7 Simple SEO Tasks to Complete for a New Site

I have assisted countless websites in launching a new or redesigned website. Regardless of the business or the industry, there are a number of tasks you should perform to make sure your SEO gets off on the right foot. The good thing is, these tasks can take no more than 30-60 minutes to complete and are well worth it.

1. Setup Webmaster Tools

Using a service like Google Analytics is great, but you really should verify your site with each of the search engines webmaster tools. These services allow you to diagnose and analyze things on your site, that a website analytics solution can not. Submit sitemaps, find error pages, diagnose slow loading pages, and tons of other neat tools are provided by the webmaster tools.

2. Install Analytics, Setup Your Goals

There is no reason why you should not be tracking your website visitors. Google Analytics is free, easy to install and provides a wealth of information about your website and your customers. Sign-Up for a free account and install or pay someone to install the javascript code on your website.

Also go the extra mile and track key actions on your websites. Things like contact form submissions, downloads, video plays, and purchases should be getting tracked to understand your conversion funnel better and improve your conversion rates.

3. Fix Canonical URL Issues

Something that I would say 90% of all websites never do, it fix the www vs non-www duplicate content issue. This is such a quick fix, but so many websites overlook it. Going with either the www or the non-www, will solve the issue of having multiple URLs for the same web page. Also make sure your internal links are going to the / and on index.html or similar.

PHP Sites: Add to .htaccess file

Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteRule ^index.html$ / [R=301,L]

ASP Sites: Done through IIS

4. Add Your Robots.txt File

Go through your web files and identify directories that you don’t want the search engines to index. Things like your administration files or miscellaneous files found on your server, restrict them from being indexed.

Upload robots.txt file with below text. Make sure you replace “/folder name/ with the folder(s) you want to restrict.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /folder name/

5. Submit XML Sitemap

Once your website is 100% completed, use an XML sitemap generation tool to crawl your entire site and create an XML sitemap that you can submit to the search engines. Each search engine allows you to submit your sitemap right from within Webmaster Tools. This will help get your new site crawled faster and make the search engines better able to find ALL of the pages on your site.

6. Setup Your Local Business Listings

As you may know, Google, Yahoo, and Bing all have local business centers that allow you to add a free business listing that has the chance to show up in the local results when a user performs a local query in one of the search engines.

I would suggest going to GetListed to help manage all of your local business listings. This free service will help you manage and check to make sure you are properly submitting and verifying your local business listings in Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, BOTW and Hotfrog.

GetListed will cover the main local business directories you should submit to, but a service call Universal Business Listing will help you syndicate your listing to all of those 2nd tier local directories like InfoUSA, YellowPages.com CitySearch and Superpages.com. Instead of manually submitting your listing to lots of other local directories, pay $30 and have UBL submit your listing for you.

7. Add 301 Redirects

If you are redesigning a website, try to keep the same URL structure if possible. This way you will reduce the risk of losing any organic search engine rankings and traffic. However if for whatever reason the URL structure needs to change, identify the key pages that are ranking well and gaining traffic and 301 redirect them to the most relevant page on the new site.

If a client has purchased multiple domains and has mirror sites up, direct those sites over to the main site. There is no point in risking a duplicate content penalty for having multiple sites with the same content.

ASP Sites – 301 Redirect

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
Response.Status=”301 Moved Permanently”
Response.AddHeader “Location”, “http://www.example.com/keyword.asp”

PHP Sites – 301 Redirect

Header( “HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently” );
Header( “Location: http://www.new-url.com” );

Now it’s your turn. What other basic SEO steps do you do when launching a new website???

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson is the creator of StayOnSearch, a blog dedicated to Marketing Professionals, SEO's, and Business Owners. He also is the President of Search Creatively, an Internet Marketing and Consulting company.

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38 thoughts on “7 Simple SEO Tasks to Complete for a New Site

  1. Thanks for the list.
    especially for www vs no-www url. I tried to fix this by filters in GA, and it didn't work. Now I have the answer

  2. One more thing I like to do is to create a twitter account and a facebook page for the new website as well. The company might not use it right now but when they decide to use it, than they'll have the name already reserved.

  3. Very helpful – would be interested in seeing what kind of tasks you would do if the site were a blog (ie – submit to technorati, setup feedburner, etc).


  4. Mark, thank you for this informative article. The GetListed site is very helpful and I've been on it all morning!

    I wish I had known about GetListed back when I was manually submitting to directories and editing listings to make sure our company name was consistent across the web. It would have really helped make the process go smoother the first time around. Better late than never! Thank you.

    1. Yes, especially for ecommerce sites with hundreds or even thousands of products. The last thing you want is duplicate pages for all of those individual product pages!

  5. Smile and Straight forward tips above that can help us all, also agree to an extend with Aron, where you can integrate Social Networking platforms into the site, and link it in as part of one of the steps of SEO

  6. Redirection 301 for new site? I don't agree with you. If a site is new and all URLs are in compliance with SEO, how do you think 301 helps. The tips that you provide are not unique though Google has offered 22 pages pdf for SEO guidelines. Well, for beginner your article holds some significance because they know what they are going to do initially with a new website.

    1. What I meant is that if you are redesigning your website, you want to make sure that you try and keep the same URL structure.

      If a url has pagerank and is ranking organically, you want to make sure you keep your traffic by 301 redirecting to the most relevant page on the new site.

  7. Very effective tips for a new website. But it's shocking to see most webmasters not following 'em. These basic steps should provide significant seo benefits to any fresh website.

  8. Hello Mark,

    Interesting points. But I think social Media is also an important part for any website. Through Twitter and Face Book account you not only promote any brand but also you will get back links and visitors. Also your twitter and face book links will be ranked when people search for your company with company name.

    Thanks !


    1. I do agree that social media is a big part as well, but for the sake of staying focused on one topic, I only wanted to mention things relevant to SEO.

      But you are right, social media is def a key piece, and with Twitter and Facebook updates pulling into the organic results, social media is blending in with SEO.

  9. Ok, the info gathered here isn´t really new but like always you need someone to hack all those points together on one page. Thank you for being this person making a nice and compact reference. Bookmarked!

  10. This list goes to the number one to do list for all webmaster out there. This is a must and must not be overlooked. This may even solve some problems other webmasters are experiencing on older websites. Fixing things are difficult especially if the webmaster forgot the canonical url duplicates.

  11. Fortunately I'm doing a lot of these things already! But does anyone know of a Canadian version of GetListed? Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, it doesn't allow Canadian businesses.

  12. Very effective tips for a new website. But it’s shocking to see most webmasters not following ’em. These basic steps should provide significant seo benefits to any fresh website.

  13. Excellent point with Canonical URL Issues. Unfortunately many business owners continue to neglect this point, thanks for bring it up.

  14. If you are a blogger expecting traffic from Google, then you should sign up for Webmaster Tools. I had some crawl errors on my site, and Webmaster Tools notifies my immediately.