A lot of SEO advice is geared toward sites that have been up for a while. But what about a brand new site? What needs to be done for SEO so a search engine can find your site quickly and start ranking? Here’s what you need to know.
Finding your website
Even before you think about ranking for keywords, the search engines need to know that your domain exists. In the past, you used to have to register your site with search engines so they’d notice you faster. These days the engines work so fast that this isn’t necessary. Any new site on the web for more than a week will be found. However, you can speed up the process by registering for Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. That will put your site immediately on their radar.
To check to see if a search engine has found your site, do a search for the domain of your site. That’s the surest way to check if your site has been discovered. If you have a physical business, we also highly recommend that you sign up for Google My Business. This will give you significant SEO benefits.
If you’re starting fresh, you might as well start off on the right foot and pay attention to technical SEO. Technical SEO techniques are things like making sure your website is standards compliant, analytics tools are installed, sitemaps are created, and similar things that are related to the SEO health of your site as a whole rather than individual pages.
The search engine tools above will have some pointers on fixing technical SEO flaws they find. A good quick-and-dirty checklist for the basics of technical SEO (and a bit of on-page) can be found in this SEO checklist from Clickminded.
Get those first few backlinks
A site without any backlinks is an island unto itself. One of your first SEO goals should be to get a few backlinks to prime the pump. Building a great backlink profile is easiest when you start with a strategy up front. It’s much harder to change a bad backlink that it is to get a good one.
Backlink strategy could be a post all on its own, so here is a link on how to approach backlink building for a new site from Majestic. You don’t need a lot of links at this stage. Five is a good target number.
Beginning the climb
Let’s assume that you’ve already done your keyword research so you know which keywords you want to rank for. Once you’ve confirmed that your site has been found by the search engines you can start creating content that uses your keywords. Since your first few pages are going to be core navigation pages, rather than a blog post, your most important keywords should be in prominent positions like the title and H1 tags. Even more important, however, is how natural the keywords fit in with the topic of the page and how natural the page would read to a human reader. The Clickminded link has some advice about that, but Google’s SEO Guidelines document has the details on what they’re looking out for.
Finally, remember that it can take a week or more to start seeing shifts in rankings and it could take several months before your site gets enough age to really start pushing up the ranks. But if you continue from this strong foundation and continue to build backlinks and produce relevant content, you’ll soon find yourself among the top.