How To Maximise Your New Website’s Launch On Day Zero With Google

Simple but solid advice for small businesses everywhere.

Your designers have blown your socks off with your new site’s design. You absolutely love it.

Plus, the rest of your web team helped the whole build stage to go as smooth as butter.

Now you’re in the final stretch; you’re nearing your new website launch. The decision to go live is in your hands. But you’re probably asking yourself this question:

“Uh. So, I’d really like to go live… how do I know I’m ready?
And how do I get it in front of my potential customers?”

All of a sudden, the reality that getting the website live is only a small step in the story sets in. What do you have to be doing now as the owner of a live website? How do you measure and optimise to increase your odds of online success?

Today, let’s talk about what you should do in just the initial stages of launching a new website to maximise your exposure.

And the secret to success, in part, is our friend Google. But not exactly in the way you might think!

Getting search friendly and found (patience is the key!)

The most common topic we discuss with our clients around the launch of their new site is search engine optimisation (SEO). You know, the stuff you do on- and off-site that makes the major search engines display your site above your [smelly and incompetent] competitors in search results.

If you’re familiar with our blog you’ll know we regularly provide features and advice on SEO. And it’s true that it’s a very important consideration when putting a site together.

But what you might not have realised is a new site won’t even get added to the list of possible search results for two weeks or more. In fact, two weeks would be really quick!

This process of getting your site added to these results is called indexing and it involves the search engines looking all over the internet for pages to add in and update. As you can imagine, with the estimated number of websites nearing one billion, that has to take some time.

One billion’s a really big number. Unless you’re an investment banker in Zimbabwe.

Even after your site is added to the index, it will take a short while for you to trickle up the results for search terms that aren’t solely based on your business name, no matter what you do.

You’ll usually rank quite high for your own business name quickly, since Google can clearly see your site is the most relevant site to show when people search for it.

But search terms related to services you provide, like rain water tanks bendigo or mediator canberra have much more competition, slowing the process down.

However, there are two key SEO-related things we think you should do around launch as a priority, often with some pretty stellar results.

1) Submit your site manually

Normally Google will discover your site by crawling, a.k.a. following links that point towards it from other websites. This can be a slow way to get discovered if your site is new — it’s not common that you’ll be mentioned in many places right away.

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

You can, however, submit your site to Google manually. This ensures that Google is at least aware of your site and we find it can speed up the time it takes new sites to get indexed.

(To cover all your bases, consider submitting your site to both Bing and Yahoo as well.)

2) Use Google ‘My Business’

Google My Business is a relatively new tool that adds your business location(s) as pins to Google Maps. It also sets up your contact number, address and opening hours (if applicable) in most places your business shows up in Search.

That’s one tasty looking storefront.

Use it to take advantage of the free advertising you get from curious searchers, especially people in your local area, to whom you are more likely to show up.

Stats are not just for marketing nerds like me

Success looks different to everyone, but the bottom line is you need some kind of reporting tool to keep tabs on how your website is doing.

This is how you know you have got the most complete picture when it comes time to measure the effectiveness of your site.

At the time of launching your site though, it’s important to ensure you’re prepared to start gathering the data around who is visiting your site, how often and when. You should set up the following three Googly tools to get that data flowing in:

1) Google Analytics for visitor data

Analytics can be full on (even for the most seasoned web marketers), but it captures some immensely useful data about your website’s audience, their browsing habits and their interests.

332 visitors at once, totally legit.

Setting it up is easy if you’ve already got a Google account, simply follow the prompts and get the tracking snippet of code it will supply to you set up, or send your web developer a copy and get them to take care of it for you.

2) Google Webmaster Tools for search data

Webmaster tools can show you how your website is doing in search by giving you a listing of keywords that brought up your site and on average how high in the ranking you showed up.

It can also identify any issues with content on your site (such as broken links or duplicate content) and give you guidance on ways to correct them.

Before you start seeing your webmaster data you’ll need to verify that you own the site in a few easy steps.

3) Google Alerts is for mentions, friendly or otherwise

Alerts gives you an email notification whenever new content shows up on the web, based on the subjects you specify. The best bit is you can use this to be alerted to mentions of your own company, your competitors or your industry as a whole; you’ll get a useful email digest at a frequency you choose outlining anything it finds that is new and interesting and relevant.

I’m holding out hope this will become a thing.

Set this up now to be kept in the loop and you’ll soon be the boss of your own web empire.

Again, with the above three products, you should set and forget. We’ll help you make sense of the data in our next blog in this series.

If your website is a rocket, its content is your rocket fuel

The pages, products and articles on your site are the juicy bits Google uses to figure out exactly what your site is about.

Now this subject does cross over into the SEO territory a bit (reminder: please don’t panic about your SEO when you’ve just launched your site) but here are some hot tips to prevent some common mistakes that may slow your rise to the top.

1) Review your content, is it doing you justice?

You’ve probably pored over the content on your site yourself, but now you’re nearing a launch it’s time to step back and take a “big picture” view of it all.

Here are the major points to get you started:

  • All links in the text link to actual, working pages, and remember to replace “Click Here” with specific calls-to-value like “View specials to see what you could save” for each one.
  • Speling and grammar errers can kill you’re legitamacy. (See?) Getting a new set of eyes to give everything a quick proof read is a good way to ensure they’re all stamped out.
  • Break up big blocks of text into small, readable chunks, and bold the important bits to grab the attention of skim-readers. Most of us don’t have time to study the content, so bold the good stuff!
  • Don’t forget, your site is there to boost your business. Don’t fluff on about you, talk about them (your customers) and make sure you’re showing them you can solve their problems.

2) Add a bit of meat to the site by establishing your blog

If you’re planning on updating a blog, don’t wait until after you go live to write one.

Google loves sites with refreshed content, so by having at least one blog written and uploaded, you’re telling it right from the start that you’ve got the authority in your field.

Sad, empty, blog burger. :( → Glorious, beefy treat! Take my money!

Ideally, your blogging section should actually contain a handful (three or more) fully written blogs on topics your customers are already asking you about. Here’s our 7 step guide to structuring the perfect blog post to get you started.

3) Remove those blank and “dead end” pages

Going live with blank pages, sections filled with Latin filler text (“lorem ipsum”), or “under construction” messages can give Google the impression that you weren’t really ready to launch at all.

Plus, a corny under construction sign…

People still think this shit is a good idea. WHY.

…won’t have you visitors bookmarking you to come back later. It’s a dead end that more often than not will leave them feeling frustrated.

A note on social media

Don’t forget to announce the new site on your social media accounts and ask nicely for likes and shares.

You can get a bit of juice from Google for this too if you include a link back to your new site.

And one more thing: You might want to consider using these early stages to register your business name on all of the platforms you may end up using, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+/YouTube.

Adding your website URL to these profiles ensures that anyone searching for you on these platforms ends up on the right spot plus it’s a good way to protect your brand from people who might be interested in pinching them.

How did you go?

Launching a website need not be a scary process.

In fact, with the above info under your belt and a little help from your friends, I’m sure you’ll cruise through it in no time at all.

Originally written for Web123 — a small business design company with a passion for helping our clients put their best foot forward in achieving online success.