December 17, 2018 Last updated December 10th, 2018 177 Reads share

How to SEO a New Website

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There’s not much point in building a website if people can’t find you. To drive traffic to your site, you are going to need to familiarize yourself with SEO practices. While there are entire industries built around optimizing your site for SEO, all it takes are a few basic steps to get started.

There are several reasons why SEO is so important, chief among them being the cost of doing it the other way. Adwords and Pay Per Click may seem like inexpensive options until you start paying for them. The fact is, it can take a lot of exposure to generate an increase in website traffic.

Organic traffic, on the other hand, is free. When your website shows up at the top of a search page, you are nearly guaranteed to gain clicks. If you know the basics of SEO, you can get your site steadily moving up the pages without paying a dime. Keep doing what you are doing and there is a good chance your site will stay there without the need to pay for clicks, leaving you free to create and grow your business outside the strict constraints of paying to play.

Credibility = Clicks

High search engine rank also boosts your credibility. There is a certain amount of trust inherent with having your site at the top of the page. The further down the page your site slips, the less likely it is to get those clicks. If you aren’t on the first page of results, you can forget gaining any traction without paid advertising. In fact, 60 percent of clicks go to the number one result in a search result. The remaining 40 percent is split among the second through all of the remaining results. Strong SEO is necessary to push you to the top.

Website Design – the Words You Use

Structure your website so that it’s easy to target keywords. Think of the keywords that best represent your product or service and will drive appropriate traffic to your site. Once you come up with a list, begin creating a page for each keyword.

Along with featuring the main keyword, include several secondary related keywords on each page. Targeting several primary keywords on various pages on your website allows you to appeal more widely to search engines than if you stuff all your main keywords on each page.

It is important to choose your keywords carefully. You want words and phrases that are commonly searched, but at the same time, you don’t want to pick something with so much competition that it’s near impossible to gain traction. Focus on words and phrases that make sense and naturally fit into your content.

Free and Cheap Hosts Can Be SEO Poison

Going with free or very cheap web hosts can work against your SEO efforts. The problem is that these companies tend to attract the kind of low-quality spam websites that Google hates and you’re likely to find yourself guilty by association. These low-cost sites don’t provide any valuable content. The search engine recognizes that and automatically gives them a lower priority. Using the same host can cause your blog to be treated the same.

The good news is that thanks to market competition, it’s still possible to choose a cost-effective solution without sacrificing quality. A quality host offers a variety of benefits. Not only will you stay on the friendly side of search engines, but you also can expect quality customer support and help with tech issues. For someone running their own website or that of a small business with no dedicated IT staff, this is an important distinction.

Boring but True – Content is STILL King

Write valuable content. The days where you could repeat keywords in nonsensical ways are long gone. Use your keyword in a natural way in your writing. If you have chosen a good one, it should fit in and make sense, without standing out in any way. Make your writing more appealing to search engines by going long, around 2,000 words to get the best reach. Use the keyword in titles and subheads but only if it makes sense.

Does Your Site Load Fast?

Make sure your page loads well. A high bounce rate – which is the number of people that leave a website after viewing only one page or while waiting for the homepage to load – is bad for SEO. There are online tools to check the speed of that your site loads. Be sure to check it on both desktop and mobile, as there can be a huge difference in performance. Here are some ways to speed up your page:

  • Simplify your site’s design
  • Allow browser caching
  • Optimize your images for web content
  • Select the best host for your needs
  • Host large files, such as video, externally

Make Friends With Google Analytics

Use Google’s tools to check for issues that negatively affect SEO. It will let you know what’s working and which website elements you should focus on improving to increase traffic. Google Analytics, once installed, lets you see where your visitors and links are coming from and how people are finding your site. Google Analytics should be in place before you launch, so you can immediately begin gathering data and making adjustments.  

What can you use this data for? Not only to improve your website’s SEO performance but also to grow your business. The data at your fingertips will tell you what customers are searching for, what keywords brought them, and which parts of each page they visit once they arrive. This is information that businesses have had to pay external research firms for in the past. With it, you can decide where to should expand your website, other products customers may be interested in and who your competitors are.  

Final Thoughts

After putting in so much time and effort to design and build a website, you want actual visitors to show up. Sitting back and waiting for them to come is not likely to result in anything approaching satisfying results. Building a website optimized to attract traffic allows you to spend less on advertising by taking advantage of organic growth. While certain SEO practices may come and go, the basics of building a website that is attractive to search engines remain the same.

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Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens is a front end developer. He's a full time blockchain geek and a volunteer working for the Ethereum foundation as well as an active Github contributor.

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