So you’ve finally finished building your new website. Now what? You can’t simply rest on your laurels and expect visitors to come flocking. If you want tons of eyeballs on your site, there’s one thing you absolutely must pay attention to, and that’s SEO.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is exactly what it sounds like: optimizing your site to propel it to the top of the search results. But how do you handle SEO for a new website without getting lost in the weeds?

Below, learn some top-tier SEO techniques to help you get a website ranking boost for beginners.

Keyword Research

SEO best practices for new websites always start with keyword research. The idea here is to find high-performing keywords that’ll help your site rank well in search results.

Keyword research is incredibly important, even more so than UI. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your website is if your keywords fall flat. That’s why you must start keyword research before you’ve even written a single word of content.

magnifying glass and a report analysis

Tools and Methods for Effective Keyword Research

You have two main options for keyword research. You can target low-search-volume keywords that are easy to rank for or popular keywords with a high search volume. We usually recommend trying to hit a good mix of both types.

Google Keyword Planner is a great place to start, as it’s free and incredibly robust. Moz Keyword Explorer is a good pick as well.

You can also find long-tail keywords by simply typing a few words into Google Search. It’ll auto-complete with a bunch of useful suggestions.

Question keywords are beneficial to new website SEO optimization as well. These would keywords are phrases such as, “How do you do search engine optimization for fresh websites?” By answering questions like this, Google might select your content for a featured snippet.

Competitor Analysis

We get it: You don’t want to copy your competitors, and of course, you shouldn’t steal their content and pass it off as your own. But if you’re trying to improve SEO for a new website, it doesn’t hurt to at least check out what your competition is doing. Once you’ve done that, you can do something similar, but better.

Analyzing Competitors’ SEO Strategies

If you’re optimizing SEO for a new online presence, the first thing you’ll need is a tool capable of analyzing your competition. Semrush, Moz, and Ahrefs can all handle this.

These tools can track down the URLs of competitors for you. Once you’ve found a few, visit their sites and ask:

  • Did they cover a topic poorly, and can you do it better?
  • What keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions are they using?
  • How many backlinks do they have per page?
  • Are any pages location-specific? Should yours be, too?
using a highlighter for a checklista hand with a magnet pulls a red human figure out of the crowd

Identifying Opportunities and Gaps

Once you’ve picked a tool and identified your competitors, you can do a keyword gap analysis. This allows you to find keywords you need to rank for in order to outdo your competitors. Here’s how the process works:

  1. Plug your root domain and your competitor’s root domain into your SEO tool.
  2. Check out your shared keywords and competitor overlap.
  3. Export that information into a spreadsheet and look for keywords that are relevant to your site.
  4. Peruse the list and look for keywords that you want to rank for.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO involves things you can do on your site to boost its Google rank. It’s important for both search engines and users. Both on-page and off-page SEO are critical, but you have the most control over on-page SEO.

On-page SEO includes:

  • Writing great content
  • Crafting useful meta-descriptions
  • Using the right headers
  • Optimizing images
  • Including useful internal and external links

URL Structure and Internal Link Strategies

What would you do if you clicked a link on a website only to end up somewhere other than you expected? You’d leave, right? That’s exactly what your users will do if you don’t sort out internal links.

Internal linking isn’t just about making sure your menus work properly. You’ll also need to strategically place keywords throughout the content and link those to other pages of your site. You can use internal linking to guide users toward a desired action, such as learning more about a topic or making a purchase.

Check your internal links often. If they’re broken, fix them or get rid of them.

Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Header Tags Optimization

Title tags, meta descriptions, and headers are part of your site’s metadata. Think of title tags as the name of a page. Both users and search engines use them to learn what a page is about.

Meta descriptions are short descriptions of pages. They appear in the search results under the title. Header tags are used to separate sections of content on a page. They range from H1 to H6, with H1 being the most important.

To optimize these items:

  • Keep title tags concise and include your primary keyword. Never duplicate title tags.
  • Meta descriptions should include the primary keyword. Keep them short, ideally between 140 and 160 characters.
  • Use one H1 tag per page. Use H2s to break up important sections and H3s to expand on content below H2s.

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Off-Page SEO Strategy

Off-page SEO involves things you can do outside of your site to boost its ranking. Building backlinks, using social media, and guest posting on blogs are all great off-page SEO tactics, especially if you’re building SEO for a new website.

Building Quality Backlinks

Backlinks, or inbound links, are links from other websites that point towards your own. You want lots of these because the more you have, the more popular your site appears to Google.

Don’t just build inbound links from any website you find, though. The key here is quality. You want backlinks from authority sites with a good reputation (domains ending in .org, .gov, and .edu are fantastic).

You can get backlinks in one of two ways:

  1. Wait for someone to find your content and link to it.
  2. Show someone your content and ask if they’ll link to it.

The second option is often the best. To get site owners to agree to a backlink, your content needs to be top-notch.

Leveraging Social Media Signals

You’ve just finished building a new website, so paying attention to social media is probably the last thing you want to do. But social media is a big traffic driver, so it’s smart to prioritize it.

The main goal here is to get authorities to mention your brand on their channels or feeds. When this happens, Google starts to see you as an authority, too. Plus, if you get a mention on an influencer’s site, you might enjoy a nice traffic boost.

Guest Posting and Outreach for Link Building

What if you don’t have a bunch of great content on your new site yet? That’s where guest posting comes in handy. With this strategy, you find an authoritative site and ask if you can write a guest post for its blog. In return, the site owner might link back to your own website.

This works best if you have some authority in your field. For instance, if you’re an HVAC contractor, a site owner would love to have you write a post on something like, “How to Know If Your Air Conditioning Is Broken.”

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Quality Content Optimization

Even the prettiest website in the world isn’t worth much if its content isn’t up to par. Your content strategy should influence every part of your site, from the topics you cover to the images you choose.

Creating High-Quality and Relevant Content

First things first, you’ll need to craft high-quality content that’s designed to help users. If your content is solely focused on making money and nothing else, don’t expect a good ranking in the SERPs.

According to Google’s guidelines, good content should:

  • Be helpful to users
  • Provide a good user experience
  • Be up-to-date
  • Make it clear who wrote the content
  • Not disguise ads as content
  • Demonstrate the proper level of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EEAT) for the topic

Let’s talk about that last point a bit more. Google places a strong emphasis on EEAT when it comes to ranking pages. That means if you’re a doctor and you write a blog post about how to bring down a child’s fever, Google will probably rank that page highly. But if you’re just an average Joe writing about random medical topics, don’t expect your site to get very far in the search results.

Technical SEO

Think of technical SEO as the foundation of a house. If it’s not solid, everything you build on top of it is going to come crashing down. That’s why you should focus on technical SEO before doing pretty much anything else with your site.

Site Speed Optimization

Speed is a huge part of technical SEO for a new website. If your website is slower than traffic on the freeway at rush hour, expect users to bail before they’ve even read a word of content.

Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool will let you know if your site passes the speed test. If it gets a failing grade, you can boost load times by:

  • Limiting HTTP requests
  • Optimizing images
  • Compressing files
  • Implementing caching

A content delivery network (CDN) can help, too. CDNs store copies of your content on servers around the world. When a user tries to access your content, the CDN chooses the server nearest them to ensure speedy delivery.

Mobile Responsiveness and Usability

Gone are the days when it was more common to visit a website on one’s desktop computer than their phone. These days, the majority of web searches happen on mobile devices. So, you absolutely must ensure that your site loads perfectly on tablets and phones.

Responsive design is the best way to achieve this. It uses CSS (cascading style sheets) to automatically adjust your website to fit the user’s screen size.

If you’re a WordPress user and don’t want to fuss with CSS, choose a responsive theme. Most WordPress themes are responsive, but there are still a few that aren’t, so test them out on your phone or tablet before choosing.

Google also has a free tool called Lighthouse that can test your site’s mobile usability. If it finds problems, it’ll tell you what they are and how to fix them.

website sitemap written on a paper

XML Sitemaps

An XML sitemap is like a treasure map that leads pirates to buried goodies. Without one, Google won’t know how to find your most important pages, and that means you won’t rank well.

XML sitemaps make it easier for Google to crawl and index your pages. They consist of:

  • The page’s URL
  • Its protocol
  • XML version declaration to help Google’s bots determine file type
  • Lastmod, which shows when you last modified the page

Fortunately, you don’t have to code an XML sitemap by hand. Many SEO tools will make one for you with just a couple of clicks.

Once you have a sitemap, you can submit it through Google Search Console or insert the following line anywhere in your robots.txt file:

  • Sitemap:

Replace “” with your own URL and “my_sitemap.xml” with the name of your sitemap. Google will find it the next time its bots crawl your site.

Local SEO

Do you run a business that serves local customers, such as a doctor’s office or a plumbing company? If so, you absolutely must prioritize local SEO. This is the practice of optimizing your site for local users.

The goal here is to get Google to recognize that your business is relevant to users in a specific location. Say you run a sandwich shop, and a user searches for “sandwiches near me.” If you’re doing local SEO right, Google will show the user your business even though they didn’t enter any specific location terms.

Optimizing Your Google Business Profile and Local Citations

Google Business (formerly Google My Business) is a perfect starting point for new website owners. With a Google Business profile, you can influence how your business appears in the search results, including Google Shopping and Google Maps.

When you search for a store or restaurant near you, Google shows you a list of relevant businesses and a map of their locations. Optimizing your Google Business Profile is the best way to get your own business to show up in these results.

To optimize your Google Business Profile:

  • Complete every section. That includes your business’s name, location, operating hours, phone number, and website. You can also enter your business’s category and the type of products or services you offer.
  • Add images. Pictures are especially important for restaurants and stores, but every type of business can benefit from them.
  • Write your “From the Business” description. Google generates a description of your business, but sometimes it’s not enough to convey what you actually do. This is your chance to talk about your business in your own words.
  • Make sure to click “Accept Messages.” This allows potential customers to contact you if they have questions or want more information.
analyst-working-on-data-and-graphs-on-screenranking statistics on paper

Monitoring and Analytics

You’ve done all the hard stuff, so now you can sit back and rest, right? Nope! You’ll need to keep a close eye on your site’s performance and make adjustments accordingly. Here’s how.

Setting Up Google Analytics

Google Analytics tells you everything you need to know about how your site is doing. To set it up, do the following:

  1. Go to Google Analytics and head to the Admin section.
  2. Click “Create,” and then click “Account.”
  3. Enter an account name, as well as your website’s name and URL.
  4. Choose the time zone you want Google to provide reporting in.
  5. You’ll get a tracking ID. Google uses this to send analytics data to you.
  6. Once you have your tracking ID, go to Google Tag Manager and click “Add a New Tag.”
  7. Click “Tag Configuration” and then click “Universal Analytics.”
  8. Go to “Google Analytics Settings” and select “New Variable” from the menu.
  9. Enter your Google Analytics tracking ID.
  10. Now go to Triggering and click “Choose a Trigger.” Select “All Pages.”
  11. Click “Save.” You’re done!

Using Google Search Console

Google Search Console is your one-stop shop for everything related to your website. It can tell you if your site’s performance is up to snuff, if it’s been hacked, or whether it’s in violation of any of Google’s policies.

We could write an entire book on how to use Google Search Console, but here are the basics of what you can do with this awesome tool.

Google’s performance reports are incredibly useful for new webmasters. They measure impressions (how many times users saw your links), clicks (the number of times users clicked on your links), and click-through rate (clicks divided by impressions). If you have a high click-through rate, your site is satisfying users well.

If your site is violating Google’s policies, you’ll get an email about it as well as a notification in your dashboard. You can check out the Manual Actions section to see what the problem is and how to fix it.

Think your site has been hacked? The security section tells you all you need to know. This is important because if your site contains malware, Google will block it from showing up in the search results.

These are just the basics of using Google Search Console. If you really want to dig in and learn more, Google offers a few tips for advanced users that you may want to check out.

Monitoring Keyword Rankings

So you’ve found a few nice keywords and scattered them throughout your content. You’re done, right? Not so fast. Even if you’re ranking well now, that could change overnight. You’ll need to keep an eye on keyword rankings so you don’t lose your position in the SERPs.

Again, Google Search Console saves the day. It shows the precise number of click-throughs you’re getting from searches, allowing you to see which of your keywords are performing the best.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your competitor’s keyword rankings. If they’re ranking well for certain keywords, you might want to pop those into your content, too.

Why Is Continous Improvement and Adaptation Important in SEO?

SEO is always changing, which is why it’s vital to keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends. Fail to do this, and you’ll find your site sinking like a rock tossed into the sea.

Staying Informed About Industry Trends and Algorithm Updates

SEO experts are a good resource for keeping up with algorithm updates and changes in the industry. They’ll often post tips about the latest changes and how to work with them, and you should follow their advice ASAP if you don’t want to get left behind.

Want to learn more about SEO strategies for newly launched sites? Check out a few of our other blog posts, like how to utilize SEO forecasting or a more in-depth guide on internal linking. Discover more about improving SEO for a new website today.

Rodney Warner

Founder & CEO

As the Founder and CEO, he is the driving force behind the company’s vision, spearheading all sales and overseeing the marketing direction. His role encompasses generating big ideas, managing key accounts, and leading a dedicated team. His journey from a small town in Upstate New York to establishing a successful 7-figure marketing agency exemplifies his commitment to growth and excellence.

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