Having proper SEO for your new website will help you gain organic traffic, ensure visitors have a good user experience, and help you build domain authority. Let’s dive in.

Dive into our comprehensive guide to safeguard your SEO during a website overhaul or domain migration. Discover the essential new website SEO checklist in this comprehensive guide that will help you hold onto your site’s search engine ranking.

This new website checklist is your blueprint for maintaining SEO performance. From auditing your current site to employing 301 redirects and choosing the right agency for the job, follow these steps to ensure your new site keeps its high ranking for all your site’s search terms.

HawkSEM: new website seo - balloons

Historical data is equally important in the SEO process, so instead of deleting old content, create a plan to improve it. (Image: Unsplash)

Why a new website SEO checklist is important

New website SEO is important for many reasons, but most importantly, visibility on the search engines. Getting it right means showing up when your customers are searching for services like yours. New website SEO will allow you to:

  • Rank higher in searches
  • Appear for searches relevant to your business’s services
  • Improve user experience
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Heighten user trust

Free tools to accomplish SEO checklist tasks

Maintaining your SEO as you move to a new site can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are a bunch of free tools that can help you with many of the steps. Before you start the checklist, make sure you have the following SEO tools set up.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an indispensable tool for monitoring your website’s performance. It offers insights into your site’s traffic, user behavior, and more, helping you make informed decisions about your SEO strategy.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console will help you understand how your site is appearing in the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). It allows you to monitor your site’s presence, identify issues, and even give advice on how to optimize your content for better search visibility.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Similar to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools offers valuable insights into your site’s performance on Bing, the world’s second-largest search engine. It provides data on search traffic, site maps, and indexing, ensuring your site remains visible across major search engines.

Yoast SEO Plugin (for WordPress sites)

Yoast SEO is a favorite SEO plugin among WordPress users – and for good reason. It simplifies many on-page SEO tasks, from optimizing meta descriptions, titles, and H1s with your target keyword to generating sitemaps and checking readability.

It’s an excellent tool for ensuring your WordPress content is optimized in line with SEO best practices. If you want to use Yoast but don’t have a WordPress site, you can check Yoast for availability.

XML Sitemap Generator

A sitemap is essential for search engine crawlers (bots) to understand the structure of your site. The XML Sitemap Generator tool can automatically generate a sitemap for your site, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content.

If you have a WordPress site and have Yoast installed, the plugin also offers a sitemap generator tool, so you won’t need this.

SEO audit tools to fine-tune

The free tools we talked about will help you generate the common pieces you need to develop good website SEO, but you’ll need other tools to ensure every aspect of your SEO is covered, from canonical links to alt tags.

“I think there is a wide range of tools capable of running a site audit,” says HawkSEM Senior SEO Audit Manager Madison Scherner. ” Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, and Semrush are the classic SEO-focused crawlers I’ve seen in my time as an SEO.”

She recommends using OnCrawl, for enterprise sites with millions of pages. “I think more important than the auditing tool is the interpretation of the data after the crawl,” Scherner explains.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a bit more manual and a lot more technical. It’s a website crawler to help with on-site SEO.

You can crawl your site and find issues like empty meta tags, structured data issues, and page title and meta title description length. It’s a great companion for ticking off all of the items on your new website SEO checklist.


Ahrefs offers an audit tool in addition to a dashboard that allows you to keep up with your SEO. You can track your rank with the rank tracking tool and explore your competitors’ backlinks and rankings with the site explorer. It’s a comprehensive tool for all of your SEO needs.


Semrush is a great tool for beginners and experts alike. It covers backlinks, broken links, keyword ranking, and competitor analysis. If local SEO is important to you, you can use the listing management for your Google Business profile and other business directory profiles.

There are also SEO content templates to ensure your blog content is keyword-optimized.

It’s not just about the data itself. It’s also understanding and interpreting it. “If you can’t read, digest, and create a prioritized action plan based on the audit, you will only run into a bigger headache,” says Scherner.” “Semrush is probably the most introductory in my eyes for basic crawling.”

What makes it so great? “They give a very nicely prioritized list of next steps, which makes audit accessible to marketing managers and developers alike, but be wary of their prioritization as I don’t agree with it 100 percent,” she says.

An SEO basics primer

You need to have the basics covered to achieve good SEO on your new site. If you fail to do so, your site may struggle to rank. Even the most engaging content and creative strategies can’t compensate for a lack of foundational SEO.

What are some things to focus on? “During a site migration, I would specifically look at sitemap errors and other GSC Core Web Vitals errors as this is where I usually see some of the biggest changes appear first in poorly managed site migrations,” says Scherner.

Below, we dive into essential SEO tasks that you should look at first when launching a new website.

1. Set the canonical domain name for your website

Choosing a primary domain (www vs. non-www) is crucial. This decision tells search engines which version of your site is the definitive one, helping to avoid duplicate content issues that can negatively impact your SEO efforts.

Implementing a canonical tag ensures that search engines index your preferred URL rather than two versions of the same site. This means traffic is directed correctly to your site and consolidates your page rankings.

2. Use HTTPS protocol

Security is important when it comes to navigating the internet. Migrating your site to HTTPS secures your users’ data by encrypting the connection and signals to search engines that your site is trustworthy.

This boost in security can positively affect your search rankings, as Google has confirmed HTTPS as a ranking signal.

3. Make sure Google can index your site

Your website’s visibility to search engines is fundamental to your online presence. If Google, Bing, or another search engine can’t find your site, you can’t rank.

Use Google Search Console to verify that Google can effectively crawl and index your site. In the left-hand menu, you can go to “Indexing” > “Pages” and check how many of your pages are indexed. If pages are missing, you will want to examine why, fix the issue, and resubmit your sitemap to Search Console.

4. Create a robots.txt file

This file is a guide for search engine crawlers, indicating which parts of your site should not be crawled or indexed. A properly configured robots.txt file ensures that search engines focus on your valuable content and ignore pages that do not contribute to your SEO.

For example, you may decide you don’t want to index your blog’s tag or category pages. Or that the areas of your site that you need a login for should not be indexed. You can use the robots.txt file to indicate this to any search engine crawlers.

To check if you have a robots.txt file, you can type your homepage URL and add “/robots.txt”.

5. Check Search Console for manual actions

Google may apply penalties to your site for practices that violate its guidelines. These penalties can impact your site’s search rankings.

Check that no new penalties have appeared as you move to your new site. After that, regularly monitor Google Search Console for any manual actions taken against your site, and address these issues promptly.

6. Make sure you have SEO-friendly URLs

The structure of your URLs plays a significant role in your site’s SEO performance. When you migrate to a new site, your URL or URL structure may have changed in the process.

If you have changed them, make sure they still align with SEO best practices. This means that they should be clear, concise, descriptive, and easy for both users and search engines to understand. They should ideally include relevant keywords to enhance your content’s visibility in search results.

How not to lose your website’s SEO rankings

When transitioning to a new website, your keyword strategy should aim to preserve your existing SEO achievements and seize opportunities for improvement and growth.

Keywords are the cornerstone of SEO, guiding potential customers to your content. Here’s how to refine your keyword strategy for your new website.

1. Find your top-ranking ‘money’ keywords

Do some keyword research to find the most valuable keywords for your business – the ones driving sales and leads. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help you analyze which keywords currently bring the most traffic and conversions to your site.

But you may also want to invest in an SEO tool such as Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz that can give you more in-depth keyword analysis.

The insights you gather from these tools will help prioritize these high-performing keywords in your new website’s content and SEO strategy.

In this process, you might also find your “deadweight” pages. These can be pages that are not ranking for anything or ecommerce product pages with zero sales, and you might want to consider deleting them when you migrate your site.

2. Determine your organic competitors

When you understand who your organic competitors are, you get a better idea of the keyword landscape of your industry. Use SEO tools to analyze competitors’ websites and identify which keywords they are ranking for.

This can highlight potential keyword opportunities for your new site and areas where you can differentiate your content.

3. Find new keyword ideas

Expanding your keyword list can uncover new opportunities to attract traffic. Here are some strategies:

  • Analyze the intent of your pages that rank: Understanding the search intent behind the keywords can help tailor your content to meet users’ needs. Analyze the pages that currently rank for your target keywords to gauge the type of content that performs well (informative, commercial, navigational).
  • Create a keyword map: Organize your keywords by relevance and intent, assigning them to specific pages on your site. This ensures that each page is optimized for a unique set of keywords, reducing internal competition (also known as cannibalization) and improving the overall site structure.
  • Look at what questions people ask: Tools like Answer the Public can provide insights into the questions and queries around your main keywords. Incorporating these questions into your content can give you ideas for new content or improve the relevance and value of existing content.
  • Understand keyword difficulty and search volume metrics: Most SEO keyword research tools give you two key metrics: difficulty and search volume. Keywords with high search volumes often come with high competition, making them more challenging to rank for. You may want to look at long-tail keywords with lower volumes but more focused search intent rather than short-tail words that will be difficult to rank for.

Technical SEO checklist for your new website

Your technical SEO needs to be on point to make sure your rankings don’t crash as you move to a new site. Here are the essential technical SEO aspects to consider during and after your transition.

1. Check your page load speeds

Site speed is an important ranking factor in user experience and SEO. Migrating to a new host or platform can affect your site’s load time, as can changes in your design or CMS platform. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to test your new site’s speed and implement recommended changes to speed up performance.

Speed is a part of Google’s Core Vitals, which improves not only rankings but also user experience. One of Google’s studies shows that when a site meets the Core Web Vitals thresholds, research showed that users were 24% less likely to abandon page load.

A slow website can put off visitors, and search engines know this.

Use GTmetrix to find out how fast your site loads. 

GTmetrix website speed report

(Image: GTmetrix website speed report)

It gives you a score and practical suggestions like compressing images or reducing server response time.

GTmetrix website speed report

(Image: GTmetrix website speed report)

Implementing these changes will speed up your site.

Pro tip: The Google algorithm is updated regularly, and ranking factors can change, so stay on top of updates to avoid any penalties and keep your strategy relevant.

Get a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate

SSL makes your site secure. You can see if a site has SSL if its URL starts with ‘https.’ This is important for user trust and is a search ranking factor by Google and Bing. 

To install SSL, you can usually get a free certificate from your hosting provider and follow their instructions to set it up.

XML sitemap

Think of an XML sitemap as a map for search engines to find all your web pages. Here’s how it typically looks:


Create a sitemap using a sitemap generator, like XML-Sitemaps. Creating one is relatively easy using any popular CMS like WordPress.

Then, submit it to Google Search Console (GSC).

Add sitemap on Google Search Console

(Image: Add sitemap on Google Search Console)

This helps search engines discover, crawl, and index your pages more efficiently.

Ensure proper indexing

Make sure search engines know about all your important pages. 

Use Google Search Console to find which of your pages are indexed.

Google Search Console indexing report

(Image: Google Search Console indexing report)

If important pages are missing, you can directly submit them for indexing through the console.

Create a good site architecture

Good website architecture for SEO helps users and search engines navigate your site easily. It involves logically organizing your content.

Aim for a layout where important pages link to and from the homepage and are interlinked appropriately.

Use a straightforward menu structure and internal linking to guide visitors smoothly through your site.

Avoid duplicate content

Duplicate content can confuse search engines. 

If you have the same content on multiple pages, decide which one should be the primary page and use canonical tags to tell search engines which version is the main one.

2. Optimize your crawl budget

Your crawl budget is how often search engines crawl your site. Don’t let technical errors waste it. Audit your site for crawl errors and fix them promptly to ensure search engines can index your content efficiently.

3. Ensure all your site elements are crawlable

Some website elements might be invisible to search engines due to poor coding or complex JavaScript. Use tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to detect and rectify uncrawlable on-page elements.

4. Check for mobile-friendliness

With Google’s mobile-first indexing, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is non-negotiable. Test your site’s responsiveness and adjust design elements to offer a seamless experience across mobile devices, tablets, and desktops.

You can check your site’s mobile responsiveness on Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster).

Check your site’s mobile responsiveness on Google Search Console

(Image: Check your site’s mobile responsiveness on Google Search Console)

It tells you if your site is mobile-friendly and suggests how to improve it, like resizing content to fit the screen.

Further reading: How to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly (& Why It’s a Must)

Pro tip: Besides checking mobile friendliness, you should ensure that your site looks good across browsers, too. Test your site in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari before you go live.

5. Check link integrity and repair broken paths

Regularly check for broken links and errors, which can hurt user experience.

Tools like Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker can identify these issues.

Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker tool

(Image: Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker tool)

Fix broken links, set up a custom 404 page, and create redirects to guide users back to your website and reduce the bounce rate.

6. Use structured data markup to enhance your SERP appearance

Implementing structured HTML data (schema markup) helps search engines understand your content better, potentially enhancing your visibility in search results with rich snippets. Add structured data to relevant pages to make your site more attractive to search engines and users alike.

7. Fix any 301 redirect loops

As you move to a new site and possibly restructure your URL hierarchy, setting up 301 redirects is essential to guide users and search engines to the correct pages. Check for redirect chains or loops that could confuse crawlers and visitors, ensuring a smooth transition from old URLs to new ones.

On-page SEO checklist for your new website

Your content marketing and on-page elements play a pivotal role in attracting and engaging visitors, as well as boosting your SEO performance. Here’s a checklist to improve your on-page optimization.

1. Conduct keyword research

Keyword research identifies the phrases and terms your potential customers use in search engines. It’s the first step in the SEO process for websites. It aligns your website content with the search queries, needs, and search intent of your audience.

There are different ways to approach keyword research.

Find seed keywords

Seed keywords are generic terms related to your business or niche.

For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, your seed keywords may be “fitness,” “personal training,” or “workout routines.”

You can use these seed keywords as a starting point to generate a more extensive list of keyword ideas using tools like Google Keyword Planner.

Find keywords on Google Keyword Planner

(Image: Google Keyword Planner)

This tool discovers related terms and phrases your potential customers may use, giving you a broader perspective on their search habits.

2. Refine your keyword list

Once you have a broad list of potential keywords, the next step is to refine it to find the most effective ones for your SEO strategy. This involves a careful balance of relevance, search volume, and competition:

Focus on relevance

Start by ensuring each keyword closely relates to what your business offers. 

For example, if you’re a fitness coach, a keyword like “weight loss supplements” may be popular, but it’s irrelevant if you don’t sell supplements. Stick to keywords that accurately reflect your services.

Look at the search volume

Search volume highlights how many people are searching for a keyword. While high search volume can be tempting, it often comes with high competition.

Keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner provide SEO data, like search volumes.

Keyword search volume data on Google Keyword Planner

(Image: Google Keyword Planner)

Use this information to identify keywords with a reasonable number of searches but aren’t overly saturated in the market.

Assess keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty reflects how hard it’ll be to rank for a keyword. The higher this value, the more competitive the keyword. 

Aim for keywords with lower difficulty scores, preferably long-tail keywords. They offer a better chance of achieving higher search engine rankings.

Keyword difficulty value on Google Keyword Planner

(Image: Google Keyword Planner)

3. Optimize your site with the right keywords

After carefully selecting your list of keywords, strategically integrate them into your website. This optimization ensures your site is visible and relevant to your potential customers’ searches.

Here are the places where you can incorporate keywords:

  • Homepage and landing pages: Include your main keywords in the titles, header tags, and first paragraphs of your homepage and landing pages. Make sure they fit naturally and accurately describe your offerings.
  • Blog posts and articles: Use your keywords to guide the topics of your blog posts. Incorporate them into titles, headings, subheadings, and throughout the body where relevant. (We’ll discuss this point below Click to jump)
  • Meta descriptions and title tags: Ensure your keywords appear in your pages’ meta descriptions and title tags. This helps with ranking, and encourages searchers to click through from search engine results pages.
  • URLs: If possible, include keywords in your URLs. Keep the URL structures short and easy to read, with keywords reflecting the page content.
  • Image alt texts: Descriptive alt texts for images, including keywords where appropriate, can improve your site’s visibility in image searches.
  • Product descriptions and category pages: For ecommerce sites, use keywords in SEO product descriptions and category page titles and content. This is a key part of ecommerce website optimization and helps these pages rank in search engine results related to your products.

Pro tip: Avoid keyword stuffing. Integrate your keywords into pages/content naturally. Search engines now prioritize semantic SEO, where the algorithm considers the thematic depth of a page vs. the keywords that page includes.

4. Optimize your tags: avoid duplicate and missing page titles and meta descriptions

Ensure each page has a unique title tag and meta description that accurately describes the content. Avoid duplicates, missing tags, or truncated texts that can harm your search engine rankings. These elements are crucial for click-through rates (CTR) from search results.

5. Optimize your site for UX

User experience (UX) refers to how well visitors interact with and perceive your site. A good UX means visitors find your site intuitive, easy to navigate, and delightful to use.

This makes visitors more likely to stay on your site. It also affects how search engines rank your pages.

While we’ve already mentioned the importance of site speed (a fast-loading site is crucial for UX), there are more on-page SEO elements to consider — especially in digital marketing for ecommerce, where UX is critical to driving online sales.

You can improve these elements by focusing on core web vitals.

Understanding Core Web Vitals

Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a set of specific factors in Google’s criteria for user experience. 

These include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures loading performance. It assesses how long it takes for the main content of a page to load. Aim for an LCP of 2.5 seconds or faster.
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP): This replaced the First Input Delay (FID). It measures the responsiveness and interactivity of a page by capturing the delay between user interactions and the visual response or next paint. Aim for an INP of 200 milliseconds or less.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This assesses visual stability. It measures how much unexpected movement happens on your page as it loads. Aim for a CLS of 0.1 or less.

Each of these metrics plays a key role in providing a better user experience on your website.

You can look at your site’s CWV values using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Google PageSpeed Insights report

(Image: Google PageSpeed Insights)

Even Google Search Console provides a CWV report.

Core web vitals report on Google Search Console

(Image: Google Search Console)

If they’re below the desired values, follow these SEO tips to improve your site’s core web vitals.

How do you improve your site’s UX?

  • Use a content delivery network (CDN): CDNs keep copies of your site on servers worldwide, allowing for faster loading times.
  • Minimize JavaScript: Excessive or unoptimized JavaScript can delay your page’s interactivity. Reduce the amount of JavaScript used or defer non-essential scripts.
  • Use browser caching: This stores parts of your site in the user’s browser to load faster on subsequent visits.
  • Optimize server response time: Check with your hosting provider on how to improve server response times, as this can directly affect INP.
  • Avoid inserting content above existing content: Particularly for content that loads later (like ads or embeds), ensure it doesn’t push down other content on the page.
  • Use stable fonts: Avoid fonts that cause layout shifts when they load. If necessary, use font-display settings to control how and when fonts are loaded.
  • Specify image and video dimensions: By setting width and height attributes for images and videos, you can prevent unexpected layout shifts as these elements load.

Create a faster and more stable website by improving your core web vitals. This would improve your site’s UX and its ranking on SERP.

6. Create a content calendar

Your content calendar is a roadmap for creating relevant, keyword-focused content that addresses your audience’s needs and questions.

It organizes your content strategy and ensures you regularly publish new content that aligns with your audience’s needs and supports your SEO goals.

So, how do you create a content calendar?

Align content with keywords

Review the list of keywords you’ve identified through your research. These are the topics your audience is actively searching for.

Focus on keywords most relevant to your business. They should have a good balance of search volume and competition. 

For beginners, start with less competitive, more specific, long-tail keywords that are quicker to rank on the first page of search results.

Integrate audience pain points

Identify common challenges or questions your audience has. For instance, if you’re a fitness coach, a significant pain point could be ‘how to stay motivated for working out.’

Create topics that address these pain points while incorporating your keywords.

For example, you can write an article titled “5 Strategies to Stay Motivated for Your Workout Routine” and use keywords like “workout motivation tips.”

Develop your calendar

Use a simple spreadsheet or a digital calendar. Include columns or fields for the publication date, topic, target keywords, and content type (blog, video, etc.).

Decide how often you can create and publish content. Consistency is key — whether weekly or bi-weekly, stick to a regular schedule.

Start populating your calendar. Mix different types of content to keep it interesting — how-to guides, FAQs, tips, and personal stories can all be great formats.

Here’s how a typical content calendar can look on an Excel sheet:

Content calendar example

(Image: HubSpot)

7. Start producing content

With your content calendar in hand, it’s time to produce SEO-friendly content. You have two primary options: create content with an in-house team or collaborate with an agency.

Working with an in-house team has several advantages, including full control over every piece of content and direct alignment with your brand voice.

But there are also challenges. It requires dedicated resources like content writers, editors, and possibly SEO specialists.

Many brands and in-house marketers usually work with an agency, especially if they have a content-centric SEO strategy.

Working with an agency

The first step here is finding a good agency. How?

  • Research: Look for agencies with experience in your industry. Check their portfolios and client testimonials.
  • Define your needs: Know what type of content you need (blogs, videos, infographics) and the frequency of publication.
  • Budget considerations: Determine your content marketing budget. This helps to find an agency that fits your financial constraints.
  • Initial meetings: Discuss your vision, goals, and expectations with potential agencies. A good agency should be interested in understanding your brand and audience.

Further reading: Hire a Content Writer: The Top 6 Options for Success

Once you’ve hired an agency, you must coordinate with them properly to ensure a consistent content production line. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Regular communication: Establish a routine for regular updates and feedback. This ensures everyone is on the same page and content aligns with your expectations.
  • Content approval process: Set up a system for reviewing and approving content. Decide who in your team will have the final say on what gets published.
  • Feedback loop: Constructive feedback is important. It helps the agency refine its content to better match your brand’s voice and goals.

Whether you choose to create content in-house or collaborate with an agency, the key is consistently producing high-quality content.

And once you have published several blog posts, don’t forget to link them to each other. 

Internal linking (with relevant anchor texts) is another important search ranking factor that helps search spiders crawl your site easily and discover more pages. Learn how internal linking helps SEO.

“You want to create value add content for the target audience. The content created for SEO should answer any and all questions your audience may have. There are times when a user may not even be aware of some pain points, and the content should be comprehensive enough to address that as well,” says Rambod Yadegar, President of HawkSEM.

“Ultimately, the content should position you as an industry thought leader and a ‘go-to’ for the topics or services you cover. This is a key part of modern SEO where brand recognition and reputation are important.”

8. Use singular H1 tags for clear content structure

Each page should have a single H1 tag for the header, used to define its main topic. This avoids confusion for search engines and users. This tag should be used for the main headline only, with H2s and H3s as subheadings to structure content hierarchically underneath.

9. Elevate your titles, meta tags, and content

Revise your title tags, meta descriptions, and page content to ensure they are engaging, keyword-rich (without stuffing), and relevant to your target audience. This not only helps your search rankings but also improves user engagement.

10. Include alt text with images

Every image on your site should have descriptive, keyword-rich alt text. This improves accessibility for visually impaired users and helps search engines understand the content of your images, contributing to image search rankings.

11. Strengthen your internal linking

Robust internal linking helps distribute page authority throughout your site and improves navigation for users. Review your internal links on a free tool like Screaming Frog to ensure they are relevant and use descriptive anchor text.

12. Address keyword cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages target the same or very similar keywords and, therefore, end up competing with each other. Identify any cannibalization issues and decide whether to merge quality content, redirect the poorer pages, or differentiate the keywords targeted on each page.

13. Diversify your content

Engage your audience with a mix of content formats, such as videos, infographics, and interactive tools, alongside your text. This diversity can enhance user experience, increase time on the page, and provide more opportunities to rank in search results.

14. Monitor and improve

SEO isn’t a one-time task but a continuous process of monitoring and improvement. Regular auditing is key to assessing various aspects of your website, including content quality, site speed, user experience, mobile responsiveness, and technical SEO elements.

In these audits, you may uncover common issues like outdated content, slow-loading pages, broken links, or poor mobile optimization. 

Based on your findings, take proactive steps to address these issues. This may involve updating or repurposing old content, optimizing images and scripts for faster loading times, fixing broken links, or making design changes for better mobile usability.

Regularly revisiting and refining your SEO strategy is key to maintaining and improving your site’s search engine performance. And you can do this only by consistently monitoring your SEO performance.

So, keep an eye on Google Analytics. Regularly conduct SEO audits of your site. And take prompt steps to address optimization issues and boost SEO visibility.

At HawkSEM, we use ConversionIQ (CIQ) to track different parts of SEO at a more granular level. It’s our proprietary tool that helps us keep an eye on every step of the buyer journey, enabling us with insights on what’s working and what needs improvement.

ConversionIQ, a proprietary marketing tool by HawkSEM

(Image: ConversionIQ)

“Clients stick with us because of our commitment to consistently high ROI,” says Yadegar. “We go beyond a single-metric approach, which is quite prevalent with other SEO and marketing agencies. And ConversionIQ plays a difference-maker here.”

He adds that the data gained from CIQ helps his team aggressively improve SEO strategies for clients — but that’s not all. “We also leverage that data with other aspects of digital marketing, including social media and PPC ads,” he explains. “This provides clients with holistic growth and faster results.”

All HawkSEM clients get access to ConversionIQ.

Off-page SEO checklist for your new website

Link building can significantly impact your new website’s authority and rankings. A strategic approach to acquiring high-quality backlinks to specific web pages will support your site’s visibility and credibility in search engine results.

Here’s a checklist to guide your link-building efforts for your new site.

1. Identify relevant link-building prospects

Start by finding websites, blogs, and forums that are relevant to your industry or niche. Look for sites that share your target audience but aren’t direct competitors. Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush can help you identify potential link-building opportunities by analyzing where similar sites get their backlinks.

You can then reach out to these sites and offer to do a guest posting, sponsor a piece of content, or give them exclusive access to publish content you have already written that their audience will enjoy.

2. Launch a link outreach campaign for your new site

Capitalize on the buzz of your new website launch as a unique angle for your link outreach campaign.

Reach out to industry influencers, bloggers, and websites with a personalized pitch, offering them valuable content or insights from your new site that their audience would appreciate. Highlight any new features, resources, or content that set your new site apart.

Here are other ways to build link juice for your new website:

  • Guest blogging: Write articles for other websites in your industry. In return, they usually allow you to include a link back to your site.
  • Link baiting: Produce high-quality, shareable content. Engaging content like infographics, research studies, or in-depth guides naturally attracts backlinks.
  • Broken link building: Look for broken links on relevant websites and pitch your content as a replacement. SEO tools like Ahrefs can help you find these opportunities.
  • Participate in industry discussions: Actively engage in industry forums or comment sections of relevant blogs. Provide valuable insights and subtly include a link to your site.
  • Collaborations and partnerships: Collaborate with relevant brands or influencers in your field for joint projects or endorsements, which can include backlinks to your site.

Remember, not all backlinks are created equal. The relevance and quality of the site linking to you matter a lot. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites in your industry are more valuable than numerous low-quality links. So, spend your SEO efforts in the right direction.

Start by evaluating your existing backlink profile. How many sites are linking you? Are they of good quality? Should you disavow some based on lack of relevance? You can use GSC or Semrush to do this.

3. Conduct a backlink gap audit

A backlink gap analysis compares your new website’s backlink profile to those of your main competitors. This audit can reveal opportunities where competitor sites have backlinks, but your site does not.

By identifying these gaps, you can target these same sources for your link-building efforts, potentially capturing valuable backlinks you’ve missed.

4. Turn unlinked mentions into links

Monitor the web for mentions of your brand, products, or services without a link to your site. Tools like Google Alerts, Mention, or BuzzSumo can automate this process.

When you find unlinked mentions, contact the site owners or authors and politely ask if they can add a link to your site. With relatively little effort, this tactic can convert existing brand mentions into valuable backlinks.

5. Ensure you have a strong social media strategy

While social media links are typically “nofollow” and don’t directly influence search rankings, a comprehensive social media strategy can significantly contribute to your link-building efforts.

Advice for migrating to a new site

Of course, advice can’t be one-size-fits-all when it comes to site migration. Rather, the exact steps you take will depend on the size of your site, the age of your domain, and more.

Here, Scherner lays out some of the biggest items to look out for:

  • Google Analytics and event tracking: Make sure all of your tracking tags are being ported over to the new site correctly. Lapses in tracking can cause misreporting on the success of the website changes.
  • Redirect maps: If you’re culling content significantly consider the page’s organic success, it may be worth keeping just for SEO health. If there aren’t proper redirects in place you will see 404 errors and a poor response from Google.
  • Update your metadata: I love using site migrations and updates as a chance to refresh metadata. Are your targeted keywords still aligning with the page’s content and purpose? If not consider changing the page title and meta description.
  • Upload a fresh sitemap: Google has been crawling and indexing your site likely a long time. Make sure that once the new site goes live a fresh sitemap is uploaded so you don’t have any indexation issues.
  • Maintain the old domain: Don’t just drop the old domain if you’re shifting to a new one. Redirecting the old domain to the new domain will save you a huge headache.
  • Migrate during your slow season: Make sure you have access to a strong development team for at least a month or two after the site goes live, and bring on an SEO expert if you’re in unfamiliar territory and organic traffic is a big portion of your traffic.

The takeaway

Digital marketing success, especially when launching a new website, hinges on a well-rounded SEO strategy. From conducting a thorough SEO audit to understanding and using keywords effectively, every step is pivotal.

Ensuring technical SEO is up to par, optimizing content and on-page elements, and building a robust link profile are all essential.

By following the steps we’ve laid out, you can ensure your new website maintains and improves its visibility and ranking in search engine results, paving the way for long-lasting digital marketing success.

This article has been updated and was originally published in May 2020.


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Shire Lyon

Shire Lyon

Shire is a passionate writer and marketer with over eight years of experience as a writer and digital marketer. She's well-versed in SEO, PPC, and social media, helping businesses both big and small grow and scale. On her downtime, she enjoys hiking, cooking, gardening, reading, and sailing.