Creating a new website is such an exciting (i.e. stressful) event in a business owner’s marketing journey. Getting it designed to your liking and seeing it live is akin to building a physical store and opening it to the public for the first time (well, minus the hammers and nails and the annoying construction noise).
While getting a pretty website for your business is celebration-worthy, the work doesn’t stop there. In the modern marketing landscape, a beautiful website is nothing if it’s not optimised for search engine visibility and ease of use.
So how do you make your new website more visible in search engines? The answer is SEO.
What is SEO?
In a nutshell, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is performing little (or not-so-little) tweaks to your website to get it ranking higher on search engines and increase its visibility. Search engines like Google and Bing share a list of ranking factors that serve as a guideline for website owners. Their general intention is to make searching for things on the internet a better experience for everyone. This is why the quality and relevance of content and website usability are among these factors, as these play quite a big role in how valuable the user finds your website in their search journey.
Incorporating these in the planning stages of your website design can set you up for success in terms of ranking higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages) when you launch your site.
So, whether your goal is to get leads through your website, generate more traffic, or gain brand authority, Search Engine Optimisation should be at the top of your priority list as a business owner.
Why is ranking higher in the SERPs such a big deal?
Any person with access to the internet relies on a search engine to give them more information about products or services they’re interested in. If you want these people to be looking at your website, you should strive to rank higher in the SERPs. Besides, a high-ranking website gives the impression that your business is trustworthy and has authority in the industry you belong to.
Ranking higher in the SERPs also allows your site to be seen quicker, which encourages people to come to your site first instead of your competitors’. It’s like having your store in an area within the mall that has the highest foot traffic. The more eyeballs looking at your site, the more chances of people spending money on your products or services (ka-ching!) or, sometimes, just learning more about you and your brand, which is just as good a deal if you ask me.
SEO for new websites
Optimising a new website for SEO is easier than doing it later because you are starting from scratch. There are no issues or problems that need fixing, just a fresh new, shiny website ready to conquer the internet.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any hard work involved, because there is! You need to plan ahead and be consistent like your life depends on it.
In terms of SEO, what things should you take into consideration when planning a new website? We’ve listed a few things to help you get started.
- Choose your domain name wisely.
It should be a no-brainer for business owners to choose a domain name that represents their brand accurately. Going for the company name is often sufficient. You should also consider choosing the correct TLD (top-level domain). If you’re an Australian business looking to get customers within Australia a ‘.au’ TLD makes sense.
Tip: It wouldn’t hurt to look into the uniqueness of your domain. Maybe a company in another country shares the same name and has reserved the .com alternative, or worse, has beaten you to using the brand name on all the social media platforms!
- Decide on a CMS (content management system).
Whether you’re doing web development in-house or outsourcing the job, looking into your CMS options is always a great idea. This way, you’ll know your way around your website to be able to add content, as you will be doing that regularly after the development phase.
WordPress is a popular one as it is the most widely used among SEOs (about 40% of websites are made with WordPress) and provides more options to suit your business’s particular needs.
- Develop a site structure.
A well-planned site structure makes navigation easier for your users, which makes it less difficult for them to use your website and explore as many pages as they want without having to jump through hoops to get there. You can start with the basics: the home, contact us, about, and service pages. You can also add a blog, which brings us to our next point.
- Publish high-quality content.
A blog is a great way to communicate with your potential clients and keep them engaged. You can fill it with relevant industry information and articles, which also boosts your authority in your field. A good blog will be easy to read, includes images and videos (where necessary), have keyword-rich titles and URLs, and is unique.
- Optimise page URLs.
Keep your URLs short and sweet. Avoid the use of special characters and use relevant keywords where it makes sense. If you’re a plumber providing plumbing services in Hobart, it is good to create a page that has Plumbing Services Hobart in the title and the URL.
Tip: If you cannot remember your own URLs, it is (more than likely) because they are too long or complicated.
- Make your website mobile-friendly.
In 2021, there were 7.1 billion mobile users worldwide. Let that sink in for a little bit. This number has most definitely increased in 2023. Nearly everyone owns a mobile device which is why it is critical that your website looks good and can be read on a mobile phone. Most themes are now mobile-responsive, but it couldn’t hurt to check. Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test tool that you can use.
Tip: Navigation and buttons should be labeled clearly, and fonts should be big enough to be read from a small handheld device.
- Use Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Here comes the exciting part – tracking! Google offers these free tools to help you gain insights into how users interact with your site. It can show you where they are from, how long they stay on a particular page, what device they use, and much more! This information can be useful as it can tell you which pages perform and which don’t, so you can apply changes to address them effectively.
Tip: Use the annotation feature on Google Analytics to mark important dates, such as a website redesign or installing a critical plugin. This way, you can monitor any changes in your site’s performance and be able to pinpoint what exactly has caused the change.
- Set up a Google Business Profile.
Having a verified Google Business Profile allows you to control how your business is seen across all Google apps. It’s an easy-to-use tool that can help your customers find you and your business without much difficulty. You can edit your business information, such as an address, contact number, and logo. People can also leave reviews, which you can leverage to promote your business further.
How long does it take to rank a new website on Google?
Now that you’ve done everything and ticked all the boxes, how soon can you see the results of your hard work?
Bad news, they can take a while. It is, unfortunately, a waiting game.
According to an Ahref study:
“almost 95% of newly published pages don’t get to the Top 10 within a year. And most of the “lucky” ones, which do manage to get there, do it in about 2-6 months.”
The good news is the earlier you start, the better it is for your website in the long run. And trust me, it is worth the wait. We’ve worked with clients who’ve made the mistake of ignoring SEO and are now paying a hefty price for it.
Quality SEO takes time and consistency. Getting your website optimised from the get-go and establishing good SEO habits will work to your advantage and set you apart from the rest who do not know better.
Get the pros to help you.
If you’ve done everything and are still not getting the results you want, or you’re unsure how to proceed, you can talk to one of our SEO experts at Tailored SEO. We currently offer a free 1-hour SEO consultation to discuss strategies to address any issues that could be hurting your search engine rankings.
Soraia has worked in the industry for over a decade. She especially likes growing teams and developing strategies. When she’s not working on client sites, you can find her drawing food and plant illustrations.