If you get the chance to build your SEO strategy before you build your web site, jump at it. The right foundations make a world of difference.
Please – dedicate some thought to SEO before you build!
The tips I’m going to give you today will enable you to perform search engine optimisation before your new web site is even built!
I touched on the importance of getting SEO right when I blogged about the Commonwealth Bank’s new website launch a few weeks back.
Just as an aside, Liesl and I met with Adam Farraway from the CBA last week in Sydney. Adam kindly took some time out of his day to chat about the article and the bank’s position. It was a very interesting insight into the world of big bank websites!
Back to the topic…
In my experience, SEO is nearly always called in after a website has been built. Soon after launch a website owner gives me a call saying they need their site “search engine optimised”. This usually presents several problems.
- Their directory structure is all over the place (thematically speaking).This is a time consuming problem to fix.
- Usually little or no initial thought has gone into keyword research while the site’s copy is being written.
So let’s start with item 2, your directory structure/sitemap, because fixing the issues in item 1 usually means an expensive re-build!
Every website has some kind of directory structure (unless it’s built using Flash or just a one page website). Draw up your site map with all the likely pages and their content. Do this as logically as possible, so you cater for humans and search engines.
Then for each page you’ve created, perform keyword research to find the most popular keywords and phrases. Download this keyword tool.
Here’s a fantastic example from one of the best optimised websites in the country: www.seeklearning.com.au.
Look at the way the web builder created the directory structure so that’s optimised for “short course”:
As you can see they rank really well! Seriously, this stuff sends a geeky shiver down my spine!
There’s no doubt they were thinking about SEO before (and during) the build. It’s much easier to get this correct at the beginning than to go in and change the structure of your website later.
The benefits are obvious. You get a logical, thematically structured website for humans and search engines which ranks like mad and brings lots of targeted traffic!
When it comes to really competitive key phrases (and all things being equal), Google will rank your site higher than your rivals if you have keywords and phrases in your website’s directory structure. It’s just one of the 120 or so factors Google takes into account when working out who’s going to rank where when someone makes a search.
Get the foundations right from the beginning and you will be rewarded!
Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine optimisation company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.
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Alex White writes: Another informative article highlighting the need for upfront planning, strategy and user experience research. These short and sharp topics are super valuable to companies that take notice of them before they build, although its worth mentioning that if you have already built your site you can use URL renaming tools to tackle this problem (no where near as solid as doing it right the first time…) Looking forward to the next topic!