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Good day, my fellow SEOers! I hope you are well. As I teach for Search Engine Academy, I am often asked about an effective SEO strategy for new websites. I’m always glad to hear students ask about optimizing a site that’s brand new, and the sooner the SEO expert is brought in, the better. As in, as soon as the idea for a new website hits your brain better, umkay?

What should you do to incorporate SEO into a new website? It’s more like, where do you begin?

As always, you want to discover sooner rather than later what keyword phrases to use for web pages. You will want to use one main keyword phrase per page you’re going to publish. So, sit yourself down, fire up your favorite keyword research tool(s), and based on your industry, start getting keyword phrases for your static HTML web pages and “topics of interest” for your blog. You are going to blog, aren’t you? I hope so!

Next, you want to plan your Information Architecture. You want to put your most important content pages up top where they can easily be found. And what are my most content pages, you ask? Generally your products and services pages. Those are the ones that make you $$$$, my friend.

OK, who’s going to write content? And, who is going to do the actual SEO? Get these questions answered during the design phase, and have the writers get cracking – assign them keyword phrases and start reviewing draft content to be ready for the final optimization before the site goes live.

Other things to cross off your checklist:

  • SEO for images and photos – make sure you use the alt text tag by putting in your keyword phrase or a variation of it
  • Sitemaps – create both an HTML and XML sitemap for the site
  • Google Analytics/Google Webmaster Tools – have the accounts ready to be activated. Put the Analytics code into the template or each page. Be ready to verify the domain in Webmaster tools once the site goes live.
  • Linking strategy – understand what the Google Penguin algorithm update is about, and plan your initial linking campaign accordingly. You should have some vertical directories, business listing directories and a couple link partners lined up.
  • Competitors – do you know who your online competitors are? You’ll need to be ready to monitor how they’ve done their SEO,  and keep up with yours. You’ll want to do keyword ranking checks and inbound back link analysis on them.

These are just a few things you can do for optimizing a new site. Keep a project spreadsheet on hand, and update it as you complete items.

What else would you do for a new site? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time, keep it between the ditches!

All the best to you,