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SEO Checklist For New Websites: A Complete Guide

Building a website is hard. But getting it appear on the first page of Google is much harder. So, how to optimize your website for Google and other search engines? What do you need to do for SEO when launching a new website?

Below is a complete list of to-dos for SEO for a new website. We always use this SEO checklist whenever we create a new website. It ensures we don’t forget any important thing that can harm our website ranking.

SEO Checklist
List of to-dos for SEO when launching a new website

Table of content:

1. Set Up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a must-have tool for any SEOer and website owner. It gives you statistics about the website traffic and audience.

With the help of Google Analytics, you’ll know how many visitors your website has each day, where they come from, what content they’re interested in most.

To set up Google Analytics for your website, you need to log in to Google Analytics with your Google (Gmail) account. If you don’t have any account, then you need to create one.

Then go to Admin and click on + Create Property button:

Creating a new property in Google Analytics
Creating a new property in Google Analytics

On the next screen, select Web as we’ll use Google Analytics to measure web traffic. Then click Continue.

Select Web for the type of analytics
Select Web for the type of analytics

You’ll be asked to enter Website Name, URL. Simply enter these details and click Create button:

Enter website details in Google Analytics
Enter website details in Google Analytics

On the next screen, you’ll get the tracking code, which you need to insert into your website.

Getting the tracking code
Getting the tracking code

In order to add the tracking code to a WordPress website, we’ll use the Slim SEO plugin. Go to your WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New and search for “slim seo”. Then install and activate it:

Install Slim SEO plugin in WordPress
Install Slim SEO plugin in WordPress

You can read more about installing Slim SEO.

After activating the plugin, go to Settings > SEO, and paste the tracking code into the Header Code:

Insert tracking code in WordPress
Insert tracking code in WordPress

Now your website is connected to Google Analytics and it will track your traffic and let you know how many visitors your website has each day.

2. Add WebSite To Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another SEO tool from Google. Like Google Analytics, it’s a must-use tool for all SEOer and website owners.

Google Search Console tells you which keywords your website rank for, how many back links your website has, SEO errors that you need to fix and more.

To add your website to Google Search Console, log in to Google Search Console with your Google account. The click on the + Add Property button to start:

Add property to Google Search Console
Add property to Google Search Console

In the popup, enter your website domain and click Continue button:

Add website domain to Google Search Console
Add website domain to Google Search Console

Google will ask you to verify the ownership of that domain via a DNS record:

Verify website ownership with DNS record
Verify website ownership with DNS record

That means you have to log in to your account on your domain name provider’s website (such as namecheap.com or godaddy.com). And then go to the DNS management for the domain and add a TXT record for the domain with the provided value.

Google has a comprehensive instructions for popular domain name providers. If you don’t know how to do that, please follow the instructions.

When you’re done, click the Verify button. You might need to wait some minutes to ensures the new DNS settings is updated.

When it’s done, you’ll see a successful status from Google Search Console. And from now on, you can use it to analyze your SEO rankings.

3. Submit Sitemap In Google Search Console

Sitemap is an important tool for SEO. It tells search engines the URLs your websites has, so they can crawl and index them. It ensures all your posts and pages are indexed and shown on search results pages.

To submit your sitemap in Google Search Console, go to Sitemaps and enter your sitemap URL:

Submit sitemap in Google Search Console
Submit sitemap in Google Search Console

If you’re using Slim SEO, then your sitemap URL is:

http://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

See the Slim SEO documentation on XML sitemap for details. Also note that the sitemap URL might be different if you use another SEO plugin for WordPress.

4. Add WebSite To Bing Webmaster Tools

Similar to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools is the place where Bing (the 2nd popular search engine) learn about your website.

It provides a similar tools such as submitting sitemap, tracking queries, etc. It’s important to add your site to Bing Webmaster Tools, so your site is visible on Bing.

To add your site, log in to Bing Webmaster Tools. If you don’t have any account, sign up for one.

On the Dashboard, you’ll see an input to add a new website or import it from Google Search Console:

Add a new website in Bing Webmaster Tools
Add a new website in Bing Webmaster Tools

As we already add the website on Google Search Console, let’s import it. Importing the website from Search Console also helps bypassing the verification for the website (which is similar in Search Console we did above).

Click the Import button to start. In the confirmation popup, click Continue to Search Console.

Continue to Search Console
Continue to Search Console

You’ll be redirected to Google to log in. Then Google will ask you to allow Bing to access the list of verified sites:

Allow Bing to access verified sites
Allow Bing to access verified sites

Simply click the Allow button. And you’ll see a list of verified sites available in a popup:

Select sites to import to Bing
Select sites to import to Bing

Select the sites you want to import to Bing and click the Import button. Or you can simply select them all (recommended) and click Import.

Now your sites are available on Bing Webmaster Tools, and it will start to crawl your website and provide insights for you.

5. Submit Sitemap In Bing Webmaster Tools

After importing sites from Search Console, you need to check if your sitemaps are imported. Click on your website in the Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard to go to your site settings:

Add a new sitemap in Bing Webmaster Tools
Add a new sitemap in Bing Webmaster Tools

If you don’t see any sitemap here (like in the screenshot above), then you need to submit one. Click the Submit a sitemap button.

Submit sitemap URL to Bing
Submit sitemap URL to Bing

And enter the sitemap URL to the inbox. Again, if you’re using Slim SEO, then the sitemap URL is:

http://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

Finally, click the Submit button to finish.

Permalink is the URL structure of your posts and pages. It’s crucial to keep it short and easy-to-remember. Sometimes, you need to add keywords to the URL as well.

In order to do that, you need to change the default permalink settings in WordPress. Go to Settings → Permalink and set up the permalink structure to %postname% as follows:

setup permalinks in WordPress
Set up permalink structure in WordPress

7. Install A SEO Plugin

It’s important to install a SEO plugin for WordPress. A good SEO plugin helps you optimize meta title, meta description, social network SEO, create sitemap and more.

As you can see in the above sections, we highly recommend Slim SEO, an user-friendly SEO plugin that automates all the SEO work for you. The plugin has a lot of features while still very lightweight.

We have shown you how to install Slim SEO in the Set Up Google Analytics section. So, we don’t repeat here.

Besides the ability to insert tracking code to the website, Slim SEO also helps you creating XML sitemap (which we already covered above), improving structure data (schema), auto optimize meta tags and much more.

See more features about Slim SEO on the homepage.

8. Add Data To Posts, Pages, Categories

All the content on your website needs to have proper meta title, meta description and featured image. This data is fetched from the post/page title and excerpt/content. So, make sure you enter them all before publishing it.

Here is a list of content you need to check:

  • Site title/tagline: make sure you write correct site title and attractive tagline.
  • Posts/Pages: set up proper title, excerpt and featured image.
  • Categories: set up proper title and description.
  • Homepage: this is the most important page of the website. If your homepage displays a static page (check it in Settings > Reading), make sure to check it has proper featured image, and description.

9. Install A Social Sharing Plugin

SEO for social networks (Facebook, Twitter) is important. And that’s something you should care about when you launch a new website. Besides posting regularly on social networks, you should install a social sharing plugin on your website to let users share your posts.

There are many plugins that can do the job, and we recommend the Scriptless Social Sharing plugin, which is lightweight and very fast. We use it on this website, too.

Conclusion

Setting up a website properly to get a high SEO rankings is not easy and it involves a lot of things to do. We hope the above SEO checklist can help you do things properly at first when launching a new website.

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