So you’re planning on launching a website and you want it as SEO-ready as possible–but where do you start? We’ve picked our most important points to get your website singing like a bird. Set your website up properly for SEO from the start, and it makes it a lot easier down the line.

1. Do research.

Keyword and competitor research to be exact. Keywords are straightforward: when someone types a phrase related to your website into a search engine, you want to come up for that in the results. That phrase is your keyword. Every industry has a whole bunch of them. For us, we’d target phrases like ‘digital marketing agency,  SEO agency, content marketing agency’.

With competitors, it’s a matter of gauging just who your online competitors are. Remember: an online competitor isn’t the same as your offline competitors. Let’s say you sell laptops and you have a brick and mortar shop. On the street, your competitors are PC World, Harvey Norman, and the likes. Online, if you’re starting out, your competitors are not those big brands. Big brands are long established and have a lot of trust. You won’t be toppling them for a while. Think realistically and target competitors at your level.

How do I do keyword research?

A very easy gauge is to see what your competitors are ranking for. Google phrases. See who is on page one. You also need to keep in mind how difficult it’ll be to rank. Moz have a cool Keyword difficulty tool that’ll tell you your chances of breaking in that keyword. Other than that, all you need is a Gmail account to log into Google Adwords Keyword Planner. It’ll give you traffic estimates and keyword ideas. That’s your base.

2. Get familiar with onsite SEO.

10 steps. We mention them a lot because they’re important. SEO is search enginge optimisation–the process of doing anything to your website to get it to rank more highly. The ten factors are:

  • Your URL
  • Page Title
  • Title Tags
  • Headings
  • Meta descriptions
  • Media descriptions
  • Social signals
  • Website speed
  • Internal and external links
  • CTR, Impressions, Bounce Rates, and Dwell time

In no particular order! Your keywords from point one should appear in all the above. Keep it natural and don’t shove too many in, or you’ll find yourself in trouble with the long arm of the Google law.

3. Install Analytics and Search Console.

Both are seriously useful for monitoring all kinds of stats: queries people have typed to find you, your bounce rate, your demographics. We’ve got whole guides on how to use Google Analytics and Webmaster to tell you how your marketing is going.

4. Keep usability and UI in mind.

UI is like a joke: if you have to explain it, it’s gone wrong. UI is user interface. Its brother is UX, or user experience. Both of these are the principle of making your website as easy to use as possible. If you’ve got a cluttered, difficult site, you’ll send your readers running. Which, in turn, will negatively impact your SEO as your bounce rate will climb and your dwell time will plummet–which is a screaming flag to Google that something’s not right.

Find a luddite. Get them to use your website. See if they can figure it out. Always keep responsive, mobile sites in mind too.

5. Make a sitemap and upload it.

Sitemaps do great things for your SEO–they’re also a long-standing practice of web design. Sitemaps exist as way for you to tell search engines about your site: your layout, your content, any changes you make. If you don’t have a sitemap, get one asap. You can build one yourself via an XML file or you can use third party tools like XML Sitemap to do it for you.

Once, you’ve got the file, submit it in your Webmaster dash.

6. Have a blog.

Use it. If you’re on WordPress, make sure you’ve actually got a proper first post. If possible, have several posts ready to go. The more good-quality, original content you post, the better it is for your SEO and rankings. I’ve written enough words about content marketing and blogging to warrant an ebook.

7. Get social up and running.

Social signals–shares, retweets, pins, +1s, etc.–tell Google that your website it trustworthy. The more legit shares you get the better. Google, being biased, favours +1s and shares on Google+, but the myriad other social media platforms are plenty important. Make sure all your blog posts have a share box. Install Facebook like boxes and Twitter follow options on your homepage too. Make sure all your social links are easy to get to!


8. Keep an eye on your permalinks.

We see a lot of websites with odd permalinks: or non-customised URLs like Your permalinks are another way to give Google an idea as to what your website is for. The more Google can tell about your website, the better it is for your SEO.

If you’re changing your site, keep your URLs the same. Change them and you’ll lose SEO value.

9. Do/get a site audit.

Site audits are great to keep up with SEO. SEO is a forever-changing beast. Once upon a time, all it was was spamming directories with links to your website. That’d get you banned in a hot second now. SEO encompasses an awful lot now: everything from link-building to writing quality content. Getting a site audit ensures you’ll follow the best practices and it’ll keep your site ticking over, penalty-free.

10. Optimise your site for speed.

Website speed is a factor in SEO and rankings, but it’s not nearly as important as good content or keywords in your title tags, for example. It’s still important–and anything that makes your site better for the user is always a plus. Google have a really cool tool called PageSpeed Insights that lets you test your page’s speed and tells you what to do to fix it.

Please follow and like us: