An SEO checklist is one of the best tools you can have in hand when launching your new website.
Having SEO in mind since the very first day will make sure you’re on the right track, and that all of your SEO efforts are paying off.
The 2017 Website Launch SEO Checklist
Step #1: Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a must-have for any website, providing information on traffic, visitor information, as well as SEO standings.
Step #2: Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
The two tools help you keep track of how high your content is ranking on the respective search engine.
Step #2.5 (WordPress): Google Analytics Plugin & YoastSEO
The Google Analytics plugin integrates with WordPress, showing you information on your rankings right in the WordPress dashboard.
YoastSEO, on the other hand, is a must-have for optimizing new pages. It acts as a checklist for the best-practices you need to keep in mind for optimizing your new pages.
Step #3: Sitemaps and Robots
A Sitemp.xml helps the search engine crawlers index your website easier. While at a glance this might seem too technical, it’s not – all you have to do is visit xml-sitemaps.com and submit your website. Then, you go to Google Webmaster and add the sitemap. Or, if you’re using WordPress, you can just use YoastSEO as mentioned in the previous point.
Robots are the “crawlers” that index your website. Robots.txt is an instruction file on your website, telling the crawler which parts of the website to index. As with Sitemaps, this isn’t hard nor technical at all. You can learn how to create a Robots.txt here.
Step #4: Setup Social Media Pages & Social Shares
Whether or not social media affects ranking or not is up to debate. Whichever the case may be, setting up your social media profiles and adding social shares to your content never hurts.
General Audience:Facebook, Twitter
Niche:Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube
As for social shares, tools are dime a dozen. You can check out Sumo, for example.
Step #5: Check for Redirects and Broken Links
You can use Screaming Frog to check for any redirects or broken links on the website.
Download the software, run it on your website, and fix any issues you might encounter.
Step #6: Optimize Website Load Speed
One of the ranking factors for Google is the bounce rate. Meaning, how many people who open your link on search stick around or bounce off.
If your website takes more than 4 seconds to load, there’s a good chance a lot of the users will bounce off. So, use the Google PageSpeed Insights to check the load time of your website and fix it accordingly.
Step #7: Make the Website Mobile-Friendly
Over 80% of internet users browse from their smartphones. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, those users won’t stick around, increasing your bounce rate and hurting your rankings.
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to see how well your website fares with mobile users. Other than that, you need to make the website more responsive on mobile, which takes some tech know-how.
Step #8: Optimize the Homepage for the Main Keywords
Whatever the purpose of the website, there’s usually a couple of main keywords you’d like to rank for.
Use one H1 tag mentioning your main keyword and what the website or business is about. You can use the other keywords in regular paragraphs on the homepage.
Then, you need to create a meta title and description. This is what pops up when someone finds your website on Google as the title or description.
The formatting for both is as follows:
<meta name=”title” content=”The Website.”/>
<meta name=”description” content=”A page’s description, usually one or two sentences.”/>
Both of them should be mentioned in the header of the website HTML.
Step #9: Index the Website & Launch!
This is arguably one of the most important parts of the SEO checklist: you installed all the tools, optimized the website, so now it’s time to “launch.” Go here, submit your website link, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back!
Step #10 (Bonus): Initial Backlink Outreach
Whatever direction you’re planning on taking the website, you’ll need to start working on getting some backlinks.
One of the best ways to start is to see what your competition is doing and replicate that. So, Google for the keyword you’re looking to rank for and write down the names of your top competitors.
Then, go to Moz Open Site Explorer and input each of those links.
This’ll give you a complete list of all the websites linking to your competition. The next thing you do from here is to note down all the websites, find a way to get in touch with their webmasters and ask for a backlink.
For specific directions on how to do that, you can check out an article by Moz here. If you want to streamline your SEO link building efforts, you might want to give Tallyfy a go.
Was the SEO checklist helpful? Got anything to add? Let us know down in the comments! SEO and Content Marketing tend to go hand-in-hand. Improve your marketing skills by checking out the Content Marketing Checklist and our guide on quality Content Marketing.