All too often, we’re approached by business owners who, after recently having launched a new company website, are now looking to do what they call “some SEO.”
But the truth is, search engine optimization shouldn’t be a one-off, after-the-fact strategy. If you want the best results – the most traffic, the most leads and the most sales – then it should actually start very early on … before an inch of your site is designed or even imagined.
If you’re currently designing your company’s website – or redesigning it, for that matter – and you haven’t yet thought about SEO, then stop right where you are. Before you go any further, enlist a search engine optimization pro to help you create an SEO strategy, and have them walk you through how SEO should impact your website design and build.
It might sound a little like putting the cart before the horse, but it’s actually the most effective way to optimize a site. If you start thinking about SEO only after your website is built, it will probably require additional changes – and that means more time and money on your part. For your site to truly do what it needs to do (bring in more clients to your business), SEO needs to be a part of your build from the very beginning.
It all Starts with Keyword Research
Determining your brand’s targeted keywords and phrases is an essential step in understanding your online market. The core idea behind it is this: You identify the words or phrases that are important to your target audience – the ones they will be searching for to find your products, services and brand. These will be the most effective to use throughout your site.
By doing this keyword research early on – before structure, layout, design, content or any other element is executed – you can ensure every inch of your website is fully optimized from top to bottom. The results of the keyword research will be used to:
- Create content that answers your market expectations
- Optimize your web pages, so that they are found when a potential client searches for the services you offer
Specifically, keywords will play a crucial role in your site’s:
First and foremost, your keywords will need to be a huge part of your site’s content. There should be at least a handful on every page, and they should be in your headers, bulleted lists, image captions, forms and more. This will help search engines better understand what your site is about, and it will help you get more visibility from viable potential leads.
The overall structure of your website needs to take into consideration your keywords and SEO goals, too. It will impact the set-up of your pages in few ways, including:
- The way your navigational menus and page hierarchy is built
- The way your individual page web addresses (URLs) are set up
Changes these after the fact – once your site is already built – is much more difficult and time-consuming.
Styling / coding
Your site’s pages will also need to be styled in a certain way, so that your chosen keywords and phrases are correctly understood by search engines. Important, high-level ones should be incorporated into your page headers and labeled with, and tags.
It sounds weird, but your keywords will be worked into your site’s imagery, too. For best results, they should appear in the file name, the image title and the image alt tag. This will help search engines index not just those terms, but it can also get your images included in image search engines, too – and that’s just one more way a potential customer can find you on the web.
Knowing what the image file name should be before actually adding it into your website is the most efficient strategy. Changing the file names after a site is already built can be extremely time-consuming and resource intensive.
If your business is a local business that serves a specific geographic location, there are some aspects of your site that need to be optimized in order to be found by clients in your area. For example: Incorporating your, address, phone number and other local contact data in the footer of each and every page in a text format is an absolute must. This is very easy to achieve when it is taken into account at the beginning, but if you wait until the site is up and live, it can require significant design changes that cost valuable time and money.
Are you looking to design a new site for your company? Don’t do it without first conducting some SEO research first. Your SEO efforts need to be a significant consideration in how your site is both designed and built. Need help? Contact Spot On Digital Marketing today, and we’ll help ensure your new site is optimized from the very beginning.