, this method of content generation ensures long-term success for a business and its website.
Develop a Strategy For Links
Google has a public set of guidelines for new webmasters. Bing’s guidelines are quite similar. In both cases, search engines try to reward sites that do certain things and punish sites that do other things. The distinction between these types of sites, though murky, is called “white-hat” and “black-hat” in the online community.
Moralistic and legal arguments aside, each new website owner should develop an overall strategy for the method by which they intend to get new links. At one extreme, an owner can do absolutely nothing and hope to generate free, organic links over time. At the other, an owner can actively advertise to pay prominent websites cash in exchange for links. The former will result in terrible rankings for years. The latter will result in search engine penalties within weeks.
All site owners need to determine where they want to fall between the two extremes. Before considering specific tactics or working on keywords, the website owner should settle on a long-term plan for the method of acquiring links. Their level of risk-tolerance, industry, and purpose for the site should affect the link strategy. Then, in turn, the link strategy will determine which particular link tactics the site should utilize.
These three, basic steps, are the first actions a new website owner should take when trying to begin an SEO strategy. Whether working on SEO in-house or paying for a professional, online marketing company, the owners of new websites need to invest resources to compete with their established competition.
This article has been written by Nolan Kido. Nolan works in the technology industry in Honolulu, Hawaii.