How To Rank Your Recently Published Website In Organic Search Results: 21 Steps

Everyone knows that a website is actually like a business card. An online business card of a portfolio, a consulting service, product, company or even more. With a website you can deliver the most detailed information about your services to your target audience and advertise yourself for free. Anyone who does not yet know your phone number or company address can reach you 24/7 via your website. (If you shared your contact information, of course.)

That's why you need to design your website in a way that it brings you and your audience together. But don’t forget that SEO is a very important part of this design.

In this article, where I explain important SEO suggestions for new websites, I am talking about important applications that will increase visibility in Google search results and make your website available to relevant users.

★ You will be seeing 21 steps in this blog post. For example, the first step that I will be discussing is “Domain Name”. Completing only the suggestions of this part does not mean that you will be able to get in front of the relevant audience in Google organic search results. Therefore, I recommend that you apply all of these substances within a certain period of time. I know that you won’t be able to complete all of them in one month. Moreover, topics such as backlinks or collaboration will not make any sense before your contents are ready.

You can give yourself an average of 6 months to complete all these steps below.

1. Domain Name
2. SSL Certificate
3. Hosting Selection
4. CMS (Content Management System) Selection
5. Mobile
6. Website Speed
7. Google Analytics and Google Search Console Setup
8. Crawling, Indexing and Ranking
9. Website Usability
10. Accessibility
11. Website Configuration
12. Brand Strategy
13. Audience and Competitor Research
14. Keyword Research
15. Metadata
16. Capture Periodic / Trending Searches with Content Marketing Strategy
17. Visual Contents
18. Internal Link Placement
19. Backlink, Influencer and Sosyal Media
20. Continue Search Engine Optimization
21. Check Your Website Before Announcing

1. Domain Name

When choosing a domain name, make sure that it’s the most correct name which highlights your brand or products.

What kind of service you provide and what kind of searches does your target audience make when they’re searching on Google? For example, if you’re going to sell cleaning products, you can create a domain name with the word “cleaning” and its variations. If you only sell car cleaning products, you can also use "car cleaning" and its search variations to specify the domain name.

Leaving these search terms aside and proceeding with a unique brand name is also a choice. Again, the domain name of the website where you will sell car cleaning products can be an irrelevant name like “tangerine”.

These two different suggestions above are entirely up to you and your marketing strategy. However, if I were you, I would pay attention to the following issues in order to make my new website compatible with SEO from the beginning:

  • I would choose a short and easy-to-pronounce name. Because it's easier to remember and write.
  • I would choose a name closely related to my brand. For example, I would definitely use the word "car cleaning" (or a similar phrase).
  • I would use a maximum of 2 words to make it not too long, and I would create a catchy combination with a high probability of branding (Nike, Apple, Coca Cola examples ...).
Most Popular Domains Worldwide November 2019
Most Popular Domains Worldwide November 2019
  • If I am going to open a commercial website I would use the .com (commercial) domain extension and would prefer to use the .net (network, networking technologies) domain extension if I am going to open a website specific to technology or application.
(You can browse this list to see what domain extensions mean and also their usage.)

2. SSL Certificate

Security is one of the most important issues that Google cares about. They announced that as of October 2019, they will focus on improving the privacy and security of users and will begin to block visibility of websites without SSL certification (HTTP) on search results.

Why is it important to get an SSL certificate?

  • The use of HTTPS since 2014 is a ranking factor for Google.
  • Important browsers that almost everyone uses every day, define websites that do not have SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certification as “unsafe”. But what does this mean? - SSL encrypts communication between the client (client computer, user) and the server. If there is no SSL certificate it is stated that conversations with clients may not be encrypted, so someone else may listen to this conversation and intervene. Therefore, if a browser gives a “not secure” warning about your website , the user may tend not to take an action on your website.
Page Without SSL Certificate
Page Without SSL Certificate

There are two options you can consider when getting an SSL certificate:

  • Free SSL:

The certificate needs to be renewed every 90 days.

You will be switched to the HTTP version and “not secure” category if you don't perform the renewal process or perform it late. Considering Google's opinion and actions on HTTPS, I would not want all my SEO work to be negatively affected because I forgot the renewal date.

★ Extra Info: You can write a cron job on Letsencrypt to avoid manually renewing your SSL certificate every single time. It will be automatically renewed in this way.
  • Paid SSL:

The certificate is automatically renewed. You don't need to keep a period of 90 days on your calendar. There are payment methods for like 1 year.

If we look at the main important issues besides the payment method:

  1. With free SSL, only information about the reliability of the domain will be given, while more detailed information about the company or organization name behind the domain will be provided with paid SSL certificates (extended validation SSL).
  2. All data on the website are guaranteed to be protected.
  3. It ensures that all personal information used (when making a payment or creating membership) on the website is encrypted, preventing it from being hijacked by fraudsters.

3. Hosting Selection

Choosing a hosting is an issue that can affect your website’s SEO health from the first day to the last day. Why?

  • Uptime / Downtime: Simply put; uptime is the percentage of the server running and downtime is the opposite. This data is very important for you, especially if you have an e-commerce site. Unfortunately, there is no absolute situation such as the server not having a downtime. However, some hosting services can access more than one server virtually. That's why you have to choose a hosting option that will take the best action when the website is offline.
  • Loading Speed: Speed has always been important for SEO. Consider a website with a poor loading speed. How long can you wait? - According to statistics shared by Think with Google, users can only wait 2 seconds for a website they want to visit, and as from the 3rd second they tend to leave the site. That’s why, low hosting speeds (websites) could be a disadvantage.
  • Location: On-site and off-site SEO studies involve more than one subject in different ways - a process. However, when we look at the output of all these issues and processes, we always have one goal; To show relevant / potential users the related web page and to make them take action.

While Google shows relevant searches with relevant results, it looks at the server location where the IP address is located. However, while some webmasters prefer different locations because they have a faster server system or CDNs' server systems are located in certain locations, Google says that they do not only look at the location while adjusting the rankings.

  • Shared environments / IPs: Preferring environments where more than one website is hosted on the same server affects the ranking of the website. If there are websites with poor performance in the same hard disk space or IP, this can have a negative effect on your website, and many of the low-priced hosts are like this. That is why you can choose server environments that stand out in this regard, such as DigitalOcean.
Shared environment / IP ➔ Apartment system.

What kind of people are living in other apartments, the noise they make, etc. also affects your apartment.

Quality server ➔ Detached house system.

There is no other circle so; there is no negative factor that can affect yours.

4. CMS (Content Management System) Selection

With or without an IT team, you always need a CMS system if you're entering dynamic content. (For example, if you're not editing HTML manually or if you're using a ready / custom-written CMS system.)

There are hundreds of CMS companies, including WordPress and Shopify. Each CMS works with a package system and most of the time you need to add extra plugins.

Topics to consider when choosing CMS that will have an impact on SEO studies:

  • Competitors: Before deciding on which CMS you’re going to use, first take a look at similar websites and CMS that they use. You can use Wappalyzer or Builtwith for this and they will also show other technologies used).
  • User Experience: What is the purpose of the website? Are you just going to write content, use it like a blog, or sell products? The purpose of the website should be compatible with the habits of your target audience. The theme and plugins of the CMS should positively affect the users' website experience.
  • Technical SEO: Some CMS that don’t allow technical SEO to be done manually. Some of them are as follows:
    • Does it automatically generate the URLs, or will you be able to use the words that you want in the URLs as a result of your analysis?
    • Can you add a Canonical tag?
    • Is there a field for adding meta tags?
    • Can you check the Robot.txt file?
    • Can you create a Sitemap XML file?
    • How is the website speed? Does it have a plugin where you can optimize speed?
    • Are themes responsive to the mobile site?
Bonus: A Headless CMS is a back-end content management system. While the CMSs I mentioned above offer functionality such as website management as well as content management, headless CMS allows you to manage only its content; It offers interfaces such as a control panel, user account management, adding / removing content.

5. Mobile

According to We Are Social's 2020 report, the number of global mobile users, which was 5.11 last year, reached 5.19 billion in 2020.

Mobile User Mobil Connections Statistics 2020
Mobile User Mobil Connections Statistics 2020

Even this number alone brings in an increase in the habit of mobile device usage and examination of mobile user behavior. Your website might be ready, but mobile is also very important.

By doing what, might you harm your SEO efforts?

  • Creating a separate subdomain for the mobile site. Previously, the relationship between the two URLs (mobile and desktop) was reported to Google with rel = "canonical" and rel = "alternate" in the <link> tag. However, Google no longer recommends this. Instead, Google says that mobile responsive web designs should be made under a single domain.
  • Designing a website without considering the mobile version. Show the product / form pages that you plan to get conversion with, to the user in the main menu or on the homepage. Let the website font and size be visible to mobile users.
  • Keeping the title tag and meta description very long. Try to write a short and clear description and title in the mobile search results. You can make important highlights at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Using continuous pop-ups.
  • Block CSS, Javascript elements and images. Because these issues are now a thing of the past. Since some mobile devices did not support these three issues, webmasters could block CSS, Javascript elements and images. However, this subject has lost its validity with responsive web site designs.
  • Being inconsistent on desktop and mobile. Google is clearly opposed to content visible to desktop users but hidden on mobile.

6. Website Speed

On slow performing websites, users have a habit of leaving the site. So don't ignore desktop and mobile site speed when you're still at the starting point!

As soon as you open your website, test all your important pages on PageSpeed Insights. Apply the suggestions, by correcting your mistakes. If you don't have any technical knowledge, contact your IT team. Check speed performance again after applications.

7. Google Analytics and Google Search Console Setup

Why Google Search Console Setup Matters: Seeing the website's performance in Google search results allows you to analyze the data. Also, if there is a technical problem affecting the performance negatively, you can notice them on Google Search Console.

For detailed information, you can review my Google Search Console and Organic Traffic Analysis content.

Why Google Analytics Setup Matters: Just like Search Console, Google Analytics provides detailed information about website performance. Audience reports enables you to analyze your audience. You can also access to acquisition reports that allow you to analyze your traffic sources, Google Ads campaigns, social media interactions or cost analysis. Behavior reports show your page performance and user interaction, and conversion reports allow you to analyze your conversions *.

* And much more.

8. Crawling, Indexing and Ranking

In order for pages of the new website to be listed in the search results, the content must be able to respond to 3 important functions of the search engines; crawling, indexing and ranking.

Crawling: Search engine bots / spiders must be able to see and read the contents and codes in all URLs on your website.

Indexing: After page contents are crawled by search engine bots, all words, links, where the page is positioned etc. are indexed. Billions of indexed pages are organized and interpreted by the search engine algorithm according to their importance and relevance. You should make sure that you do not add the "noindex" tag to your page so that all page contents that you want to be accessible are indexable by Google bots.

  • Robot.txt: If the website's crawl requests or different file formats coming from the bots create intensity on the server (indirectly at the website speed), you can block these bots or files with the robot.txt file. (With this action, you are preventing crawling; Google still hosts your page in its index.)

NOT: It is best to leave the Bot browsing frequency to Google. However, you can take this action for other tool bots.

  • Sitemap XML: All pages that you want to be accessible by users must also be accessible by Google. Sitemap XML file enables you to tell Google the URLs on your website that it needs to know and show.

Ranking: The result of each word or phrase written in the search box; in fact, are the pages that passed through the browsing filter of the bots thus, rated as the most relevant pages that are added to the search engine index. For this reason, in order for the ranking in user searches to be at an optimum level, you must both provide the user with a properly edited content on the page, and the page source must be properly configured for the search engine bots to crawl and index the page.

9. Website Usability

The availability of the website for users is also one of the most important issues to support SEO work.

“I have already managed to bring my page in front of users on Google, so why is it so important that the rest of the website is available?”

It’s important because it’s also our goal to enable the user in the website to come back or to convert within the website.

The navigation on the website should give users information about the important areas they would like to visit. For example, information about the owners of the website, contact information, main services provided by the website, side services etc.

While building up all these, you should also design your website by considering the mobile version. Huge chat-bots that have not been added with any rules since the website was opened may disturb users. Chat-bots should be visible on certain pages with certain rules.

You should make all the design related changes by first evaluating it with the data from Analytics and other measurement data, and by applying A / B tests. You can link your most popular pages with other related pages. You can also work on the designs of CTA buttons.

As a result, SEO studies and user experience on the website are very closely related. I mentioned it briefly because this is a completely different subject, but if you want to read more about it, you can take a look at the "7 Steps for Website Usability" content on Usability Geek.

10. Accessibility

When websites (softwares, tools etc. are also included in this topic) are correctly designed and coded, they can be used by people with hearing, vision, physical or mental disabilities.

For example, image alt texts are not just for images to appear in front of relevant users in search results or to be indexed by Google bots; it should also be written for those with visual impairments. Or subtitles added to video content are not only for the language to be understandable or for those who watch silent videos; it should also be made for people with hearing impairments.

With the Funky - Disability Simulator plugin you can see how people with disabilities see your website.

11. Website Configuration

With the website configuration, you will help bots to understand the page codes correctly and you will provide the user with a more organized structure regarding the content of your pages. The ultimate goal of SEO studies is to deliver the content (service) to the user from organic search results. Providing them to take action afterwards is one step of this goal, but everything starts with being able to reach the right audience, with the right content at the right time.

On new websites, it is helpful to follow the configuration steps carefully. These stages primarily include semantic HTML, implementation of structured data, page categories, URL structure, and headings.

Semantic HTML

The semantic HTML structure begins with the correct use of elements within the correct fields of the source. While elements such as <form>, <article> and <table> define the level of content; <div> and <span> elements do not give bots any information about the content.

New HTML5 Semantic Elements:

<article>
<aside>
<details>
<figcaption>
<figure>
<footer>
<header>
<main>
<mark>
<nav>
<section>
<summary>
<time>

With a properly designed HTML hierarchy, browsers can distinguish between types of page content. So you tell the bots what information is on the page and help them understand.

Structured Data:

You can customize the appearance of the page content in Google search results. If you also have pages with features in the search gallery, I suggest you to add the structured data of that feature to the source of the relevant pages.

Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. You can help us by providing explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on. Developers.google.com

Page Categories and URL Structure:

To briefly explain this issue with an example; Kubix Digital is a digital marketing agency that provides SEO and SEM services. Sections like “Who are we” (category with detailed pages for those who want to get information about the agency), “References” (for those who want to review their references), “Shares” (category for those who wander blog, podcast, webinar contents that the agency shares) are located on the menu, in an area where all users can see directly in both mobile and desktop versions.

Website Header Categories
Website Header Categories

Each page and the main category to which the page is linked should provide a coherent integrity. For example, search engine optimization, paid marketing, conversion optimization, analytics consulting and in-house training; one by one, it explains the services provided by Kubix Digital. It is also an option to give these topics one by one in the main menu or in the footer, but the more tidy the page/menu layout you give the user, the more you increase their in-site experience.

While the URL structure informs the user about which page and which category it belongs to; bots give information about the position of the page within the website. URLs are one of the small factors to be considered in SEO work, according to the notes of the hangout interview held by John Mueller on February 7. However, it is also very important for the user experience on the website. So, when creating the categories according to their themes, you should make sure that the URL structures are prepared according to the theme. When you look at the individual pages of Kubix Digital services I mentioned above, you can also see from the URL structure that each of them belongs to the "services" category.

<a href="https://kubix.digital/tr/hizmetler/arama-motoru-optimizasyonu/">https://kubix.digital/tr/hizmetler/arama-motoru-optimizasyonu/</a>

Titling:

With title tags like <h1>, <h2> used in the HTML hierarchy, you give both users and bots the hierarchy between the page titles. For example, the first title (h1) of the page gives basic information about your content. Therefore, you need to specify the main search term here with a sentence that will summarize the page so that (1) the user has an idea of what will be explained in the rest of the page and (2) search engine bots can weight the importance of this term based on their placement in the HTML hierarchy.

12. Brand Strategy

The brand strategy begins with what the product or service is. That's why you should have explained very well what your product(s) are on your own website. In order to stand out in the market, users need to know what their pros will be when they buy this product / service from you.

If you are an e-commerce website, you need to write all the features of the products in the description part and show the delivery/shipping information on these pages so that you can help the brand to be perceived very clearly by the users.

If you’re selling a service, you need to explain the service detailly on your “services” page, where you highlight the advantages of your service, and also the advantages of your brand.

Apart from the product pages, other important pages where you can present the brand strategy to the users are the "about us" themed pages.

To summarize what you need to pay attention;

  • Include topics on your website that will differentiate your product from other competitive products. These areas must be visible for the user.
  • Stand out in the areas where they exist to build a brand image in the target audience. Do audience and competitor research and leave a “quality mark” on users in these areas.
  • Pay attention to comments and try to find solutions.
  • Increase brand loyalty. While gifts or special discounts increase the purchasing demands of existing customers they also can drag new audiences and ensure their purchasing continuity.

13. Audience and Competitor Research

Apart from your product and service, you also need to do market research

  • Which market will you take place in: Identify competitors and potential audience in this market.
  • Which country do you target: Review the language of the competitors / target audience in the target country and how do they communicate in the online world and what they are dealing with in the offline world.

Since your website will be new, you may not be able to see user data and information like where your users live, and which devices they use mostly, via Google Search Console or Google Analytics data. That's why I recommend you to use tools like SurveyMonkey that will enable you to conduct online user surveys.

You can review Digital Trends presentations that We Are Social publishes regularly every year. The data on a country basis will also show digital habits of users in that particular country.

In addition to reports where survey and statistical datas are published, I recommend you to take a look at some forum pages and comments on your competitors' websites and social media accounts. Every product or channel page that users leave comments will give you tips about them.

In competitor research, you can use tools like Ahrefs. Organic search terms that your large and small competitors got can provide information about searches that may come to your website. Use these searches on relevant pages of the website and try to present the content to the user in detail.

14. Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the steps that will determine the fate of all your work after creating the SEO strategy. After determining the themes of the website pages, you need to do research for the words you will use while processing these themes.

Some tools / areas where you can do your keyword research:

Keywordtool.io: Yes, it does have a free version, but you will need to purchase the Pro version if you want to see all the data.

Keywordtool IO Keyword Research
Keywordtool IO Keyword Research

Ubersuggest: It's free, but the number of listed words is limited. You need to log in with your Google account to see all results.

Ubersuggest Keyword Research
Ubersuggest Keyword Research

Ahrefs: You can use it for 7 days for 7 dollars. Then you will need to change the payment schedule.

Ahrefs Keyword Research
Ahrefs Keyword Research

Google and Youtube Search Results: Guess what: its free! You can examine other content by searching the words you think of in the search boxes. At the same time, the words that come out with the autocomplete feature show the relevant variations of your search.

Youtube Google Search Keyword Research
Youtube Google Search Keyword Research

Things to consider when choosing words:

  • Like words with high search volume, words with low search volume are also important. These searches constructed with more than 2 words are those that give more detail to the user when they are searching. As well as the volume of specific topics sought, the competition rate is low. When you try to be included in the results of such low-competitive searches, you will not lose the relevant audience, but in contrast you will be attracting them to your page.
  • Include question and answer searches in your page contents. What does users ask about your product or service, check them out. By writing these questions and answers in areas such as “frequently asked pages”, you can attract your audience into your website.
  • Review pages listed in Google / YouTube search results. What terms did these top pages use in their titles, descriptions and even in their content? Don't copy them, but you can use their techniques.
  • Don’t ignore "recommended" searches in Google search results. Even if there is only one product, definitions used by those looking for this product may be different.

15. Metadata

Metadata Google Search
Metadata Google Search

With the title tag, URL slug, meta description and image alt texts, you inform the users in the search results. Also by helping bots to learn more about your page, you leave a clue to the process of sensemaking of search engine algorithms.

Image Alt Texts
Image Alt Texts

16. Capture Periodic / Trending Searches with Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing strategies of B2B, B2C, e-commerce sites or other sales oriented websites should be different. Because the mass and market that each appeals to are different from each other. Therefore, when you’re creating your content marketing strategy, you need to evaluate the answers of the following questions together:

Who is the target audience: Data such as the target group's age, gender, language, country of residence, etc. Comparison and analysis of these data (ex. 8th grade graduation dress) helps you identify your target audience. For example, those in this mass will not be interested in the benefits of skin cream for elder people.

What your customers / website visitors think: You can share a survey with them right after they contact you, or ask them to tell you how this process has happened. User comments can give you valuable insights about a feature that you can develop on your website.

What is the target audience's interests: If you are selling camping gear, focus on producing content for your audience, who’s interested in camping. By placing products in these contents, you can increase product sales and increase the awareness of your products/brand. By producing informative content that does not involve direct product sales, you can increase traffic and awareness by allowing users to visit the page from organic search results. With internal links that you created, you can let users switch between pages and spend more time on your website.

How they can benefit from your content: There are many areas that you can focus in order to help users benefit from your content. Images on the product pages are the areas where you give the most detailed information (with the product feature descriptions) to the users before actually selling the product. With blog contents, you can become a brand that gives users details about related topics. Other than selling your product, by producing informative content, you can catch new page visitors in search results. In this way, both you and the user will benefit mutually.

★ One content, multiple tips: After publishing your pages analyze them at specific time intervals. Search terms that bring users to your page may either give you information about the next content topic or may give you a hint about a content that should be improved.

17. Visual Contents

Make sure the images that you use in the website are unique and coherent with you. Draft images are used in the same way on every website. For this reason, to use the real visuals by emphasizing the brand and its products; will make you stand out among your competitors.

On product pages: Use pictures to highlight every angle of your products. With only one image, you may not be able to highlight all the features that your product has. You can also add videos to these fields in formats which would not slow down the website speed.

On the "about us" and "our team" pages where the company or brand is described: Share photos of the company founders, office, team members or videos, if you have any. These shares will be reassuring for users.

Share images related to the subject in the areas that you share your content: Photos, illustrations, infographic etc. Make sure that they are in high quality and are compatible with website speed. Likewise, if you have video content on the subject, place these videos in relevant fields. Try not to use stock and produce yourself.

The link given to one page from another one, located under the same domain is named as internal link. Working on SEO for a new website, you will be contributing to the website configuration by constructing an internal link strategy.

Explaining the website configuration above, I have already said that this work improves the user’s user experience and that the search engine bots are moving parallel to this configuration while scanning the page source. The same is binding for the internal link positioning’s logic.

Search engines should be able to see and scan the page content in order to list websites in search results.

Search Engine Bots
Search Engine Bots
REF: Moz.com/Beginners-Guide-to-SEO/How-Search-Engines-Operate

However, as interpreted in the Picture1 above, when all the links are not connected to each other, the bots cannot decide to visit (to scan) which page content from the links B, C or D. In Picture number 2, since all pages are connected to each other by links, from page A to page M, the bots can trace the map of the scanning process.

URL Structure HTML
URL Structure HTML

We cannot observe an outlook of a link as we can in the figure above in a website. This outlook belongs to HTML display and we can say it is the format that the bots can read while they are scanning.

Href element and the following link tell the location of the link to scanners and search engines. The anchor text is the most related word and word group that defines this link; which is visible for the users on the page. This is how the internal link simply works.

While working on SEO for a new website along with the information above, if we summarize the importance of internal link positioning strategy efforts:

With the internal link positioning strategy;

  • The users can find what they are searching in the website more easily since you will give the link for one of the relatable pages.
  • The google bots will understand that the pages connected with a link are related to each other.
  • The more closely anchor texts are related to the link to which it is linked, the better the bots will understand what that page is about.
  • The information hierarchy of the website becomes clear. (As in the transition from Homepage to Services; from Services to Search Engine Optimization page.)

Don't expect to break sales records to start backlink, influencer and social media studies. Begin these studies as soon as the content is published and ready for its users. Relevant (non-spam) links from different domains will help search engine algorithms understand what the web page is about.

20. Continue Search Engine Optimization

As long as people continue to search, you have to continue your SEO work. In PPC campaigns, you can publish a 1 month discount only in a certain period of time and then stop it because the discount is over. But search engine optimizations don't work that way. You have to check the performance of the page periodically and optimize it.

21. Check Your Website Before Announcing

Before opening your website to users, the contents of the most important pages must be ready. Check these contents several times for any misspelling, expression errors. In fact, get support from the people around you, team members if you have any, and make sure that others don’t see any errors as well.

Open your website in all browsers, does it work smoothly in every browser, check it.

Post date: 26 Feb 2020

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