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So you just launched your new website, congratulations! But, have you thought what comes next? How are you going to get people to this awesome new website? Too many times it seems someone, or a company, takes the time to make a state of the art website, and it just sits there without any hope of being found.
While there are a plethora of ways to promote your newest creation (SEO, SEM, social, etc.) there are a few fundamental guidelines that will help Google find your website, and hopefully rank highly. This is something we like to call SEO 101.
Meta. Meta. Meta.
Your website’s meta can be the foundation that either leads you to the Google Promised Land or left in the abyss with all of the other forgotten sites. One key ingredient to remember for your meta is to create it for potential visitors, as well as for the bots that search engines send to scan your site. Be sure to create an actionable title and description to entice a click, and also use those keywords for the queries you want to rank for. While there is no true limit of length these should be, try to fit all of your meta within Google’s standard length, about 70 and 160 characters for the meta title and description.
This aspect is mainly to direct the web robots how to crawl your site, what pages to search and what pages not to. This file also shows the search engine what pages you would like to be indexed (able to be ranked and searched for), make sure to disallow those pages you would rather not show up, like a Thank You page. Moz has a great in-depth article on your robots file.
A sitemap is about just as it sounds, a map to your site for those search engines to crawl through. A sitemap allows the robots to look through your website more efficiently, and to show them everything it has to offer. It’s generally best practice to update your sitemap each time you add new content, as a way of saying to Google, “Hey! Look at this over here.”
This would be a must use tool if you had a website redesign in which you are not using the same URL or structure. This is another tool for those robots and any recurring visitors that could have bookmarked your page. Rather than starting from scratch on the SERP, this shows the bots that you simply just changed addresses. For your visitors, you want to show off your new and improved and not leave them wondering where you went.
So, you’ve completed all of the steps above but how will you tell whether or not your hard work has paid off? Google Analytics is a free tool for your website to make sure you are getting that well-earned traffic. Be sure to track all of your KPI’s as you move into the search engine promised land that is Google.