5 Ways to Start Your SEO Before You Launch Your Website
By Seth Price
So, you’re about to launch a new website, and you want it to start building traffic and ranking for your keywords as soon as it’s live. Most SEO tactics deal with what to do once your site is up and running. But what can you do to jump start the process before you launch?
Discussions of pre-launch activities tend to focus on competitive analysis, keyword strategy, content strategy, site structure, and the like. But one of the things that gets left out is the value of getting your site indexed by search engines and building backlinks before you launch. Backlinks are the cornerstone of search engine ranking, and getting your site indexed is a precursor to it all. That is, when you get links from sites that are already indexed, the Google bots will index your site as well, and pass along some of the SEO juice during the process. Here are five ways to get this process started before unveiling your site.
Pick an SEO-friendly domain name.
Choosing a keyword-friendly name that will represent your niche and the content that you plan to create will save you lots of time and money trying to get noticed by the search engines. If you’re not sure choosing a keyword-rich name really matters in search engine ranking or SEO, try getting a highly searched keyword domain like realestate.com or personalloans.com. You won’t be able to get either of these domains unless you pay handsomely. Realestate.com sold for $8.25 million last year, while personalloans.com sold for $1 million about a month ago.
Why do URLs like these fetch such a high price? Because search engines are known to rank those websites higher that include relevant first-level keywords in the domain name. For instance, if your niche includes people looking for information about FSBO properties in Chicago, the obvious choice would be www.fsbopropertiesinchicago.com. Since search engine crawlers are configured to parse domain names and establish the right associations, the order of your keywords doesn’t especially matter. Figure out which terms are most important to you, and register the name as soon as you can.
Create a landing page.
The sooner you do this, the better. Search engines like aged domains, and grant them more authority. Try creating a “coming soon” homepage with some basic information about your site, a call to action, and a lead capture form for visitors to fill out. Make your CTA a compelling pitch. People like givers, so offer something to your potential readers in exchange for their email. Use this to build your email marketing and nurture your audience before you launch.
Guest blog on sites where your niche spends their time.
Guest blogging is incredibly simple and incredibly beneficial. Simply put, you write content for another website, making you a “guest blogger.” In addition to personal exposure, in return you’ll get links to your website, traffic to your landing page, and subscribers to your email list.
No matter the industry, there are existing websites that want guest blog posts. Browse the most popular sites in your niche. Look for links that say “write for us,” “become an author,” or “submit your article.” Alternatively, you can contact site owners directly, introducing yourself and offering your services as a guest blogger. Finally, you can also use Google Blog Search, big G’s blog search engine, to find blogs calling for guest posts.
Create content for your site.
One of the best ways to ensure visitors to your new site is to make sure it’s fully stocked with engaging content right out of the gate. Attach a blog to your site that allows you to easily add and edit content, and start producing posts that will warm up your site visitors. I suggest WordPress because it’s one of the best content management systems out there. Whatever you use, just make sure you host it on your site. You’ll also want to think a little bit about your content strategy. Will you create, or curate? Will you use text, photos, or videos? What will be your general theme or voice? Etc. Don’t get too bogged down by these questions: you just want to get the ball rolling on your content strategy. You can always optimize later.
Publicize your content.
Finally, it’s crucial to share the content on your blog with your email subscribers, social media outlets, and other bloggers. By creating content that your audience wants to consume, you’ll build trust in your community and expand your following, so that once your site goes live, you’ll already have people hooked.
Getting yourself indexed and securing backlinks before you launch will give you a head start on your SEO and your site a more immediate impact. Don’t wait until you go live: get started early, follow these steps, and you’ll reap the benefits when launch day rolls around.
Published on April 16, 2012
Written by Seth Price
Seth is a brand and marketing strategist with 20 years of digital marketing experience. He’s a founding team member and VP @Placester, author of the bestselling small business marketing book, The Road to Recognition and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts. As a speaker, writer, and marketing workshop leader, Seth brings levity, mentorship, and a dose of reality to the businesses and entrepreneurs he coaches.