If you have just launched your website or rebuilt an existing one then you will need to ensure it is appealing to the search engines or it is never likely to be found. Too many webmasters treat SEO as an after thought rather than planning it from the start.
By the way it is very easy to spot the sites that included SEO the moment they began planning their website – they are the sites will lots of traffic ranking at the top of Google.
But why is it important to include SEO from the very start? Often websites that have had SEO applied after they have been published have a tendency to rank poorly with the likes of Google, especially if that SEO has come as an after-thought rather than a carefully thought out strategy.
If you are busy building or rebuilding a website, there are many reasons why you need to think about SEO from the very start, especially since SEO is often considered to be an undervalued marketing tool.
Your first consideration should be your CMS or content management system. There are many to choose from, each with they’re own advantages and disadvantages. It may take some trial and error to find the right one for your needs, but if you consider SEO at the same time as choosing your CMS then you can reduce the chances of discovering nasty surprises like 404 pages, lots of duplicate content and issues with 301 redirects.
Next up think about your website navigation and your site structure. This makes a big difference to how search engines crawl your site and also how visitors find what they are looking for. Each page on your website needs to link together in an effective and logical way, and best practice is to ensure visitors never have to click more than three pages deep to find what they want. Once your website is live, changing your navigation for SEO purposes can be very difficult.
Even with a great CMS, good content and navigation and a nice, pleasing design, it may still be difficult for search engines to access your site. So you will need to make sure your website is accessible. Things like flash images, which look great, can hamper the way a search engine reads your site and it is always better to avoid these kinds of issues at the design stage rather than after it is published.
Do your keyword research before your site goes live and not afterwards. Once your site is launched it usually means everything on it has been determined. It can be harder to optimize pages once they are live trying to fit keywords around what is already there. It is to your advantage to do your keyword research in the planning stages and build your pages around it. This should ensure your categories are named correctly and that keywords are included in your product or service descriptions.
In essence planning your website around your SEO when building it can help you avoid many of the technical issues your competitors could be suffering from. It will also put you in the position of being able to get on with link building and generating traffic rather than sorting out annoying bugs and trying to implement your SEO at the same time.