The internet has made it very simple for new business owners and bloggers to create their websites, set up e-businesses, and get going without many barriers. Anyone can start an online business or blog; it is liberating.
However, not all of them succeed.
Most new websites fail because they don’t drive traffic and potential buyers to their websites consistently. A lot of it has to do with the inability to properly optimize websites for higher search engine rankings.
Search engine optimization or SEO is a vast, dynamic field. It can be overwhelming for new online entrepreneurs and website owners to identify what needs to be done right away. If you are in the same boat, this blog post is for you.
Here is a search engine optimization checklist to help you get started in the right direction. Use this SEO checklist to set up necessary accounts, install plugins that would make your life easier, and set up policies that would help you make your website more search-engine friendly.
Take all the steps listed in this SEO checklist, and you’ll build your website a solid SEO foundation for sustainable higher rankings, immense value, and free organic traffic.
1. Install WordPress and an SEO plugin
There are many different content management systems (CMS) that you can use for your website and blog. However, if you do not have a specific requirement, we’d suggest going with WordPress. It is the most popular CMS right now, and it offers plenty of plugins and features to help you get started. It is also very easy-to-use and intuitive for new bloggers and website owners.
After you install WordPress, you will also need an SEO plugin to make your life easier. Our recommendation would be to use the free version of the Yoast SEO plugin. It is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress.
The Yoast SEO plugin will simplify adding meta information to each blog post, optimize your web page for a specific keyword. It is also regularly updated, so you know your website would be in safe hands.
2. Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts
The second order of business would be to set up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Google Analytics is an absolutely essential tool that helps you measure how much traffic your website gets and, more importantly, how you get that traffic and how those website visitors interact and engage with your site’s content.
Google Search Console helps you get an insight into how search engines view your website. You can also view various reports that can tell you your website’s indexing status, search queries, penalties, crawl errors, organic click-through rate, and more. First, you will have to verify your website in Google Search Console.
3. Improve the loading speed of your website
The loading speed of your website is one of the most important search engine ranking factors. Ideally, your website should not take more than one second to load. Otherwise, you will have a tough time ranking higher on the search engine results pages.
You can check your website’s current loading speed with the following tools:
Identify how quickly your website loads and try to improve upon it. If it takes more than a few seconds to load, most of your traffic will bounce off to other sites. This will create a bad impression and hurt your site’s credibility. Moreover, it will also send negative signals to search engines, making it even more difficult to rank.
Therefore, this is an important step to take before you start driving traffic to your site.
4. Create a buyer persona
Who is your target audience? What do they like? What are the problems they are trying to solve? What are their goals?
Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial.
If you do not know about your audience, you won’t be able to give them the information they seek and deserve.
Therefore, create a buyer persona and include as much relevant information as you can. This will further help you in keyword research as well as creating content for your website visitors — which is an extremely core pillar of search engine optimization (SEO).
5. Start keyword research
Once you create the buyer persona, it is time to get started with keyword research.
As you have a new website, we’d suggest targeting long-tail keywords. These keywords consist of three or more words and, therefore, are more targeted. Although they have relatively low search volume, they also have less competition.
Here is a list of keyword research tools that you can use for your research:
6. Create a basic on-page SEO checklist
You’re going to need it when you start creating content. It is important to prepare this checklist beforehand.
This checklist should contain instructions on what you need to do when publishing a new blog post. It should also have actionable steps on how to do it.
Here are a few examples related to basic on-page SEO tasks:
- The URL should be short, and it must include the main keyword. It should not have any special characters.
- The main keyword should appear in the first 150 and last 150 words of the web page.
- Each blog post will have an H1 tag. That’d be the main title of the web page. It should be attention-grabbing and keyword-rich. The title should not exceed 50-60 characters.
- Aim for at least 6 high-value external links per 1,000 words. These links should only be directed to high-quality and well-established websites that are also directly related to your niche.
- Each 1,000-word blog post should contain at least 5 to 6 internal links to other relevant pages on your site. These internal links should be contextual, relevant, and keyword-rich but diversified anchor text.
- The meta description should be between 160-300 characters. It should be interesting, descriptive, and it should also contain primary, secondary, and LSI keywords.
Use these above-mentioned examples and set standards that you can easily follow each time you publish a new page.
7. Create long-form content
New websites have the best chance to rank in the SERPs if they create highly informative, detailed, and long-form content. Research suggests that search engines are more likely to rank long-form and detailed content (2,000+ words) on the search engine results page.
8. Start building backlinks
Once you have at least 10 solid, high-quality blog posts, you can start building backlinks. There are various ways to generate backlinks, and this post lists a few of them.
When generating backlinks, keep two points in mind:
- Backlinks should come from high-quality, well-established websites that do not follow black hat (prohibitive) SEO practices.
- Backlinks should be generated from websites that are directly related to your niche. The links should be contextual in nature.
Making a new website search-engine friendly can be a difficult task. It requires a lot of time and effort. Most importantly, it requires a lot of determination and perseverance.
Follow this SEO checklist for new websites, and you would be on the right path.