Creating a brand new website can seem intimidating at first. You’ve got to compete with websites that have dominated your industry for years; and this is no mean feat. So how to improve SEO rankings when you’re facing such stiff competition – from businesses that have been around much longer than yours?
Sometimes a website can have achieved a high ranking simply because it’s been around for a while. The older a website is, the less competition it would have faced when the website was created. This meant much less competition at the time for search rankings; and therefore it was easier to establish and improve a higher SEO ranking.
As a newly launched website, it’s important to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses against your competition, SEO wise. Where does being a new site benefit you, and how can you use the latest in SEO developments to craft a winning strategy that trumps your out-dated competitors?
We’ve compiled an SEO checklist with our top suggestions on how a new website can improve it’s rankings from the get-go. These guidelines are based on KWD New Zealand’s 10 years of agency experience and research, and reflect the most recent developments in SEO to date.
SEO Checklist To Improve Rankings: Our Top 5 Must-Do’s
#1: Link building
Websites that have been around for longer are likely to be already well trusted (both by customers and search engine bots). After a decent amount of time being active online, older websites will have built up a solid link network.
This puts longer lasting sites at an advantage, because larger link networks are highly valued by search engine crawlers. Links built over time also build the site’s reputation to search engines as a reputable business in their respective industry.
Link building is therefore a super important factor for SEO rankings, and even more so when trying to compete with older websites.
Both internal and external links can (and should) be used to improve your SEO ranking, especially as a new website.
What’s the difference between internal and external links?
Links to pages within your website are internal links, whereas links to outside sources are external links.
How to improve SEO rankings with External Links:
Linking your content to outside sources shows search engine crawlers that your content is informative, resourceful and well researched.
Google and other search engine bots are essentially evaluating how valuable your content will be for browsers; and using external links to reputable, authoritative websites that back up your content is a way to validate this.
It also shows search engines that your website is a contributing source to larger networks; which ranks you more strongly as a valuable website.
How to improve SEO rankings with Internal Links:
Using links in your content to further pages within your site encourages browsers to stay longer on your website and view more pages.
This decreases your ‘bounce rate,’ which is determined by what percentage of browsers enter your website and leave after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate will be penalised by search engine bots with lower rankings, as this is used as a measurement of how useful viewers find your site.
Adding internal links is therefore an excellent way to improve your SEO ranking, as it can decrease your bounce rate and increase your site traffic.
Internal links also help search engine crawlers recognise your website as an intelligent network of links, thereby finding further regions of your site that users don’t visit as often as other pages.
This will help boost your ranking for pages which are not visited so often – so internal linking is definitely something every new website should utilise to improve their SEO ranking.
#2: Choose less popular keywords
If your website is entering an oversaturated industry, there’s likely to be some stiff competition, SEO-wise. Therefore, it’s a good idea to target less popular keywords. These won’t have as much competition around them, so your website will be more able to rank highly for them.
A way to do this is to turn your focus towards long tail keywords. These are usually more specific search terms that browsers look for, but in smaller quantities.
There is also much less competition around long tail keywords, as most of your competitors will be focusing on heavily targeting the top searched keywords.
As a brand new website, you’ll have a much higher chance of coming in as one of the top results for a keyword that garners 500 searches monthly, rather than 5,000.
#3: Use keyword in first paragraph
For maximum results, try your best to drop your keyword in the first paragraph (first 100 words) of your content. This is going to make your content seem much more strong to search crawlers, which are trying to determine how well your page answers a certain search term.
Search bots scan content to see how relevant your page is for a certain keyword term. By using the keyword in the first paragraph, you’re essentially showing search engine crawlers that your page is a strong result for this search term and deserves a higher ranking.
A lot of content writers will not put their keyword in the first paragraph, as this is not strictly necessary for SEO and it can be difficult to write keywords into introductions in a natural seeming way. However, as a new website looking to improve SEO rankings, this is a small step that could make a huge difference.
#4: Use keywords in page titles, meta descriptions, and URLS
When writing your page titles and meta descriptions, think about your own browsing behaviours. What factors make you decide to click on one website, rather than another?
How to Use Meta Descriptions:
Meta descriptions need to convince browsers to click through to your site and engage with your content; therefore they should be written in a way that is click-worthy and eye-catching.
You have only a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention, so make those 150 words count!
How to Use Page Titles:
The same applies to page titles – pay extra attention to how you word and phrase this. The title and meta description are the deciding factors for whether a viewer chooses to click through to your site or not – so treat the writing of them accordingly.
Using your keyword at the beginning of your page title will also improve your SEO rankings, as search engine crawlers will evaluate your page as a stronger contender for this search phrase.
Generally, the closer you can get your keyword to the beginning of your title, the stronger it will be valued by search engines.
How to Use URLs:
Including your keyword in your URL is also another overlooked way to improve SEO rankings.
This is not strictly necessary, so some websites don’t bother. However your URL provides another opportunity for keyword use, and signifies to search engine crawlers that your page is a strong choice for this search result.
Neglecting this step would be a wasted opportunity when it comes to improving SEO rankings.
#5: Write more content (1,000+ words)
Studies are now showing that using longer content improves SEO rankings. Older websites mostly used a target of 500 words of content per page, which is now an out-dated approach.
The longer your content, the better – you should aim for a word count target between 1,000 – 2,000 words. Longer posts are now recognised by search engines as being more authentic and informative then shorter content, so this will help your rankings considerably.
More content also gives you more opportunity to use keywords; in particular, it becomes easier to target numerous keywords with longer text.
More words allow you to easily target secondary keywords as well as your primary keyword, inserting keywords in a natural seeming way.
Make sure your research and grammar is up to scratch, and focus on producing a piece that is informative, well written and useful to your audience.
Above all, search engines reward articles, pages and sites that they think their audiences will actually enjoy.
It’s important to make sure your SEO is researched and executed well; however don’t overlook the importance of engaging, well written and informative content that an audience will actually enjoy reading.
Liked our SEO Checklist?
About the writers (KWD New Zealand):
We created this SEO Checklist to improve rankings for new websites based on our ten years of agency experience in the field.
KWD New Zealand is an SEO agency that specialises in both launching newly created websites, and improving rankings for already existing sites.
Get in touch with KWD New Zealand to see how we can help improve your SEO rankings, and what we can offer you.
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