You decide you want a website so you look for a web designer or put the website up yourself. Then you sit back and wait for traffic that doesn’t come. So you think you should probably start doing some search engine optimization. The problem is it’s already a little late and more than likely you’ll need to undo a lot of what you or your designer did when creating the site if you want your seo efforts to succeed. The time to start seo is before you write a single line of code, before you come up with a design look, before you even begin to write a word of content
Yep that’s right your seo efforts should begin at the earliest stages when you first conceive of the idea of the webstie. Search marketing isn’t the only way you can promote your site, but every day it’s importance in the success of any site is increasing. Not thinking about search marketing from the moment you start can set you back or worse set you up to fail before you’ve even begun.
Why so soon? Because seo and site development are tied together so much more than most would realize. The way you develop your site and the way you structure your content and pages can play a big part in how well you rank for given keywords that starting seo after the site is up may just mean having to redo a lot of work. When developing sites I always keep search engines in mind. I still build the site first for the people that will be visiting, but I make sure to develop a site that search spiders will be able to get through easily. If the spiders can’t find your pages they won’t make it into the index. What do you think the odds are of a page not in the index being found in search results?
SEO And Site Development
The keywords you decide to target should lead the way in how you organize your content and structure your site. By building your site around keyword themes and placing related keyword pages in their own directories you help each of the pages in those directories to compete. Your pages will naturally cross link in ways that will help your ranking. For some keywords and sites internal linking alone may be all it takes to compete.
While the evidence is still in question at the moment I see many indications that how your site and pages are coded can have an impact in where your pages get ranked. Good code can certainly help search spiders index your site and get through more pages on every visit. It’s possible that lean code can also aid in the ranking of your pages. If not now then possibly in the future. If you haven’t thought about seo up front or looked for a web designer who also understands how search engines work you’ll find yourself paying your seo to redo that work.
Content For SEO
I see too many sites write their content as an afterthought. The design is created first and then some words are added to the page just to fill the empty space. Good luck with a site created that way. Your design should follow your content, which should follow your business goals and marketing research. Writing good pages will help convert visitors into customers. Writing pages optimized for keywords will help those pages get found in search engines and also help you know which pages should become landing pages for your pay per click campaigns.
You can’t write an optimized page for a search engine without knowing what keywords you’ll be targeting on the page. Writing a page for a search engine isn’t going to be about adding in a few keywords later to your content. It will be about writing a page around those keywords. It will be about developing pages specifically for those keywords. If you’ve done your keyword research well you’ll have found a few gems, the low hanging fruit so to speak for which you can more easily compete in search results.
Of course seo continues long beyond the development of a site and of course you can rework pages later and add new pages as you discover more keywords. In fact you should be doing this as you learn which keywords are working and which aren’t. Still so much of seo is intertwined with the overall site development that waiting too long to think about marketing your site will put you so much further behind than the few weeks since your site went live.
In a worst case scenario after having spent thousands of dollars for site design and development you can find that your seo recommends you scrap everything and start over again, because it will cost more to optimize the current site than to start from scratch. It’s not something anyone really wants to tell you and I’m sure it’s not anything you want to hear. Unfortunately it does happen. The way to prevent it from happening to you is to think marketing and seo before you build your site. If you’re planning on hiring someone to develop your site either make sure they know how to develop a site for search engines or hire an seo consultant at the same time and get your seo and designer to work together. If you’re building the site yourself do some prep work before you take pen to paper or mouse to screen. Spend some time thinking about how you intend to market your site and which keywords you’ll be targeting throughout your site. The extra time you spend in the beginning will go a long way toward saving you both time and money later.