Exciting times: After countless hours refining an idea into a business plan – you’re ready to launch your new website, or maybe re-launch your updated business! Of course, you may have a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) [perhaps you’ve even completed some of the suggestions under Point #4], but there’s so much more that can be done before you launch your website…
At Webfirm, we talk to hundreds of business owners preparing to launch their new site who are hesitant to start their SEO before they go live – all because they are unaware of how critically important proactive SEO is to a successful launch. Therefore, we’ve created this brief guide to pre-launch SEO practices that are essential to tick-off before any new website or updated website launch:
If you had the greatest race horse ever seen – the mythical offspring of Pharlap and Makybe Diva – that you’d seen break every record in the book around the training track… Would you enter it in the Melbourne Cup before ever running a race? Before ever entering the barriers? Or lining up side-by-side with your competitors…? Hearing the sound of a starting gun?
Not a racing fun? Ok, perhaps not the best analogy… but the meaning is clear: no matter how confident you are with your business/product/service, there is so much preparation that need to be accounted for to ensure you ‘jump out of the gates’ successfully, particularly when it comes to launching a website (and horse racing).
5 Ways to Jump-Start Your SEO Before Website Launch
1. Create A Quality “Coming Soon” Page
Creating a ‘coming soon’ page may seem a bit of an obvious one – but there are a lot of benefits that people aren’t aware of that come with a quality, optimized ‘coming soon’ page.
Firstly, website age correlates directly to authority – Google and other search engines general deem ‘older’ sites more influential. The longer your site exists and is recognized as a page with a theme, purpose, specific target audience and some visitors – before you go live – the stronger presence you have in search engine rankings.
This of course means your ‘coming soon’ page should include more than the words “coming soon.” Having quality, informative content about your business/product/service/staff/mission statement/contact details etc. is not only helpful to visitors, but it helps search engines recognize the general purpose of your website well before it goes live – a valuable tool to help you start with a bang!
OTHER ‘COMING SOON’ PAGE TIPS
- Include a strong call to action that encourages visitors to enquire, subscribe or enter a competition – generating leads to follow up on and be converted.
- ‘Build your brand’ by including text, image or video that express the voice of your business; connecting with your intended audience and beginning to develop your industry presence.
- Link your coming soon page to your social media platforms, to potentially connect with mass users, generating pre-launch buzz around your business website.
- Encourage press by including an attractive ‘media kit’ on your coming soon page, which outlines all the information of your business, includes your contact details, logo and mission statement, and showcases any media coverage to date. Any form of media coverage before launching is obviously great advertising, but also generating traffic and links to your site – which are important rankings factors for search engines!
2. Build Social Media Platforms
These days, its absolutely critical to start building a social media presence well before your business opens or site launches – with the aim being to develop a loyal following of interested, informed and invested people in your business once the launch happens.
Make sure you have complete profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and depending on your business, almost everyone can benefit from appropriate use of Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and more!
These social media platforms can be used to distribute company or product information and entice press attention, as well as fostering relationships and trust with potential clients by interacting with your market. Always link your social media accounts back to your established ‘coming soon’ page, and you can quite easily build an active following; providing leads, enquiries, traffic and even sales – before your website goes live!
If you’re not quite up to date with the age of social media, don’t fear! You’re certainly not alone. You can learn a little more about how important social media is to businesses here – or feel free to contact our social media experts at Webfirm at any time. We’ve helped many businesses grasp the powerful potential of this new-age marketing platform.
3. Blog, Blog, Blogging!
Tying into social media outlets, blogging is a terrific way to share content about your business – generating followers, shares, media attention, links, traffic etc. etc… all the good stuff! Yet many people don’t think about blogging before their website has launched…
This makes sense, as there is no forum to post quality blogs before you have an active website… however, we still recommend spending some time on your company blog before you launch your website!
Why?! Well, assuming you’ve been thorough with your marketing prior to your website launch, the period of time immediately proceeding launch date is hopefully going to hectic! Having 10, 20, or more blogs up your sleeves gives you the freedom to either gradually release a thought-out blog schedule per day/week/month – or launch a site that’s already jam packed with amazing content for users to browse through. This way, you avoid playing catch-up and trying to produce new content on the go, whilst juggling all other aspects of your business.
If you’ve always dismissed blogging as something irrelevant to your business – check out our blog on ‘Why Your Business Should be Blogging in 2016!’ (Yes, that’s a link in this blog post to a former blog post about the importance of blogging = Blogception).
Another useful blogging related exercise could be to reach out to established bloggers in your industry. Send them a sample of your product, or information about your company, and see if you can feature on their industry specific blog – helping build that ‘buzz’ around your business prior to launch.
If you’re super keen, interested or talented in creating content for blogs, it’s definitely worth doing some research about guest blogging, as another valuable pre-launch SEO tool.
Guest blogging is when you write a post to feature on another websites blog – a website that may attract a large audience, similar to yours, who will value your content. Guest blogging prior to your website launch can help you establish relationships, authority and presence in your industry, and can still link back to your informative ‘coming soon’ page (and later your home page)!
Approached correctly, guest blogging should not be shameless self-promotion. Rather, it’s an opportunity to share your best content and knowledge with an audience of your peers; build relationships, develop presence and authority in your industry; produce links and increase traffic to both yours and the hosts website.
Interested? Find out more about the ins-and-outs of guest blogging from the experts at Moz.com HERE.
4. Create And Optimize All Your Pages
Having all your pages created and optimized pre-launch ensures that when your site goes live, and is crawled by search engine algorithms, they come away with an accurate initial ranking of your website in full.
Slowly adding these pages after going live, or going back and optimizing them for SEO purposes after launching costs time when it comes to SEO rankings… Wouldn’t you rather be recognized immediately for what you’re trying to achieve, rather than wait 3 months to make an impact?
WHAT WE MEAN BY ‘OPTIMIZED’
When we say optimized, we’re referring to basic SEO attention on each page, to name but a few:
- Have your keyword research done and targets identified
- Place these words and phrases intelligently in headings and sub-headings
- Have ‘Title Tags’ and ‘Meta Descriptions’ completed to appropriate lengths, including keywords
Adding intelligent Alt-Tags to your images
5. Put Yourself in Key Directories
Where once upon a time it was only the Yellow Pages you had to worry about – now there are hundreds of specific directories online that simply list sites and businesses under different categories.
With so many directories available, it is of course important to research the best directories for your industry – ones that are well known, widely used and well regarded. Researching the directories that are powerhouses in your industry, and investing in registration before launching is an essential proactive SEO technique.
Getting your site listed in as many relevant directories as possible is a guaranteed way of gathering authority around your ‘coming soon’ page, which will be transferred across the rest of your pages once you go live.
‘Directories’ also extends to core websites for business indexing such as Google+, Yelp, Best of the Web and Bing Places.
In conclusion, don’t start a brilliant horse in a race without properly preparing it for race day, and expect it to jump out of the gates well… Sorry… Don’t launch your brilliant business website without first ensuring it is established enough to have an instant impact. This establishment can be created through proactive SEO, including the 5 tips we’ve listed here (to only name a few)…
- Have a comprehensive ‘coming soon’ page
- Establish a solid social media presence
- Have a number of blogs prepared and ready (and perhaps look in to blogger outreach and guest blogging)
- Complete and optimize all your website pages
- Ensure your website features on a number of key directories
Still hesitant about the benefits of getting started on your SEO before you launch your website? Of course you aren’t! If you think it might be time to get proactive about your SEO campaign, feel free to contact us at anytime, or leave a comment below with any questions, comments or concerns!