SEO Considerations for New Websites

29 January 2016

Launching a new website is an exciting time, often weeks if not months have gone in to collaborating to convert a mere visual concept into a working and functioning piece of technical artwork that is a website. After being guided through a labyrinth of options, prices and features the last thing you’ll want to do is incorporate SEO friendly configuration.

For most digital agencies, producing websites that look amazing and convert well is key. For others, producing websites that are SEO friendly is their primary goal – but there is no point having a terrible looking website put live solely for SEO when visitors are likely to click off the page after being turned off by your 1998 web design colour scheme.

Our firm believes it’s more advantageous overall if you strike a good balance between SEO and visual appeal although this often means making some sacrifices to the overall design – such as ditching that parallax layout you had dreamed of for so long.

Here are some of the most common mistakes James Hammon & Co. consultants see of companies when launching their website:

  • No proper SEO Keyword Mapping

This is the most common occurrence we see. Resulting solely from a general lack of SEO Consideration in the website’s page structure and content – undertaking a SEO Keyword Mapping requires proper and logical keyword allocation to relevant and contextual pages across your website. Ultimately this will affect the copy and meta data for each page.

For example in the case of a financial services firm, optimising an individual service page for a particular service like tax planning type – rather than the entire website for tax planning when accounting, financial planning and investment planning is also available from the firm.

  • Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate content is one of the most common SEO problems we see and results from both plagiarised copy from other websites and incidences where other websites have copied original content from the client’s website. For this reason it is a great idea to have all content re-written on a new site prior to it being made live.

Re-writing content should never be considered a burden but instead a good opportunity to ensure the information provided to website visitors is up-to-date and relevant to the current business offering.

Steer well clear of automated content writing and keyword spinning tools, these don’t work well and will most likely see your flashy new site slapped with a Google Panda Algorithm penalty, not to mention the words not making sense.

  • Failing to redirect old pages to new pages

Whilst 404 errors in our view, are not always a bad thing, a significant number of them can really affect the placement and relevancy of your website amongst search results.

In almost all cases where a website has achieved good results for particular keywords it is imperative to redirect any well ranking page which no longer existing a new page by means of a 301 command.

  • Failure to disable no-index tag

The no-index tag which appears in the <head> coding area of the webpage (that’s at the top) tells search engines such as Google that the webpage should not be indexed. Whilst this a good thing sometimes (see below), it isn’t good at all if your homepage can’t be found in results.

In WordPress, the setting is referred to as “Discourage Search Engines” and this should be unchecked, prior to uploading your website to a production server. On the flip-side, if you use a publicly accessible staging server (ie. No username or password is required to access the website being built), the discourage box should be checked whilst your site is on a staging domain to prevent indexation of live content.

Launching a website presents a convenient time to clean up legacy SEO mess whether it’s from mismanagement or previous mistakes made by your old SEO company. Before launching your website, contact a James Hammon & Co. Consultant to give you SEO onsite advice to ensure your site blooms post launch.

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