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How to leverage SEO for a brand new domain?

SEO Best Practices

When launching a new domain, there’s a lot to think about. However, one of your chief concerns should be getting this new domain optimized for SEO. 

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a series of content tweaks both on and off your pages that tell search engine bots what you do to help you rank on the first page for high-volume terms in your industry. A site with strong SEO will appear on the first page of Google’s search results for several relevant keywords. This will allow you to increase your online reach, gain more brand awareness and recognition, and ultimately make more sales and increase your profits. 

But when you’re launching a new domain, you’re essentially starting from scratch. Whether you’re creating a brand new website or switching your existing domain name to something new, you can take steps to kick off the SEO process and hit the ground running. 

SEO is a long and laborious process that never stops. Getting started early could be the key factor that pushes you out into the lead over your biggest competitors. But how does one leverage SEO for a brand new domain? 

In this article, we will discuss new domain SEO for both new and existing websites.

How to set up SEO for a new website domain

When you’re launching a new website, it’s important to have your SEO ducks in a row early. This will ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward from the moment you launch. 

The following tips are steps you can take before publishing your site to kick off your SEO campaign with a bang.

Choose your domain name wisely

Domain names are incredibly important, and choosing a bad one can lead to many headaches later on. For starters, you want it to be catchy and memorable to appeal to your target audience. However, many people don’t realize that their domain name is actually an important SEO ranking factor.

n image showing a domain name

When ranking your site, Google will first look at your domain name to determine what you do. That’s why you should ideally choose a domain name that either features a keyword you want to rank for or one associated in some way with your industry. 

If you’re running a plumbing company called “Larry’s Plumbing Services,” you’d want the word plumbing in your domain name because it helps Google figure out that this is a plumbing company. That means “larrysservices” would be a bad choice, while “larrysplumbing” would be ideal.

Determine the new site’s layout

Before you start designing your site, take some time to figure out how it’ll be laid out and how you’re going to factor SEO into each page. 

Most companies draw out a site map, determining how each page connects to the others. You can also include plans for internal linking on this map. Internal links are helpful for Google’s search bots when they crawl your page to index everything.

A map of a new website

Figure out what links will be included in your top menu and what you’ll be factoring into the footer. Will this be static on every page? You don’t want to answer these questions during the construction process. 

Developing a site map will also give you an idea of how much content you need. That allows you to start the content development process early with SEO in mind.

Create content in advance

Jumping off that last point, you want to start creating the content for your site in advance. Then, as the site is built, you already have your optimized content ready to be dropped onto the new pages. Create a content brief for every page of your site, detailing what keywords you’re going to be chasing, any secondary keywords that go along with them, and your plan to dominate the SERP for these terms.  Your content brief is also a great place for competitor analysis. Take a look at the top results for the terms you’re going after and include links to them in the briefs. Determine what they’re doing right and wrong and how you can do better.

Optimize pages before launch

You can start optimizing your content for search while you write it. This can be done in a simple Google Doc as you begin the copywriting process. You can check the optimization quality of your content by using an SEO tool like MarketMuse, Frase, or Clearscope. 

These powerful subscription-based SaaS products will help you review SERP information and optimize your copy. You simply paste the document you’ve written into one of these tools, and you’ll be assigned a grade that can be held up against those of the top-ranking pages. 

You’ll also need to optimize your pages on the back-end. That means optimizing titles and descriptions with keywords, setting up and optimizing your images with titles and alt tags, and developing backlinks.

Set up analytic tracking

You want to be able to track the progress of your SEO efforts from the moment your website launches. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have analytics in place, ready to start gauging the effectiveness of your SEO and all of your marketing. 

Use an ETL tool as a key factor for analytics to accomplish this. It will systematically work on a reproducible process that merges all data into a single record, producing one source of truth to aid in developing data-driven decisions for businesses.

Set up SEO when switching to a new domain

Switching your established website over to a new domain name can create havoc with your SEO rankings. All pages that Google previously indexed were done under your original domain, so changing things up can send you falling back down the ladder. 

However, there are ways to make this transition without completely shooting your SEO efforts in the foot. Follow these simple steps immediately after migrating your site to the new domain.

Place a redirect on your old domain

The first and most obvious step in migrating SEO progress to a new domain is to set up a redirect with your hosting provider and domain registrar. You want to make sure that when someone tries to visit your old site’s domain, they’re immediately re-routed to the new site.  This also applies to every page of your old domain. Some of them might still be found in links or bookmarks. Each page of your old site should connect to a corresponding page on the new domain.

List the new domain with the Google Search Console

You can use the Google Search Console to communicate directly with Google and receive results on the performance of your pages as they pertain to keywords you’re trying to rank for.

A screenshot of Google Search console

Verifying your domain with GSC shows that you own the property. Once that’s done, Google will provide you with the information you need to successfully monitor your SEO standing on the new site and start working toward SERP supremacy.

Update links to the old domain

You should make sure that all links that still point toward your old domain are updated, even with a redirect in place. This will help Google come to recognize your new site, and your own links won’t cannibalize you. 

Start by updating your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) and all of your social media pages. Once done, reach out to any directories or external sites that link to you and ask them to update their links.

Make changes on Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that helps you watch how visitors interact with your site. But if this service is still matched to your old domain, you’ll lose a key window into how your SEO results play out. 

Go into the admin section and switch everything over to the new domain and closely monitor the results you get.

Conclusion

SEO is a powerful tool in the modern marketing world, and you need to make sure that you’re staying on top of these efforts when you launch a new domain. Whether that’s a brand new website or an existing site migrating to a new domain, SEO remains an integral part of your success, deserving of special attention. It should never be an afterthought. 

For more on how we can help you with your SEO efforts, visit Pearl Lemon today.

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