When most business owners are launching a new website they only focus on the design, and while a great design is a must-have, you need to implement some SEO thinking and strategy before you go live. Going to will give you a fighting chance at attracting some organic traffic and being found in the SERPs.

You could have the most beautiful website design in the world, but what good does that do if nobody can find it?

Take a look at some Clickbank websites and all of the Click Funnel template sites that marketers are using. They aren’t the prettiest sites, but they are driving millions of dollars in sales. That’s the reality — design alone means nothing when it comes to traffic and sales.

When you have a new website (and new domain) you have a blank canvas, and a fresh start when it comes to ranking and attracting organic search traffic. As competitive as SEO is, you really need to make sure you start off the correct way.

Here are eight things to spend some time on before you launch your website. These will help you lay the groundwork for a long-term SEO strategy. You don’t want to launch a new website without doing these, so use the below as a check-list to make sure you have the basics covered before going live.

Follow this SEO Blueprint to set yourself up for success in the SERPs..


1. Have content lined up for launch and post launch.

This is one of the most common mistakes I see, as so many businesses are so excited to launch that they go live with nothing more than a homepage and contact page. Sure, this will suffice to show family members and friends, but it will do nothing to help your business generate sales.

Not only do you need to launch with content on your site for the search engines to crawl, but you need to have content on your site that your visitors can engage with. You should spend a lot of time to make sure that the content on your website at launch is of the highest quality.

This sets the tone, and first impressions are everything. For SEO, if the search engines crawl a lot of long-form content it’s going to help you get indexed faster and also indicates to them that it’s a resource that should be crawled often. So, you need to not skip a beat, and continue to publish high quality content so the search spiders come often. If you slack at all, or go months without posting, it can really have a negative impact on your SERP results.

It’s also a good idea to launch with several different formats of content, this way you can track your results to determine what format, whether written, audio, visual, or video, performs best according to your audience and your conversion goals.


2. Get your on-page SEO perfect.

When you launch a new website and it’s indexed for the first time, don’t you want the best shot at landing towards the top of the SERPs rather than putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage and creating more work for yourself?

I can’t tell you how many times I will look at new websites for client’s that are ordering links, and in Google it will show the title tag as something like “Home |” or a generic meta description. This is pure laziness, and can really create an uphill battle from day one.

Even if you resubmit your pages to be crawled, that first indexation will play heavily for a while, even after the new results are showing. You should make sure all of your on-page SEO is perfect before you go live and allow search engines to crawl and index your website.

This applies to your home page and all blog content, but also pages like “Contact” and “About Us.” You are going to have limited pages on launch day, so make sure each one is fully optimized for the target keywords.

If you are unsure of what you need to optimize, take a look at Moz’s on-page grader. It’s such an easy tool to use, and even those with no technical SEO knowledge can follow the suggestions to make changes resulting in A+ scores across all pages.



3. Populate an XML Sitemap.

This step is fairly easy, and depending on what platform you are using for your website, is generally really easy. An XML (Extensible Markup Language) Sitemap essentially tells the search engines when you add new content to your website, and provides a “roadmap” of your site that they can quickly access.

When you have an XML Sitemap properly set up it will automatically ping the search engines every time to publish a new page on your website. You don’t have to worry about pinging links or trying to get the search engines to come back to your URL and explore. The XML Sitemap does this for you.

Now, if you are using WordPress as a website platform, the Yoast SEO plugin has a great XML Sitemap feature that allows you to create one automatically with no effort. I highly recommend this one for WordPress users. If you are launching a more custom HTML based website, then you can use one of the many available program to help you build and submit your sitemap. The better option cost money, and always read the fine print, as many free options will limit the number of entries they allow in the sitemap.

Again, the Yoast SEO sitemap option is the best available, which is just another reason that WordPress, in my opinion, is the superior platform to build websites on.


4. Optimize your website for speed.

If your website comes out of the gate slow as a pig, then Google is going to automatically toss you into the lower-tier category. You see, there are thousands of new websites launched every day, and a lot of them are spam. They are published using automated software and filled with spun content, and hosted on shared $1 hosting.

All of those factors contribute to horrible page load times and website speed. With so much new spam that Google is trying to combat daily, they are taking measures to keep it from rising to the top of the SERPs, and speed is one factor that they look at.

These oversea spammers are not going to launch these low quality sites on dedicated servers and CDNs (content delivery networks), and do little extra steps like compress images for optimal loading times.

You want to launch with a super-fast website to keep Google happy, but even more importantly, you want your visitors to have a good experience. If you go to a website for information or to make a purchase, and pages are slow to load what do you do? If you are like most people you don’t wait. You click the ‘back’ button and find another option.

GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights are great free tools to help you improve your load time. Try to keep every page under 2 seconds.



5. Optimize your landing pages for conversions.

Ok, so you have a new business, you just spent a lot of money on a new website design and you have spent some time and effort on making sure your SEO was up to par before launching. You go live, but it’s crickets. Nothing. No sales.

You could come out of the gate strong, with great on-page SEO and some content that ranks, pulling in traffic from day one, but that isn’t going to guarantee you generate any sales. You need to convert that traffic!

Since your website is new, all of your traffic and potential customers will be cold leads. They don’t know who you are. Why should they trust you?

You need to optimize every page that asks for an email address, a form submit, or gives a purchase option. Build in trust elements that make these people comfortable with your business. Highlight your unique selling points, and reinforce why you are a better option that your competitors.

A lot of your traffic will be seeing you for the first and last time, as most visitors never return, so you have one shot to get them to pull the trigger. Make it easy for them to convert.

For example, if you are a realtor and trying to generate buyer leads, ask for a name and email first, and then on your follow up you can get more info. More people are likely to convert if you just ask for a name and email, rather than a phone number and a bunch of pre-qualifying questions. Get the basic info, build trust, then ask for the rest.


6. Build everything with a mobile-first approach.

This is something everyone should know by now, but it’s still a problem I see often. Many times businesses will be so eager to launch that they go live without fully testing their websites on mobile and tablet devices.

You have to realize that the majority of traffic that comes from Google search is now on mobile devices. Add in the fact that voice search on phones is increasing in popularity, and you have to assume that all of your traffic is going to be navigating and experiencing your website on a hand-held device.

It’s important that you take the time to test all functions, navigation and conversion paths on every screen size imaginable. This tool is free and will allow you to view your website on every type of device and screen. Taking the time to do this will ensure that all of your mobile traffic has the opportunity to convert.

Aside from your own eyes, have some friends and family members go through your website on their mobile devices before you go live. Ask them to provide you with feedback based on the user experience. It’s always good to get the opinion of others, as you will tend to be a bit biased.


7. Perform long-tail keyword research to go after low hanging fruit from day-one.

Every industry and niche is going to have some low hanging fruit that can be targeted from the beginning, which can attract some traffic with the possibility of converting, while you go after the more lucrative keywords.

While a term with a monthly search volume of 30 seems like a waste of time, you have to think of the big picture. If you are able to identify 30 of these keywords, and create a piece of long-form content for each that will easily rank, you will be pulling in a couple hundred visitors each month with little to no ongoing effort. This type of strategy is a good foundation and will continue to attract traffic and add to your monthly numbers as the website grows.

It’s crazy to think you are going to rank for the most valuable keywords from the start, so go after the easy low hanging fruit first, and take advantage of every “free” visitor that you can in the beginning.



8. Connect Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Back in the day, the goal was to evade Google and slide under the radar, but today, the only way to win at SEO long-term is to play by their rules, so there is no reason to shy away from Google products like Search Console and Analytics. They are great tools that can really help you.

Connect to both right away. Search Console will allow you to submit your XML Sitemap, which we discussed above, and it will also give you insights to any errors on your website, along with showing you what Google search queries resulted in your website being displayed as an option. This is a great way to identify new keywords to target and create content around.

Analytics allows you to see how your visitors are behaving on your website, in terms of how long they are sticking around, where they are navigating to, and what content they enjoy the most.



Listen, you still want to launch with an eye-appealing website design, but just understand that the design alone isn’t going to help you attract any visitors, which is why it’s important that you implement the eight tips above and focus on SEO before you launch a new website.

All of the suggestions above are very easy to do, and can be crossed off the list without breaking your bank. Most just involve a little research, some time and elbow grease. If you aren’t willing to do this little pre-launch SEO work then you are going to be in a very rough ride, as it only becomes more difficult once your website is live and you need to attract visitors that then convert into sales in order to keep the business above water.

One of the reasons I blog on such a consistent basis is to provide information that genuinely helps small business owners and online entrepreneurs succeed. There is a lot of wrong information out there, so I like to provide accurate information designed to help achieve positive results.

If you have any specific questions related to the tips above, or anything related to pre-launch SEO best practices, leave a comment below and I will do my best to reply as quickly as possible.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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