Just a quick post today. One of the most common questions I get asked is how to get to the top of Google Ireland‘s organic search results pages with a new website. While there isn't a one size fits all approach, below are my ‘Top 10 SEO Tips for New Websites' for ensuring strong organic ranking in Google.ie and other search engines when building a new site from scratch:
1. Choose a keyword-targeted .ie domain
If you're a landscape gardener, servicing clients in the Limerick City/County area, a domain name such as “landscapinglimerick.ie” would be perfect. If you're targeting the Irish market only, a .ie domain will give you an advantage over other domain TLDs. No worries if you don't have a .ie domain, just make sure you choose “Ireland” as your country in Google Search Console's International Targeting settings.
2. Don't scrimp on your web hosting
Host your site with a company that offers fast servers, solid security and efficient backup systems. My favourite web hosting companies are getflywheel.com and cloudways.com.
3. Use WordPress CMS to build your website
Build your website on the WordPress CMS platform. Very user friendly, some great integrated SEO functionality and plenty of themes & plugins available to create a professional looking site.
4. Set SEO-friendly permalinks
Make sure you activate SEO friendly permalink settings in WordPress admin. I adopt the custom structure “/%postname%/” on virtually all my websites.
5. Install Yoast's SEO plugin
6. Write SEO-friendly meta titles and descriptions
Write optimised meta titles & descriptions for each of your pages & posts.
7. Target one main keyword in your meta tags and H1 tag
Optimise each of your pages & posts for a specific keyword/search phrase. Include the main phrase you're targeting in the meta title & description and also the first H1 header tag and paragraph of your content. Don't use the keyword too often within the content as Google may interpret this as ‘keyword-stuffing' which could result in a penalty.
8. Start blogging for SEO
Set up a blog page within your WordPress website and publish relevant, informative articles regularly. Using our landscape gardener example, you could post articles about common landscaping/gardening problems such as ‘best time to sow a lawn' or ‘best bedding plants for cold weather'. The trick is to publish content which mirrors the information your prospective customers/clients are searching for online. By doing this, you will gain traffic from the SEO relevance of your content and, perhaps more importantly, your content has a good chance of being shared and linked to across social networks which will establish you as the ‘go to' person in your particular industry and location.
9. Set up a Google Business profile
Set up a Google Business Profile. Online searches for services are often appended with a geographical location, e.g. ‘landscaping limerick'. If there are relatively few suppliers of these services in your area, there's a good chance you will get a fairly high listing within Google's geographic search results. As these appear above the organic results, this is a great way of getting to the top of Google Ireland even if your website is relatively new.
10. Track your visitors & conversions with Google Analytics
Install Google Analytics tracking code to monitor your traffic and enable you to gauge where your visitors are coming from and how they are engaging with your site.