SEO is not magic
I suspect that anyone working within the SEO industry regularly gets asked to ‘have a quick look’ at a site that has recently been launched.
This usually spells disaster as SEO experts are not magicians and it is not possible to wave a magic wand over a site to optimise it.
SEO is a process and one that should be accommodated in every stage of designing a new website.
Failure to consider search engines at the earliest stages of design can prove extremely costly and it is vital to seek expert advice at the embryonic stages of a website project.
Keyword research should be undertaken before you have started to consider possible layouts / designs.
Why is keyword research so important? In simple terms, it is one of the most powerful forms of market research available today.
Keyword research will show you what people are actually looking for and the language that they use to do so.
Not only will this help identify the phrases that you should target with your search engine marketing campaigns, but it should be use to help inform the language that you use on the site – by using the language that your audience uses, you can ensure that you communicate effectively and offer content that will appeal to your users.
Keyword research can also help identify gaps in your products / services – are your users screaming out for services that you don’t currently offer? Use this information to develop your business and offer services for which there is a proven demand.
The organisation of content on your website can have a significant impact on the success you may achieve in search engine rankings.
Search engine spiders are not very capable browsers and will often stumble at the smallest of hurdles. By reviewing the site structure at the early stages with an SEO expert, you can ensure that the site is accessible to the search engine spiders and that all the content will be visible.
Not only will you avoid any technical issues, but a well organised site with logical groupings of content is almost invariably a very usable website – SEO and web usability / accessibility are often very closely aligned as effective SEO advice will typically concentrate on making all content accessible and easily identifiable to both spiders and humans.
A search engine marketer should not care whether a logo is green or red. They should, however, care about how the page design may affect the likelihood of ranking well for the target keywords.
Some very simple changes to the design, such as placement of content headings, can make a real difference.
By inviting SEO experts to review the design before it is actually built, you can save yourself the pain of having to redesign the site at a later stage.
We rarely actually see brand new sites these days – most ‘new’ websites are actually relaunches of sites that already existed on the same domain.
Whilst search engines are much more capable of understanding changes to a website, there is a real risk of losing any rankings that you previously enjoyed if you proceed with a site redesign without SEO advice.
Some very simple steps can mitigate the risk of seeing your search engine referred traffic vanish overnight.
There can be no doubt that search engines offer a massive potential to drive targeted traffic to your website but any investment that you have made in your website will be wasted if it is not found by your target audience.
Expert SEO advice will help you maximise exposure but it is not magic – it should be integral to the entire design process. There is no miracle cure, but there is a proven methodology that will deliver the success that you wish to achieve.
Author : Joe Friedlein, MD of Browser Media