New Websites and Website Upgrades
Ok, so your new website is finished and has been launched, so now it’s time to think about SEO, right? After all, SEO is just about (a) including your keywords on your website pages and (b) acquiring back links to improve your rankings and generate referrals. If you need to add a few more keywords on the page, you can come back to that later. And you don’t need to worry about building back links yet. Plenty of time for that later too. Let’s concentrate on getting the website finished before thinking about when to start SEO. We can even save a bit more money that way!
If your new website is finished and you think this is the best time to start SEO, you may already have missed out on the most important aspects of SEO and be faced with re-work. Or accepting second best.
Doing SEO the right way, means ‘baking it in’ to your website at the design stage.
Google’s recommendation about the best time to hire an SEO is detailed here in their webmaster guidelines on how to create Google-friendly sites which includes the following extract:
“If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.”
Many aspects of website design can have a significant impact on its performance in the search engines. Anything from content architecture (how your subject matter is organised between and within pages), navigation structure, spiderability and internal linking strategy may make or break its effectiveness. SEO should be considered as integral part not only of your overall marketing strategy but also your web design strategy.
CLEAN + Website Design + SEO + Copywriting
When CLEAN (www.cleanservices.co.uk) launched their new website a couple of months back it was after a team effort from the outset between CLEAN, their design consultants (www.in2orbit.co.uk), their copywriter (www.copyandconcept.co.uk) and AdJuice. CLEAN are the UK’s leading privately owned laundry group and were granted the Royal Warrant in 2006. Operating from four major linen and workwear cleaning and processing plants, they provide laundry services for hotels, restaurants etc. and workwear services for kitchens, the food processing industry, cleanrooms etc.
Since the new website went live it has attained a greater number (and wider scope) of top 3 rankings in Google and attracted a significantly higher number of visitors. Conversion rate is of course the most important indicator of successful SEO and time will tell whether the combination of website design, copywriting and other SEO factors will fill the coffers.
Why Did Planning SEO From the Start Make a Difference?
1. Switching the main focus of the site to the services provided rather than the sectors served enabled faster communication about what CLEAN are offering and, by the same token, what CLEAN’s target audience are looking for. This means ranking first and foremost for their services and secondly the sectors they are targeting – not the other way round.
2. Simplification of the website and navigation structure, including friendlier urls makes it dead simple for humans and bots (search engine spiders) to find meaningful content about CLEAN’s services.
3. Reducing the number of pages. Hold on, I thought “more content = better”? Not always. More content is usually better so long as it is unique, relevant and about a tightly focussed theme. On the old site quite a few pages had been created with genuine intent to address different market sectors but many of those pages had similar content. By re-organising and rationalising the content down to the pages that really mattered, the site’s link equity is not now being unnecessarily diluted by extraneous pages.
4. Deciding upon keyword targets for each page before the content for the page was finalised so the content could be carefully crafted by the copywriter with those keywords in mind.
5. Optimising content, images and internal linking based on pre-agreed keyword targets.
6. Optimising meta data including page title tags and meta description tags well in advance of publication of the new site.
7. Preparing and agreeing 301 redirects from every page of the old site to the most relevant page of the new site (crucial). I’ve recently witnessed a large, high authority, sector-leading site (PageRank of the home page is 7), lose its rankings, and presumably tonnes of traffic, after a website re-design. Permanent 301 redirects have clearly not been set up between the old site to the new site. As has been said by many SEO’s, it’s the web developers that keep the SEO’s in business! I hasten to add that this is not a client of ours. But perhaps they should be!
There are many more differences between the old and new website which have been key factors in its improved performance but the above may be the most influential factors. Most of the credit for the improvements goes to CLEAN, in2orbit design and Copy and Concept for being on top of most of the important things but we believe having us there at the start of the re-design will make a difference in the long run that will far outweigh the cost of SEO.
If you would like further information about when to start SEO, please contact us for a friendly no obligation discussion.
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