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SEO checklist for launching a new site

Brightspot provides a number of built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features that you can enable or review with any site launch. In this article, you will find a punch list of things to keep in mind as you make a play to win at SEO.

This guide does not cover outside tools such as ScreamingFrog, SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Search Console, and additional expertise may be required to fully manage a website’s SEO. Brightspot can provide that additional services expertise, or we can work with any SEO agency of your choosing.
Asset-level SEO settings example

An SEO punch list for site owners

SEO display name

First, to reinforce your brand name (and as a best practice according to the SEO experts at YOAST), publish your brand name in your site's SEO Display Name field, found in Sites & Settings.

The Global site has many settings that serve two purposes: configuring Brightspot and providing defaults for lower levels in the content hierarchy. See a list of these settings, especially those pertaining to benefitting your SEO posture.

This value will automatically be appended to the end of each page's SEO title, preceded by a dash. By doing this, you also get brownie points with Google, since it prefers visible SEO display names.

SEO display name example

Of course, you can also hide the SEO display name if preferred by toggling on the Suppress SEO Display Name setting at the page level on any page.

XML sitemaps

XML sitemaps are a useful tool that help search engines understand and ultimately index your site’s content. Per Google’s recommendations, Brightspot can generate and manage XML sitemaps for you, but you must first configure them within Brightspot’s Admin settings.

See documentation on how to configure sitemaps in Brightspot, which help search engines understand and ultimately index your site's content.

Once configured, Brightspot will need a few minutes to a few hours to generate the XML sitemaps, depending on your site’s volume of content.

The xml sitemaps will be available to view at:

  • /sitemap.xml
  • /video-sitemap.xml
  • /news-sitemap.xml



A robots.txt file is primarily used to direct search engine crawlers on how to crawl your site. Through robots.txt, you can block certain directories and files from being crawled and thus manage the impact crawler traffic may have on your site.

For an elaborate example, refer to Google’s own robots.txt file.

Another key feature of the robots.txt file is it can inform search engines as to the location of your XML sitemap. A basic example might look like the following:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /_debug/
Disallow: /_plugins/

While a robots.txt file can be used to block certain directories and files from being crawled, it does not prevent your content from appearing in search results. If you want to block your content, you can do so at the page level by attributing the NOINDEX robot metatag to the piece of content you want to block. This is Google's preferred method of blocking content. For more details, see Configuring SEO for an asset.

Enable Schema output

Adding structured data with schema markup to your pages is another tool to help search engines better understand your site’s content, and it is the key to gaining access to certain rich snippet results within Google.

Leverage Brightspot’s FAQ module and its native support for the FAQ Schema to gain access to Google’s FAQ rich result SERP.

FAQ page schema used to create this FAQ rich snippet Google SERP example

Enhanced SEO UI

Brightspot adds editorial indicators to help keep SEO best practices in the forefront of the publishing experience:

  • Through simple notes, Brightspot identifies if an SEO title or description is too short or too long.
  • If you enter a focus keyword when configuring SEO for asset, Brightspot identifies when the focus keyword is used within the page's H1, first paragraph, or image alt text. Brightspot also calculates the focus keyword’s density against the content's total word count.
See documentation on how to configure SEO for an asset, thereby helping search engines better index your site by providing SEO settings for each asset you publish.

These enhanced SEO UI settings can be enabled in Sites & Settings, and Brightspot will display the metrics described above (and illustrated below) at the page level.

Brightspot CMS Enhanced SEO UI example

Homepage SEO

These next few recommendations can be applied to every page but we want to take extra care with the home page, especially when launching a new web site.

  • Publish an SEO Title
  • Publish a meta description
  • Make sure there is one H1 tag used on the page
  • Publish descriptive alt text to all images. This not only helps with SEO but has accessibility benefits as well.

SEMrush integration

An optional Brightspot CMS integration to consider is SEMrush. Through Brightspot's SEMrush integration, keyword variations can be found along with their Google search volume and difficulty ratings. In an age where knowledge is power, the SEO benefits of knowing “limewash paint” gets twice the search volume of “lime wash” is valuable. And having this data side-by-side with your publishing experience is paramount.

Additional SEO considerations

As a site owner, beyond the internal Brightspot tools discussed in this guide, you should also complete the following tasks to help validate your new site’s SEO health.

  • Google Search Console: Set up your free Google Search Console account and submit your sitemaps directly to Google.
  • Crawl your site: Through the use of SEO site crawl software like Screaming Frog, crawl your site and discover issues before Google does.

    • Validate that all of your content is discoverable.
    • Validate that your site’s XML sitemaps are working properly.
    • Identify issues of orphaned content, duplicate or missing meta descriptions, broken links, proper use of h1 and h2 tags, and much more.
  • PageSpeed Insights - With the introduction of Core Web Vitals, a common set of performance signals that Google deems critical to all web experiences, spot checking page performance with PageSpeed Insights is a good idea. Create a sample list of URLs for each content type (Article, Blog Post, Gallery, etc.) and run them through the tool. Common things to look for when evaluating web page performance with PageSpeed Insights would be:

Engage with an SEO professional

example of a rich snippet in SERP

SEO is an excellent opportunity to grow organic traffic and needs professional attention to fully reach it's potential in today's highly competitive and ever changing search landscape. Brightspot's professional SEO services team can help. Contact us today to learn more.

Miles De Feyter
About the Author
Miles brings expert front end development and management expertise gained from his 20+ years of leading web dev teams, including design and development, monetization, and tactical operations. Prior to Brightspot, Miles was a development lead at AOL, a contributing member of the W3C who helped the HTML Working Group define what would become the HTML5 recommendations, and led AOL News' effort to implement and help define the rNews microformat which would later become today's standard for NewsArticle schema.

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