Saturday, April 14, 2012

SEO Guidelines for New Websites

Clients often come to us with SEO requirements for their websites with a domain age of more than two years. These websites, not having been optimized ever, rank low on factors like keyword ranking, Page Rank, Alexa Rank etc. Our Team has put together some useful, often overlooked, pointers to help launch your website successfully – for web users as well as search engines.

Foresight for your Website

There is more to a new website than meets the eye. In order to maximize your site’s potential on Search Engines, it is important that your site is optimized even before it goes live, starting with the goals and purpose of your website and the domain name you choose; then to keywords you use for each page, search-friendly content and more.


Registering a Domain Name

Choose a domain name that has important keywords associated with your product, service or brand name. Short, crisp domain names are preferred over long ones. If your target market is global, select a .com domain. If you are targeting a particular country or language, it is better to register a domain name of that country. For example, choose a .in domain, if your target is primarily India.

We recommend you register the domain for at least two years. More the number of years, easier it is to gain the trust of search engines.

Keyword Research

It is important to choose the right set of relevant keywords.

If there are keywords and phrases you want to rank for, create a list that you can measure and work towards. Map these keywords to the relevant pages on your website and include them in the content of the pages accordingly. Ideally, each page should be optimized for 2-4 keywords. Targeting too many keywords per page will lead to dispersion in traffic for that keyword on your site and the focus of the keyword will be reduced. Don’t just choose keywords with the highest traffic possible; go for keywords that are balanced, have moderate to high search volume and, most importantly, are highly relevant to what the user is looking for.


Make sure the content on your website is original and not lifted from any source. Your website can be blacklisted on search engines if it contains replicated content. Add fresh content regularly. This increases the chances of crawlers indexing your pages, and tells engines and visitors alike that your site is an authority on the subject. Creating and updating a blog regularly is a good way to add fresh content to your site. Recent changes in Google’s algorithm include the Freshness Update, which is said to impact 6 to 35% of web searches.

Meta Tags

Add unique, keyword-rich meta tags (Titles, Descriptions and Keywords) to each page of your website. Use the most important keywords at the beginning of the tags. Write the title and description tags relevant to the respective page.

Check Your Robots.txt File

Double check your Robots.txt file. Make sure it is in the root folder of your domain. Ensure that all the folders and files – that you want search engines to find – are allowed. Development folders, JavaScript folders, CSS folders or private folders – that you do not want to show up in search engine results – should be disallowed.

Webmaster Tools

Add your site to search engine webmaster tools. This will ensure that search engines find, crawl, index and categorize your website easily, and also present detailed information about each page of your site.

HTML Sitemap

Provide an HTML version of your site that lists the links to the pages of your site. This will guide the search engine spiders to all the pages of your site. If your navigation is currently in Flash or JavaScript, this is an effective, alternative way of making sure that search engine spiders find the pages.

XML Sitemaps

Submit updated XML sitemaps to search engines regularly. XML sitemaps let the search engines know how often a page is changed, help improve crawl rate and provide credibility to the websites.

Create Social Accounts for Your Site/Brand

Search Engine Optimization and Social Media together have a powerful impact on search engines. With Social Media increasing in popularity and reach, your new site should be taking advantage of it as a medium to leverage. Create Accounts on all or some of the following Social Media sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Pages, YouTube (if you have or plan to have video content), Flickr (if you have image content), Scribd (if you have document content), Slideshare (if you have presentations), StumbleUpon (for bookmarking) and Reddit.

Do remember to link the social media accounts to your main website and vice versa.
Don’t just set up these accounts and then abandon them. Make sure you update the accounts frequently with unique and fresh content!

Install Google Analytics

Track important data that will help you gain insight into details like visitor behaviour, keyword performance, traffic etc. Based on the insights, you can improvise on your website or make changes to maximize its potential. With the above steps in place, you can ensure a search-friendly launch of your website, which appeals to your readers and search engines alike.

Contributed by Reynah D’Lima, Client Services Executive, Position² Team

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