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by Lucy Griffiths on 22nd April 2009
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important tools for businesses aiming to target customers on the Internet. It is part of an integrated package of Internet or online marketing activities that can massively increase the traffic to your website.
However, when most people design and build a website, SEO becomes an afterthought. When you have cold feet, putting your socks on over your shoes means you’re wearing shoes and socks, but something tells me it’s not the best way to do it.
Search engine optimisation and your online marketing strategies must be part of the initial planning of your website. Because too many people are willing to employ a web designer (many of whom have zero SEO knowledge) without fully understanding their marketing goals or the needs that their website will have. This means you can end up with a well designed website that isn’t fit for purpose.
It’s common for people to try to ignore the problem, to carry on and make small amendments as they go, but without ever making the most of their site. But let’s make one thing clear. Without effective SEO, you can kiss goodbye to your long-term success on the Internet, because you might be lucky now, but eventually, all of your competitors are going to get their SEO and online marketing in order and you will disappear so far down Google’s listings, no one will find your business.
Bringing in SEO experts before the design is the only way to do it, so that means discussing your business, its needs and marketing goals before the designer is even consulted. Your SEO experts should conduct their keyword research before any initial designs. Why? Because SEO should be wholly integrated in your site to get the most from it. And it’s a simple choice. Is your website just a big expensive billboard lost in the dusty wilderness of cyberspace. Or is it a way to increase revenue and build your business? The choice is yours, but SEO must not be an afterthought.
CMS systems help to create some very pretty websites; they’re easy to use and so people concentrate on the ease of creation, but so many of them are practically useless for marketing purposes, they become ineffective by not building SEO into the design.
So stop, before you spend time and money designing a website for your business that no one can find! Think it through. The way that potential customers find you is as important (if not more)as the aesthetic design of your site.
Most people just want to throw up a site because everyone else has one. But this ‘keeping up with the Jones and Co.’ mentality is what pushes people to build sites with no knowledge of how to get people to visit it. Imagine opening up a big restaurant in the middle of nowhere but failing to advertise your business or put up signs so that people could find you; that’s what putting the cart before the horse with SEO is like. SEO needs to come first if you want your business to succeed online.
If you’re planning a website and quite like the idea of people being able to find it, read more about our professional SEO services.