Updated: May 12, 2020
Your website looks perfect; it has an aesthetically appealing design, compelling content, and smooth navigation. So, are you ready for the big launch?
Not quite! How about SEO optimization? As impressive as your website is, it will succeed only if it gets noticed by search engines like Google, which will ultimately drive real, organic traffic your way. And for this to happen, you must have good SEO right from the beginning.
What happens if you do not consider SEO before the website launch?
Surprisingly, most people assume that they can first launch their website and worry about SEO later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way! Altering an existing website design to comply with SEO expectations is often time-consuming, expensive, and counter-productive. If your design fails to deliver, you may end up needing massive updates or worse, having to rebuild the entire website. But pay attention to SEO during the design phase itself and your website will be set up for success from day one! From an SEO perspective, you must handle certain aspects upfront. Let us look at what these factors are and analyze why they are critical fora website’s long-term success.
# Reason 1: To cover everything that happens behind the scenes
When we talk about SEO, we naturally think of the content. But great content isn’t enough to make your way up search engine results. Recent statistics suggest that 61% of marketers consider improving SEO as their top inbound marketing priority. (Ref: https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/seo-statistics) This means that the competition is huge, and you must have a comprehensive SEO strategy to gain an advantage over your peers. So, you must fine-tune the technical aspects of your website to give your content the boost it needs. This involves the following:
Choosing between HTTP and HTTPS Search engines prefer the additional security of the HTTPS protocol over HTTP. So, we recommend running your website on HTTPS, especially if it has a payment option. This will prevent Google from showing security warning messages to visitors who click on your website link.
Using the canonical version of URLs Explicitly tell search engines which URLs are representative (or canonical) of your website. Consistently use the same URL format for all your internal links across the site. This will ensure that the search engines make the most of your site by crawling the same URL every time.
Improved Site Speed Visitors bounce off sites that take more than few seconds to load. So, site speed is an essential SEO criterion to consider. Plugins like the Hummingbird (Ref: https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/wp-hummingbird/) will help you fix various factors that can affect loading time across devices.
Language and Locations You may have to perform localized keyword research and use separate domains if you target users from different geographies. Organize the site structure and tailor your URLs and content for your intended audience to improve traffic and in turn, conversions. Find more about how to do this here. (Ref: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/international-seo-best-practices/252015/)
Ease of editing and flexibility in a platform Even if you build your website with good SEO, your job is not complete. Search engine algorithms undergo frequent updates, and you will have to make changes to keep up with their changing requirements. Choose a good website builder that can handle these updates when needed.
Updating Sitemap and robots.txt To help search engines index your website quickly and easily, submit your recent sitemap and robots.txt. This will direct search engines to crawl the optimized pages on your website and stay off those that are not yet ready.
Fixing Viewport Viewport refers to the visible area of a website on a device. Configure Viewport for your website to improve its mobile-friendliness, so users can view it easily on their handheld devices.
# Reason 2: To improve User Experience — An integral facet of good SEO
The main aim of SEO is to improve the User Experience. Hence, you should integrate SEO with user experience factors to boost your website effectiveness. Here are the steps to achieving it:
Optimized site architecture and internal linking Visitors always prefer websites with simple navigation structures and organized layouts. So, arrange your pages in such a way that it is easy to locate important information. Place internal links strategically and ensure that there are menu labels to direct visitors to their preferred destinations.
Responsive Design and mobile usability In 2018, mobile devices made up 42% of the total time spent online. (Ref: https://www.stonetemple.com/mobile-vs-desktop-usage-study/). With more people accessing the internet on their mobile devices, you cannot overlook the importance of having a responsive website that is both desktop and mobile-friendly. Aim to deliver a seamless user experience across devices for better user engagement.
# Reason 3: SEO maximization by covering all related details
Apart from the technical and UX areas, your SEO strategy should follow the best practices in the following areas.
Keywords, URL, Page Title, Meta Description Targeted keywords are indispensable to the success of any website. Improve your chances of getting noticed by identifying niche keywords and optimizing your website copy for it. Also follow SEO best practices to generate good website URLs, attractive page titles, and meta-data.
Image optimization Make your website and copy more appealing by including relevant and engaging images for each web page, with suitable Alt texts.
Page crawl depth For smooth website navigation, it is necessary that all your internal links are not more than 3 clicks away from the Home Page.
Low text to HTML ratio Maintain a ratio of 25 to 75% of the visible text to HTML elements like image tags and other information. This will make it seem like your website is built for people and not robots.
Minimal Flash content/Frames used Use minimal flash elements and HTML frames as they can block content from being crawled. Always support flash content and frames with suitable text for better SEO.
Fix any broken Links Broken links hurt your website credibility, conversions, and search engine rankings. So, verify all outbound links and fix any dead links before your website launch.
Once all these SEO strategies are in place, you’re almost ready to go live. All that’s left now is to generate public interest in your website before the launch. You can do this by
Building out all your social media profiles
Signing up for core sites (Google Search Console, GMB, Yelp, Bing Places)
Signing up for niche directories
You should now have understood the importance of SEO during the design phase and why you should handle it before the launch. So, tell me, which of these SEO aspects have you already covered? Or is there anything that you have incorporated, but I have missed it? Do let me know by dropping your comment below, right away.