Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is usually an afterthought once a website has been created. This is, however, a bit like implementing an advertising campaign before creating a marketing strategy.
SEO now covers a huge range of business areas and shouldn’t just be siloed to one particular team, such as Marketing or IT. For the greatest chance of success, it’s important that the whole organisation is on board with the idea of SEO and Authority Building – including those at the highest level of management.
To give a brief example of this, an SEO campaign features Technical, Conversion Optimisation, Content and Authority Building. Technical SEO would largely be relevant to an IT or web development team. However, the content side is more suited to a product specialist team, while optimising for conversions is much more suited to a brand and marketing team with conversion rate optimisation knowledge. A campaign that lacks cooperation between teams is much less likely to succeed.
Make sure the site is designed to enhance your product or service and that it is easy to use. With this in mind, every internal team should have their say in the website build. This post breaks down the requirements for key components of a business; all areas of the business should be involved in each component, from customer acquisition and retention to service delivery.
CEO, Owners & Directors
It’s more than likely that a new website will be created to become the primary customer facing asset that your business owns. In order for the website to be successful, top-level management and their investors need to understand this and be willing to invest in making the site competitive within the relevant industry.
Find out what content your product teams can provide for each good or service, as well as any limitations they have in terms of time, knowledge or resources. Are they the best people to sell your products/services through text, images and videos? Are you going to need professional external assistance? Without knowing what content you can provide, you cannot adequately create a new website that will feature this highly important information.
Customer Retention & Service Delivery
Now is the best time to ask the following questions: Is there any functionality we could provide to make our product/service better? Could the support section be developed to be more helpful? Could we communicate more effectively with customers and provide them with better information regarding delivery tracking, returns or loyalty rewards? A good website is a fantastic opportunity to create barriers to entry for competitors!
Marketing & Branding Team
Use the expertise of your marketing team to work with the information provided by the product team and the ambitions of management to create a site that works for your target audience. The design should reflect your brand and the usability of the site should be suitable for the ability of web users for your product or service. This would also be a great time to consider how the website and brand online will be supported once it’s live. Will you utilise social media, what sort of content will your organisation produce and how will you try to build a community for your brand to create that competitive edge?
IT & Web Development Teams
The ideas then need to be presented to the IT & Web Development team to see what’s within the realm of their skills and capabilities. Is it necessary to bring in additional skills? Can the site be updated easily by the people that need to make changes?
Bringing it Together with SEO
Combining this internal knowledge with expert knowledge of SEO and CRO means that your site can hit the ground running from day one and has a significantly greater chance of achieving the growth that you desire. Good SEO can fine-tune the conversion process, ensure that the site is compliant with search engine practices, and help target keywords that are right for your audience.
How Early SEO Can Make the Difference
Many businesses may question why SEO should be started for a site that doesn’t even exist yet. A lot of people take this view based on old SEO techniques, where the main focus was on building links to pages. Whilst this is still important, so much more now needs to be addressed to make a successful website.
Your business can save a huge amount of time and money by getting things right from the start. The SEO campaign, which should be as strong as possible, provides an opportunity you may not get again until the next website redesign.
With good SEO the following areas will be addressed before the initial design:
- Have a strong internal linking structure & adequate internal links
- Provide a search engine friendly URL structure
- Reduce & eliminate Internal Duplication
- Ensure compatibility over multiple devices – laptops, tablets & mobiles
- A simple URL mapping process from any previous websites
- Call to actions, quick & easy conversion process
- Trust Signals across the site
- Content Levels
- Begin building web authority for the site
I’ve personally had a lot of experience working with new websites and I often find that they have been designed without analysing any of the areas listed above prior to setting the site live. The amount of time, money and resources spent to retrospectively resolve issues – such as poor layout, internal duplication and mapping the previous website – cause large development bills and frustration. To sum up, trying to fix a site to make it easy and straightforward for the user can be very costly and rarely results in a site as good as one that’s well designed from the start.
Save your business a fortune by implementing SEO from the initial site design process!
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this in more detail, you can reach me at @JamesaChallis