Abstract: A look at some key points for launching new websites targeted towards small businesses, organizations and sole traders.
Intended Audience: Small Business Owners/webmasters and anyone new to the world of web design and search engine optimization (SEO) particularly those working with small businesses, organizations and sole traders.
When launching a new website there are a number of key issues to address in order to get your new website off to a good start and get it indexed by the search engines particularly Google.
Create a Sitemap
A sitemap file is used to inform the search engines about the content of your website in terms of the number of web pages, their names, and the priority of each page and the frequency of change. There are a number of online sitemap generators that you can use to create a sitemap though always check before submitting your sitemap to Google that it is complete and contains all the web pages that you want indexed.
Create a robots.txt
A robots.txt informs search engines about which content you do not want indexed by the search engines. For example most websites do not want their images or documents directories indexed by Google and a robots.txt file can be used to prevent their indexing.
Install a Google Map on your website
Most small business will have a requirement for an interactive location map on their website for one or more of their locations. Websites that use the Google Maps Application Programming Interface (API) tend to be indexed more quickly than websites that do not use this facility.
Note: All of the above items should be completed prior to your website going live.
Add Your Website URL to Google
As soon as your website is live then you should submit your website URL to Google to let them know the website is ready for crawling and indexing. You should also add your website URL to Bing and Yahoo at this time. Instructions to add your website URL to the above search engines can be easily found on each search engine.
Utilise Website Monitoring Tools
Once your website goes live it is very important to monitor its progress closely during the early weeks to ensure it gets indexed and there are no content issues. Tools such as Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer are useful in this regard and will allow you to ascertain which web pages have been indexed, display backlinks, uncover content errors etc.
Obtain Relevant Links
Good quality relevant links are also important and more information about this topic can be found at Organic SEO for Small Businesses – Part V