SEO for a new website

SEO optimization is a crucial part of any digital strategy, but it is also a field fraught with potential pitfalls. From technical missteps to content-related mistakes, it is essential to be familiar with the common mistakes in SEO in order to effectively avoid them. In this section, I will explore the most common pitfalls in SEO and share practical insights on how to avoid them.

Setting goals and KPIs

When I start a new SEO strategy, I first set clear, measurable goals and KPIs. This means I accurately define what success looks like for the website and how I will measure it. Whether it’s increasing organic traffic, improving position for specific keywords, or increasing conversion rates, having clear goals is crucial to driving strategy and evaluating performance.

Target group analysis and persona development

Understanding my target audience is key to creating an effective SEO strategy. I dive deep into the demographics, behaviors and needs of my audience to develop personas that will drive content and keyword strategy. This helps tailor the website and content to the specific needs and search intentions of the users I want to attract.

Competitive analysis and market research

A thorough competitive analysis and market research give me insight into market dynamics, opportunities and threats. I analyze competitors’ SEO strategies, their strengths and weaknesses, and use these insights to identify unique opportunities for my website. This helps to develop an SEO strategy that stands out in the marketplace and maximizes available opportunities.

Technical SEO: the backbone of your website

Dive with me into the world of technical SEO, where we take a closer look at the underlying structure and technology of your website. Here, in the backbone of your website, we will explore the fundamentals that not only satisfy search engines, but also create a smooth and enjoyable experience for your visitors.

Website architecture and structure

A solid website architecture is fundamental to both user experience and SEO. I make sure the structure is logical, easy to follow and easy for search engines to crawl. This includes having a clear hierarchy, logical URL structures and streamlined internal link building to effortlessly guide both users and search engines through the site.

Use traffic potential not volumes

Mobile optimization and speed

In a mobile-first world, optimizing for mobile devices and speed is essential. I focus on ensuring a seamless, fast experience on all devices through responsive design, image optimization and minimizing load times to lower bounce rates and increase user satisfaction.

Security and HTTPS

Security is not only crucial for user trust, but also a ranking factor for Google. I ensure the website is HTTPS secured and implement security protocols to protect user data and build trust with both users and search engines.

Security and HTTPS

Core Web Vitals and user experience

Google’s Core Web Vitals are a set of performance and usability metrics that quantify a user’s experience on a Web page. I pay particular attention to these vitals – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – to ensure that the website not only meets Google’s SEO standards, but also provides a positive and fast experience for all users.

Keyword research and content mapping

Together, let’s dissect the art and science of keyword research and content mapping. In this segment, I focus on unraveling your audience’s search intentions and how to translate these insights into a strategic content roadmap that is not only relevant, but also finds resonance with your audience.

The importance of targeted keyword research

When I develop an SEO strategy, targeted keyword research is the first step to understanding how my target audience searches and what terms they use. This goes beyond identifying high-volume keywords; it’s about understanding the intent behind the searches and finding opportunities where my content can really shine and provide value to the user.

Content mapping and the customer journey

For me, content mapping is a strategic method where I align content with the different stages of the customer journey. By understanding where my target audience is in their buying process, I can create relevant and useful content that helps them in their decision making and guides them through the funnel.

Creating valuable and relevant content

Content creation is not only about answering questions, but also about providing value beyond user expectations. I focus on providing insightful, authentic and actionable content that not only appeals to search engines, but also finds resonance with my target audience and drives them to action.

On-page SEO: optimizing for visibility

On-page SEO is where the content on your pages takes center stage. Here we will navigate together through the essential elements of your pages, from titles and headers to images and content, and how to optimize them to charm both search engines and your visitors.

Title tags, meta descriptions and headers

Title tags, meta descriptions and headers are crucial elements that I optimize to inform both search engines and users about a page’s content. These elements should not only contain keywords, but also be engaging and click-worthy to increase the click-through rate from search results.

Image optimization and multimedia elements

Images and multimedia enrich the user experience, but they must be carefully optimized. I ensure that all images and multimedia elements are optimized in size and quality, and include relevant alt text and descriptions to improve accessibility and SEO.

Internal link structure and navigation

A coherent internal link structure and clear navigation are essential to efficiently guide users and search engines through my website. I ensure that each page is logically connected and that the anchor texts are relevant and descriptive, to provide a seamless and intuitive navigation experience.

Off-page SEO: building authority

In this section, we turn our gaze outward – to off-page SEO. Together we will explore strategies and tactics to build your website’s authority through link building, social signals and other external factors that can enhance your reputation and visibility in the search engines.

Link building strategies for new websites

When setting up a new Web site, building a strong link profile is essential to developing authority and trust with search engines. I focus on obtaining quality backlinks by building relationships, creating valuable content and actively participating in relevant communities and forums.

Social media integration and strategy

Social media is a powerful channel I use to increase the visibility and reach of my content. By seamlessly integrating my website and content with social media, I can increase shareability, communicate more directly with my target audience and drive additional traffic to my website.

Local SEO and Google My Business

For businesses with a local presence, local SEO and an optimized Google My Business profile is indispensable. I make sure my business listings are consistent and accurate and that I am actively involved in local SEO strategies such as collecting reviews and local link building.

Local SEO and Google My Business

What does this look like in a roadmap?

For a complete SEO roadmap, see my blog on the subject. Below you can find an overall roadmap for getting started with SEO for a new website.

MonthActionsRequired stakeholders
1Drafting SEO strategy, technical setup, setting up Google Analytics & Search Console, initial keyword researchSEO specialist, Web developer, Data analyst, Content specialist
2Develop website architecture, create SEO-optimized content, set up on-page SEO elementsWeb developer, Content specialist, SEO specialist
3Implementation of technical SEO, creation of link building strategy, development of content calendarWeb developer, SEO specialist, content specialist
4Execute local SEO strategy, optimize mobile experience, publish and promote contentSEO specialist, Web developer, Content specialist, Social media manager
5Analyze SEO performance data, Adjust content strategy, Refine link building strategyData analyst, Content specialist, SEO specialist
6Conduct SEO audit, optimize conversion tunnel, evaluate/adjust SEO strategySEO specialist, CRO specialist, Marketing manager
SEO steps for a new website

Measure, analyze and adapt

Here we dive into the crucial phase of measuring, analyzing and adjusting. I will guide you through the importance of data-driven decision-making in SEO and how to use analytics tools and insights to continually refine and optimize your strategy for better performance.

Setting up and using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is my go-to tool for monitoring website performance and user behavior. I set goals, track conversions and dive deep into user data to understand how visitors interact with my website and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Monitoring SEO performance with Google Search Console

With Google Search Console, I monitor the health and performance of my website from a search engine perspective. I monitor indexing, organic search traffic and rankings to make sure my website is performing optimally in search results.

Continuous optimization and adaptation

SEO is an ongoing process. I am constantly analyzing data, identifying opportunities and making adjustments to improve the performance of my website. Whether it’s tweaking content, improving technical SEO, or updating my link building strategy, continuous optimization is the key to long-term SEO success.

Avoiding common SEO pitfalls

In this section, we will explore the dark side of SEO – the pitfalls that can undermine your strategy if you are not careful. Together, we will identify the most common mistakes and missteps in SEO land and discuss how to proactively avoid them to keep your strategy safe and effective.

Duplicate content and canonical tags

Navigating the challenges of duplicate content means I have to be sharp in identifying and correctly using canonical tags. This ensures that search engines understand the preferred version of a page and helps avoid potentially confusing signals regarding important content and link equity.

Over-optimization and keyword stuffing

Balance is crucial in SEO. I am conscious of avoiding over-optimization and keyword stuffing, which can lead not only to a negative user experience, but also to penalties from search engines. Integrating keywords naturally and strategically, with a focus on delivering valuable content, is at the forefront of my strategy.

Mobile user experience and website speed

In a mobile-dominated world, I make sure the mobile user experience and website speed are optimized. This means I design the website with a mobile-first approach and constantly monitor speed and performance to ensure users have a fast and seamless experience on all devices.

Conclusion

Navigating the complexities of SEO means being aware not only of best practices, but also of common pitfalls and how to avoid them. By taking a strategic, user-centric approach and constantly monitoring and adjusting, you can develop a robust, resilient SEO strategy that can withstand common mistakes and provide value to your users and your organization.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 76 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 9 November 2023. The last update of this article was on 22 November 2023. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.