Launching a new website is chaotic due to the amount of work that must be done to ensure your website will perform its best and rank well. Often, the design and SEO process for launching a new website can take up to 3 months of work prior to the launch. During those months, you’ll need to focus on creating a responsive design as Google ranks responsive sites higher, and it’s what internet users expect to see when they visit a website. Then, there’s the onsite optimization, which can be the most time consuming as content needs to be created, keyword research needs to be conducted, and link building strategies need developed.
Since you’re starting with a blank slate in the eyes of search engines, it takes time for Google to determine the value of your website as search engine spiders begin to crawl your new site. For this reason, new websites don’t gain their authority based only on keywords. Instead, Google takes a number of factors into consideration, such as the number and types of backlinks, social networking shares, and many other elements that go into the natural search algorithm.
Breaking the Trust Barrier
Google tends to slightly favor sites that are older; however, with a newer site, you have a better opportunity to change the perception of how Google views your website. Google is often a little biased when it comes to new websites until they are able to “trust” you. Once you’ve earned their trust, your ranking will improve.
Google’s Matt Cutts says, “The difference between a domain that’s six months old versus one that’s one year old is really not that big at all. As long as you’ve been around for at least a couple of months, you should be able to make sure that you can show up in the search results.”
You can lessen the time it takes Google to trust your website by following the algorithm requirements and ensuring you’ve taken the necessary steps to create a quality and relevant website. During the period of evaluation by Google, there are many things you should work on to help break through the trust barrier, such as an effective keyword strategy, link building, and maintaining your optimization.
What Does the First Year Look Like, Honestly?
During the first year after launching your website, there’s going to a be a lot of testing and developing. Even after you’ve launched, a website is never truly finished. You’ll need to install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to allow you to monitor how well your keywords and website are performing. By linking the two accounts to one another, you’re able to analyze the data to make adjustments to your optimization. Your data is likely to fluctuate the first year as you have competition you need to beat. In addition, you’re likely to need to adjust your keywords as you begin to see what terms and phrases are drawing traffic to your website. The first year is always the hardest. You should expect to gradually gain more traffic overtime. Some months will be up and others down, but for the most part, you should be trending up. Keep in mind; some online businesses are very seasonal. If you are in this type of business, make sure you take that into account.
Conducting Keyword Research
After you’ve analyzed your competitors, make a list of all of your products/services with terms related to how you refer to them and how potential clients/customers might refer to them. Use the Google Keyword Planner to search for related terms for those on the list you’ve created. With the new list that’s generated, input the keywords into the Keyword Planner to see how well they perform. Begin to narrow down your list by eliminating those that have a high competition volume and those that have a very small search volume.
Optimizing Your Website
After you’ve narrowed down your final list, create unique title tags and meta descriptions using targeted keywords. Include a targeted keyword in each page URL, ensure the tags section is complete, and the keywords are included in your content. Don’t forget to create additional headers (h2 through h6) using your keywords. If your website has images, complete the ALT tags to allow search engines to understand what visuals you’re using.
Create high quality, relevant, and informative content for your website. Each page should be no less than 300 words of completely unique information. Include a primary and secondary keyword in the first and last paragraph of your content and use a couple of supporting keywords in the remainder of the content. Keep in mind, the content needs to flow naturally and can’t sound forced or stuffed with keywords. Finally, don’t forget to submit your site map to Google.
Developing Your Link Building
Your link building strategy plays a large role in getting Google to trust your new website. When creating your website, conduct research on your competitors to see who has mentioned them online. If they are linked to authoritative websites with large social media followers, use the sites as an opportunity to reach out to pitch your content. Be sure to leverage your efforts to include a link back to your website with a great anchor text. When reaching out to other sites directly, only contact those that are considered to be Influencers. Don’t waste your time on the small fish in the sea.
You will attract websites to link to your site and encourage your links to be shared on social media by creating great content. This also includes the development of a strong content marketing strategy. With a strong content marketing strategy, you’ll influence others to share your website; thus, encouraging backlinks.
Be sure to monitor your link portfolio as your website grows to ensure it only contains authoritative links so you aren’t hit by an algorithm penalty. You may need to clean up your link profile periodically.
Plan for the Future
As previously mentioned, your website is never “finished.” You can’t just optimize your website once and expect it to be done. You must monitor your SEO strategy and make adjustments when necessary. If you commit yourself to maintaining a solid strategy, you’ll earn and maintain Google’s trust. You’ll quickly discover that the time you’ve spent was worth the investment.
“SEO Strategy for New Domains” SearchEngineJournal.com
“SEO Checklist for Startup Websites” SearchEngineLand.com
“4 Tips for Launching a New Website and New Brand” SearchEngineWatch.com
“Is Domain Age Important SEO for Google Rankings? ECreativeIM.com
“6 White Hat Link Building Tips for 2014 and Beyond” SearchEngineJournal.com