As they say in the first three words of the Bible, “In the Beginning” 😉
Schedule a call if you are planning to start SEO for a new or existing website.
New websites are filtered from appearing high in Google’s search results.
- Until Google sees your new website as an authority for your keywords, you’ll never get to the number one position and get found by potential customers.
- Learn more about the “Google Sandbox” filter
🤔 Why It Matters:
Marketing Return On Investment: Strategic website search engine optimization from the start will drive new traffic, leads, sales, and revenue more quickly than an unoptimized site.
- Building a website without a lead generation plan is like buying business cards, but never handing them out.
- Like your website, the business cards might look good, but they won’t make you money unless you hand them out.
Cost Savings: Ranking your new website on Google Organic Search may require tens of thousands of dollars to do well in competitive markets.
- However, incorrectly setting up your new website could multiply your long-term marketing spend and time to results by 2X-5X or more.
- You pay for the “opportunity cost” of the business you DON’T get because you didn’t plan the first time around.
The SEO Process Takes Time: Rankings on Google won’t come overnight. Depending on your market, SEO success can take 6-12 months or more, especially in competitive markets.
🤝 Why Start “In the Beginning”:
Your SEO strategy informs:
- Domain name/URL selection: Not all domain names are created equal. Including keywords in your domain name will make it easier to rank on Google.
- What web pages to build: At a minimum, you want pages built for each of the products, services, and locations you serve.
- What content to create: Your website information should include the right keywords and topics that will lead to clicks, calls, and conversions. Tools like Ahrefs and Semrush can help you find the right keywords.
- How much content to create: There’s a balance between writing enough content for Google, and writing the right amount of content to keep your audience engaged. In general, highly engaging and well-written content leads to people staying longer on your website (dwell time).
- Link strategy: Interlinking pages on your website (on-page SEO) and generating backlinks (off-page SEO) from other websites has a direct impact on your rankings.
- Simple for knowing when to link to another page or article: Is this helpful and relevant to helping the reader understand the topic?
✍️ Yes, but:
Your SEO strategy is clarified by your broader business strategy. Before SEO you need:
- Clarity on your business goals. Ranking highly on Google for the wrong keywords will take you backward. Knowing what your goals are will inform keyword selection. Proper keyword selection drives lead generation and gets you in front of the right searchers on Google.
- What is your current service area?
- Do you plan to expand to additional locations in the future?
- How much online competition do you have for your service areas and service lines?
- Clarity on your target customer. Knowing where your ideal customers are based and what they will type in to find companies like yours should define your SEO strategy.
- What questions would they ask about your services?
- What problems have they experienced that businesses like yours can solve?
- What other products and services have they tried in the past to improve their situation? Which ones do they typically select?
- What common thinking errors do people make about your line of business?
- What would their purpose be for visiting your website?
- Clarity on who is NOT your target customer. Knowing what services or areas you do not want to provide is equally important, so you avoid driving the wrong type of web traffic.
- What keywords do you NOT want to show up for that someone might typically associate with your line of work? Knowing your “negative keywords”, you have a sense of what to exclude from your site.
- Finalized business details. For the best results, you want to have your official business:
- Phone Number
- Hours of operation
⚙️ How It Works:
Step 1: Research
- Competitor Research: Look at how your well-performing competitors designed their websites.
- Note what features they built, the pages created, and the keywords they focused on. Also, note the word count for each of the pages they created.
- Identify any issues or reasons someone might not buy from their company website.
- Questions to ask:
- Did they integrate their social media accounts?
- Did they use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace?
- Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes…would you buy from your competitor’s brand? Why or why not?
- Keyword Research: Use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to review what example keywords your competitors rank for.
- Content Research:
- Tools to use:
- Ahrefs and Semrush
- Google’s People Also Ask (PAA) section
- Answer the Public
- Read the book “They Ask, You Answer”. A great guide for creating helpful question-and-answer content that drives website engagement.
- Tools to use:
Step 2: Planning
- When Should I Start SEO For My New Website?Typical Website Structure: Local businesses in the same industry typically have a very similar website structure:
- Home Page
- About Us Page
- Locations Served
- Individual pages for each location
- Individual pages for each service
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Terms and Conditions
- Contact Us
- Keyword Mapping: Each new web page should be mapped to the keywords you want to target. Prioritize 3-5 keywords for each page.
- Avoid focusing on too many keywords for one page.
- Meta-Data Mapping: Based on the keyword mapping, optimize the following in priority order:
- Content Brief: Directions for a writer (or you!) on how to write content that sells.
- Purpose or goal of the page
- Target audience
- The key message or main theme
- The tone and style of the content
- Specific information to include or exclude
- The desired call-to-action
- The format of the content
- The length of the content (ideally it matches the length of ranking competitor content)
- Any keywords or search terms to optimize for
- Any guidelines or specific brand guidelines to follow
- Any research or data that needs to be incorporated
- Any examples or inspiration for the content
Step 3: Implementation
- Content Writing: Create content following the guidelines created in the planning stage. Also, ensure that you have great visual elements and engaging elements like buttons on your website to drive conversions.
- Interlinking: Identify natural ways to transition users to other pages on our website as we’ve done in this article.
- Set Up The Blog: Regularly sharing helpful blogs provides advice to your customers, positions you as an authority, and drives greater web traffic from Google.
- You can discuss service or product recommendations, “best practice” tips, and even provide links to the work of others that provide value.
Step 4: Optimization
- Meta-Data Optimization: Adding the meta-data associated with your content, such as the page title, meta description, and keywords designed in the previous step.
- Website Speed Optimization: Ensuring your website loads in 1-2 seconds Research has shown a 2-second delay in load time, resulting in abandonment rates of up to 87%.
🔎 Before You Launch:
- Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console on your new website. This allows you to monitor your website traffic performance pre- and post-website launch.
- Set up keyword rank tracking. This allows you to monitor the most important keyword rankings on your website and see changes over time. We use and highly recommend ProRankTracker.
- Set up a call tracking phone number with dynamic swapping. This allows you to track the number of leads you get from your SEO. Callrail is an excellent option for call tracking.
📈 Post Website Launch:
- Advertise your new website to friends and family. The initial website visits signal to Google that your website is helpful and that Google should move it up on search results.
- Run paid ads for your new website. It may take 3-6 months for Google to index your website for popular keywords. Running paid ads gives you a burst of business, and also speeds up the organic ranking process.
- Ensure your website is set to “index”. Website developers typically set a website to “no-index” prior to launching. No-index is literally saying to Google: “Don’t add me to your search results.” You don’t want that result when you launch the final website.
- You’d be surprised how often website developers forget to set up a new website to index…
- Now you should start seeing traffic and leads come in!
For Existing Websites:
- You’d follow the same 4 steps outlined previously.
- However, if you hire someone, you have already paid $1,000 – $5,000 for the website and spent countless hours reviewing or creating the content. Your biggest cost is opportunity cost.
- Remember to set up your redirects for your domains.
- If using an old URL: If your website URL structure has changed, ask your web developer to redirect all old pages to the new pages.
- If using a new URL: Re-direct any old URLs to the new URL structure.
- You’ll see strong improvements in web traffic following our recommendations.
- The age of your past URL is one of the key ranking factors for Google.
- You’ve already built some trust with Google for your old website, so it won’t take as long for your new website to start showing results.
🙅♂️ Common Myths:
- 🚫 All website developers know SEO. Don’t make the mistake of thinking all web developers or marketing agencies are properly trained in SEO for their clients.
- Not everyone knows how to write code and follow web development practices that will support your SEO goals.
- Directly ask them about their experience and results with SEO.
- 🚫 Build your website and they will come. Search engines on average take at least three months to begin being found on Google. Competitive keywords can take upwards of one year even with the right strategy to be found on Google.
- 🚫 SEO is all you need. While SEO is important, also consider your customer’s conversion journey when designing your website.
- Driving thousands of new website visitors every month does not impact your bottom line unless they call you.
- Intelligently designing your website with a great user experience will directly lead to an increase in business opportunities.
- A great website with the best results will incorporate both SEO and conversion.
👉 The Bottom Line:
- The best time to start thinking about your search engine optimization (SEO) is when you first build your website.
- Schedule a call with us if you need a second opinion when launching your new website.
- We’ve been providing SEO services to help local businesses level up since 2016.
💪 1 Life Update
- Set a goal this year to gain an additional 10 lbs this year. Since my wrestling and boxing team days, it’s been difficult for me to put on pounds.
- This is the year I will finally gain some weight!