Why Implementing SEO at a Site's Foundation is Crucial
Whether building a brand new website or working your way through a major redesign, it is critical to not only prioritize, but implement SEO in web design and development long before your new site goes live. Organic search traffic plays a starring role in the visibility of your website. These are the “undecided voters” of the business world, and the websites (and content) they find through search results ultimately makes a big difference in where they decide to do business.
Given the technical requirements of SEO development and its role in the success of your new website, it's important to consider and prioritize SEO from the very start of the development process.
SEO in Web Design
We'll cover the technical aspects of SEO website development, next, but first it's important to look at why SEO is such a critical aspect of web design – and why it’s important to include an SEO consultant on the team – sooner rather than later! Strategic SEO web design elements provide a proven road map for building not only a user-friendly site, but a site that will be search-engine friendly for easy crawlability. A well-planned SEO web site design is also key to the user experience, and your ability to convert those users into customers.
Your site's navigation, site architecture – both key aspects of SEO – can make or break your performance in search results. As any good architect knows, it's much easier to design a house before you start to build it.
There's a big difference between building an SEO-focused site, and shoehorning SEO tactics in after a website has been built. Prioritizing SEO allows you to enjoy the benefits of the former without the headaches of the latter, and hit the ground running with your new website.
Some Nuts & Bolts of SEO in Development
The biggest thing to realize about the technical side of SEO development is that it touches on nearly every aspect of your website, and online marketing strategy. That's why a comprehensive SEO strategy is so important, and why it's much more practical to address SEO during website development. Established, authoritative websites are favored in search results. But it's not just about pleasing the search engines. Successful online marketing and SEO is about knowing and satisfying your user.
- A Comprehensive Strategy – SEO consulting is part strategy, part action. For the action to be effective, the strategy has to be sound. Prioritizing SEO during website development allows your SEO consultant to work with a blank slate, and integrate SEO seamlessly into your site's structure. Implementing and considering elements such as local SEO, schema/structured data, robots, XML sitemap(s), mobile optimization, site speed, social integration, redirects, and more. SEO in development also makes it easier to establish tracking and analytics, which provide the backbone of your SEO evaluation over time.
- Content Development – Content and SEO are joined at the hip. This is also true for implementing all the best practice elements of on-page SEO for any/all content that ‘lives’ on your website. Effective content integrates keyword research with an understanding of what your audience wants to see – and how they search for it.
- Information Architecture – How the information on your website is organized is critical to the user experience, and SEO performance. Search engines index new websites in specific, relatively predictable ways, which your SEO consultant can leverage to your site's advantage during site development.
- Social Optimization – Outside of search engines, social media is the most consistent driver of website traffic. And your social media pages should absolutely be optimized for SEO, from the content you share to the way your social media presence is integrated into your website and online marketing.
- Mobile Optimization – Does your website function well on screens of all sizes? A positive mobile experience is a must for SEO, and will help your site reach the widest audience possible. It is much more difficult (and less effective) to “retrofit” a responsive website than it is to build one from the start.
- Local SEO – Local SEO allows you to lock in on the audience in your geographical area, and makes it easier for local search users to find your business. In addition to on-site optimization, it includes your Google My Business listing, Bing Places for Business, as well as local directories and reviews.
- Tracking and Measuring – Organic SEO yields its best results over time, and the SEO process never really ends. Setting up tracking and measuring provides the data necessary to understand and adjust your SEO strategies over time. You want the data to start flowing ASAP, and tracking from the start gives you baseline data from which to measure your progress.
This is not the comprehensive list of SEO elements to consider, but a good start for mapping out your web site and online marketing plan. In the end, it's simply more practical, productive, and cost effective to consider (and implement) SEO from the start of the design and development phase – not to mention, it will pave the road to success for your customized SEO and online marketing efforts. Sustainable SEO success starts with sound strategy, and there's no better time than the present to make sure your new website delivers on all of its potential.
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