Recently, I launched a new website to promote my SEO copywriting services. Anyway, let’s just say that I’m not the savviest person when it comes to web design. I’m an SEO copywriter- not a graphic designer. However, I do know of the importance of SEO planning for a new website. Performing SEO on your website before it goes live can save a lot of time and energy down the road.
Do Your Research
Before you launch your website, you should conduct thorough keyword research for your industry. First, I like to brainstorm a list of words and phrases that people would type if they were searching for my services. After creating this list, I then enter these phrases into a keyword suggestion tool. Personally, I find the free Google Adwords tool to be sufficient for this preliminary task. I try to target words that (a) have decent search volume; (b) have low competition (one way I check is by doing an allintitle search in Google- it shows how many sites have that keyword in its title; and (c) are worded to where they can easily be fit into my content.
Outline Your Site
After coming up with a good list of keywords to target, I think the next step is to outline your website. For my new site, I simply created a word document detailing the major sections and subsections of the site. For each page, I would put the keyword rich title tag and url I wanted next to it. Doing this will help you get a clearer understanding of the direction your website will be taking.
Assign the Right URL
One of the problems with waiting until after your site is live to optimize it is the preexisting urls aren’t optimized. This leaves you with two options- (1) you leave the urls as is and waste an important SEO opportunity; or (2) you change the urls to be more SEO friendly and use redirects to do it. Neither option is really that appealing, and that’s why I recommend pre-optimizing your website.
Begin Your Linking Strategies
Beyond the optimized words on your webpage, linking is the most important SEO strategy. Without links, you’ll have a difficult time earning the trust of the almighty Google. This is way I believe it’s best to start planning your linking strategy early on. For instance, you could start writing articles for an Ezine directory that you can publish with links once your site goes live; or you could create an online press release announcing the launch of your site. Another effective technique is to speak with fellow bloggers in your industry to inquire about contributing a guest post to their blog. These are just a few of the things you can do early on to start your linking strategy on the right foot.
Make the Most of Your Sandbox Time
Many first time website owners get discouraged when they fail to see themselves climbing the Google ranks. It’s like they think their website should just magically pop up at the top of the SERPs instantaneously. Unfortunately, spending some time in the Google sandbox seems to be necessary. However, instead of getting discouraged, I think you should make the most of this time. This will force you to think of other ways to promote your website. Whether you use PPC, print advertisements, press releases, or blogging, the important thing is you never lose sight of your ultimate goals for your site. Also, you should use this time to earn the search engine’s trust by constantly adding new, quality content to your page.
Save Some of that Content
As I just mentioned above, one key to earning the respect of the search engines is to frequently update your website with optimized content. This helps separate you from the fly by night sites that Google creates its sandbox penalty for. For this reason, I recommend not placing all of your content on the website at its initial launch. Of course, you want to have all of your relevant sections up when the site goes live. However, if you have an articles section, you should consider only placing a few articles at a time. This will help you stretch that content to last over the long haul.