Over the years I’ve spent in the world of web design, I see website SEO pushed to the wayside all too often! Of course, a brand new, eye-catching website with killer copy is great, but it can all fall flat without a solid SEO strategy – and I see this happen to fresh-faced new brands to seven-figure website makeovers alike. When I started to dig a little deeper, it became crystal clear to me that SO many businesses don’t prioritize SEO early on in the web design process. Instead, it was an afterthought (if they ever thought about it at all!) But SEO is the golden ticket to getting your site to show up in Google search results (which is exactly why I build SEO planning into my client processes!) In this post, I’ll spill the tea on the best SEO practices for new websites, basic SEO best practices, and how to weave SEO throughout your entire website, whether it’s on your homepage, your services page, the blog – or anywhere else on your URL.
Basic SEO best practices: it’s easier than you might think!
Sometimes it can feel like SEO is a big, scary thing that is far too complicated to figure out and do well, so online service providers steer clear of it entirely. And while it’s true that many factors make up “good” SEO for your website, they’re all absolutely figure-outable and something you can maintain. Let’s dive into the best SEO practices for new websites (or any website!) Having a scroll-stopping website is a piece of the puzzle, but these SEO best practices can help you go from simply putting your website out into the world to making sure it gets noticed by your potential clients.
Don’t underestimate the power of SEO
So, how does SEO work to make your website appear in more Google searches? SEO strategy is the process of fine-tuning your website to attract organic (aka non-paid) traffic from search engine results. Essentially, it makes your website more visible whenever someone does a Google search for something related to the words found on your website.
Plus, a well-thought-out SEO plan can be exactly what makes you stand out in the sea of competition. In a 2022 study, Search Engine Journal found that 57% of North American small businesses have no SEO strategy…and 23% have no intention of creating one in the next year. The silver lining for brands willing to work on SEO strategy is that they gain a competitive edge over all those other brands that aren’t even trying. While SEO requires getting over the hump of a learning curve, just making an effort can put you miles ahead of similar brands.
Remember: SEO is a marathon, not a sprint
The whole point of SEO is to drive organic search traffic, which is a long game. Unlike the instant gratification you get from paid advertising, SEO is more gradual. It takes time to build site authority, consistently write SEO-friendly content, and get indexed by Google’s algorithms. However, organic search traffic is invaluable for establishing long-term brand know, like, and trust and attracting ideal clients.
Four SEO best practices for new websites
Since it can take some time to see SEO pay off, when you’re building a new website is the perfect time to set the stage for long-term success. That said, the beauty of SEO is that it’s never too late to start working on improving it! Even though all the best practices listed below are helpful for new websites, they also come in handy for sprucing up your website at any stage.
SEO best practice #1: get to know basic keyword research
When most people think of “SEO,” they automatically think about keyword research, and with good reason. Keyword research should always be the first step before writing any copy for a new website! Keywords are the words and phrases potential customers use when looking for a product or service like yours. Sprinkling these throughout your website makes it easily searchable, which in turn boosts your visibility.
SEO best practice #2: Supercharge your site speed
So many people overlook this one because it has nothing to do with keywords. However, site speed is vital to website visitors and Google’s algorithm. According to a Hubspot study, 39% of visitors will abandon a site if things take too long to load – and they expect it to load in three seconds or less. Lightning-fast load times are also more likely to be prioritized in Google search results. Everything from images to plugins to hosting can affect site speeds, so I recommend installing a plugin like NitroPack to help you get a handle on what’s working well or slowing things down.
SEO best practice #3: optimize every image on your site
Even though keywords are beneficial in on-page website copy, they can also be leveraged elsewhere to bolster your SEO – namely, in image names and descriptions. If you’re in the habit of accepting default image file names like “IMG4716.jpg” or generic alt tags like “pic” or “headshot,” then you’re missing out on a huge SEO advantage! Keyword opportunities extend beyond the words on each page; you can also use them to label images for better search results. Google’s image search actually prefers meaningful and relevant descriptions, so choose keywords that truly describe what’s in the image for the best results.
SEO best practice #4: don’t use the same keywords on repeat
In the early days of SEO, keyword stuffing – the practice of repetitively using a specific keyword to artificially boost a website’s search rating – was commonplace. These days, that’s considered an SEO *worst* practice and can actually get you penalized by search algorithms (not to mention it doesn’t make for a very pleasant reading experience!) Instead, use keywords in a header or two and then naturally throughout the on-page text and image descriptions. Using a variety of relevant keywords makes readers AND search algorithms much happier.
SEO best practices for blog posts
Once you’ve nailed down the SEO for the five essential website pages, the next step is consistently producing high-quality, search-optimized content. SEO works wonders for driving traffic to your website, but engaging and valuable content is what will keep your audience hooked. In a sense, SEO and content creation are two sides of the same coin that work together to drive more traffic to your website – and that’s where blog posts come into play.
With regular blogging, you’re constantly building up a library of content that shows up in search results and draws in potential clients. Even though shorter keywords are great for your main website pages, long-tail keywords are your best friend when it comes to blog posts. These are longer and more specific keyword phrases, and visitors are more likely to use them when they’re using voice search, closer to making a purchase, or looking for particular information. Every single blog post is a new opportunity to rank for fresh keywords; over time, those efforts add up! Well-crafted informative and educational content helps flaunt your expertise and cultivate brand recognition and trust.
For example, “the best business tools for online coaches” is more specific than “business tools.” Even though it’s more niched down and has less SEO competition than a shorter phrase, that’s exactly what you’re looking for with blog post keywords!
Best SEO practices for WordPress sites
If you have a WordPress website, you’re in luck! While most website builders support some level of SEO optimization, WordPress is the top contender for people whose top priority is SEO strategy. Here’s why:
- It’s a breeze to create SEO-friendly URLs that include keywords.
- Plugins like Rank Math guide you to optimize every post according to current SEO best practices.
- A blog is essential for long-term SEO, and WordPress is the leading blogging platform on the market.
- With plugins like NitroPack and flexible hosting options, you have more control over site speeds.
SEO doesn’t have to be hard!
At first glance, figuring out the best SEO practices for a new website can be overwhelming, but it’s an incredibly useful tool that you can use with a bit of know-how and practice. By embedding SEO into your website design process from the start, you’ll significantly improve your website’s visibility from day one. But even if you’ve already launched your site, remember: it’s never too late to start building a long-term SEO game plan that will pay dividends over time!
Ready to up your SEO game? We can help you with that, whether you’re looking for a new WordPress website or a strategic plan to take your organic traffic to the next level. Book a free consultation now!