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Launching a Website: Best Practices for Search Engines and Site Health

So you created a beautiful new website. Next steps?

You’ve spent hours toiling away at thoughtful design, content, development, review, limitless revisions, and finally…LAUNCH!

More than likely, you (or your marketing agency’s web team) have come up with some sort of content strategy that involves (SEO) search engine optimization. While they say ‘content is king,’ you still need to make sure your SEO content is well received and indexed by search engines. However, there are a few more necessary steps to be cognizant of before starting to aggregate your first month’s traffic or handing it off to client.

  • Sitemap creation
  • Site Verification
  • Security & Monitoring
  • Analytics

These post-launch steps can apply to any content management system, or even hand-coded, non-database driven websites.

Sitemap Creation.

The size of your website may vary; anything from a 10-page information brochure-type website to a 300-product driven ecommerce site. It’s important to make sure all of your site content is fully indexed by the search engines. There are plenty of tools (search: Sitemap Generator) to help determine what pages you include, and exclude. As you add or change pages, your sitemap should be updated, and you should make sure to resubmit to major search engine to come back and crawl your fresh, newly updated content.

Site Verification.

Once your site is live and has a sitemap generated, you want to make sure you verify the site using Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools, etc. Once you’ve proved ownership of the domain URL, you now have access to additional tools that provide more insight into your website’s health; search appearance, current search traffic, index status, and problems with security issues, suggestions for HTML improvement, and more.

If you happen to be redesigning a website, you will also be responsible for any page errors if you’ve forgotten to point your old site links to the new web destination; here you can verify that old indexed pages are in fact being accounted for.

In the rare and unfortunate case that your site may have a security flaw or malware detection on search results, beside contacting your host provider…Webmaster Tools will be your first stop in determining if any ‘red flags’ or known viruses have been detected on your site. With Webmaster Tools applied, you will be able to identify, mediate, and remove any injections or attacks faster than if you had skipped site verification. If you do not have any experience in confidently removing malware from your database manually, you will probably want to invest in an additional security & monitoring product.

Security & Monitoring.

While most reliable web hosts have built-in security and performance options, it never hurts to double up on monitoring as more of a proactive approach to securing your website against any malicious attacks from pesky hackers. The benefit of being in a CMS database-driven environment is that a lot of 3rd party services can run automated backup/restores of your database alongside daily security scans.

Also, depending on your host environment; whether or not you’re on a shared or dedicated server, some services will monitor your site speed and make recommendations to help optimize content for your visitors.

Analytics.

Perhaps the easiest (and hopefully universal) step during any website launch is making sure to have Google Analytics, or similar web metrics tracking code installed on your site. Gone are the days of installing ‘site counters’ to simply monitor how many people happened upon your website.

With so many layers and complexity to any website’s usage, user behavior, traffic patterns…it’s no wonder that there are fulltime jobs dedicated to analyzing strategy for tweaking and improving content for purpose of appeasing search engines. You can get lost in hours of reviewing web traffic reports and hypothesizing on content flow, especially if you have your website linked to paid Adwords or social media campaigns that help encourage online leads generation.

Google Analytics not only provides a necessary guideline for understanding web metrics, but are essential in understanding your return on investment and any future investment of time and resources spent on optimizing user experience or new keyword content generation. Google Analytics is often used as a (free) complement to other reporting metrics and considered a one-stop shop to better understand your audience, type of web traffic, behavior and goal conversations.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into additional steps necessary to make certain your new site content is properly identified, and indexed, by search engines such as Google. Beyond the steps mentioned in this outline, there are also plenty of complementary tools that assist content writers with site optimization which help in acting as a per-page guide to assist with rating your SEO score and allowing you to make adjustments to meta titles, keywords, descriptions based off current search engine algorithms.

For more information on how Bild & Company can help advise with digital marketing & strategy, please contact us →

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