Launching a new website is a busy and exciting time for any business. There is so much to think about and, when the primary drive is to get the website up and running as quickly as possible, it’s easy for things to get missed. One of the most regularly missed aspects of a website is integrating SEO, ‘search engine optimisation’. SEO helps to improve your ranking on Google and there’s a bit more to it than just keywording your website. Here are four behind-the-scenes things to check for SEO before you launch your new website.
Google Analytics and Search Console Integration
Every website should have Google Analytics set up and integrated as it provides a plethora of extremely valuable and informative data about your website visitors. This data is vital to measuring the success and effectiveness of your website. It can also be used with future marketing and advertising campaigns since it helps to give you a better understanding of your customer demographic. Along with Google Analytics, you should also integrate your website with Google’s Search Console which is a free tool provided by Google to help site owners manage their Google Search visibility. The Google Search Console provides ranking insights and also reports on site errors which can harm your search engine optimisation if left unchecked. Google provides an easy setup guide to follow when signing up for the Google Search console but if you need assistance, contact CSQD and we can setup the Search Console for you.
Redirect old page URLs
If the page structure and URLs on your new website have changed, then it will be worth reviewing and redirecting old page URLs to their new counterparts. If an old page URL is not redirected properly, people who find that link in Google will most likely end up on a 404 Error page on your website which could result in a loss of potential traffic. You should redirect old pages to their most relevant counterpart page on your new website. If there is not a relevant page on your new site to redirect to, avoid redirecting to an irrelevant page such as your home page as this is frowned upon by Google and could negatively impact your organic search rank. It is best to just leave irrelevant pages as a 404 ‘not found’ error on your website as this will inform Google that the page no longer exists and to hide it from search results.
Title and description meta tags for all pages
The page title and description meta tags are the two most-used tags for SEO purposes and every page on your website should have these set. Your site content needs to be readable and appealing to users in search engines and the title and description meta tags allow you to manually control how your pages appear as search results. Your page title is the main heading that appears in search results and is typically 50-60 characters long. The meta description is the brief summary of up to 160 characters that is displayed below the title and URL. Defining a custom title and description is as easy as adding the following code between your webpage’s <head></head> tags:
<title>Your page title here</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”This is where you add your meta description.”>
Alternatively, if you are running a WordPress website, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin which allows you to customise your page title and meta description when editing your page within WordPress.
Submit your sitemap
Submitting a sitemap to Google allows Google to get a clearer understanding of how your pages and content are organised and it makes it easier for Google to find all of your pages so that they can be indexed correctly. Sitemap generally come in two forms: XML and HTML. XML sitemaps are generally created for search engines whereas HTML sitemaps are created for users to aid in internal page navigation. For the best SEO results, you will want to make sure that your site has an XML sitemap. If you have Google’s Search Console integrated with your website, you can submit your sitemap there. Google also provides sitemap examples and best practice guidelines to follow to ensure that you get the most out of your Sitemap for SEO.