Last week I wrote a dutch blogpost regarding the implementation of SEO in a project. I promised several English colleagues to make the content available in English on my own blog.
The decision has been made: a new website is being launched! The new website is either replacing an existing website or built from scratch for a new domain. Either way both projects share similarities during the process and have the same goal: Go Live. When the new website is finally operating bug-free, the serenity seems to be reinstated. Unfortunately not for long. As soon as the organization starts searching on Google they realize that their brand is no longer represented in the top searches. So what went wrong? Implementing a Webanalytics tool confirms earlier assumptions, organic traffic has dropped to 5% having the company lose profitable traffic.
This case is a clear example of a project where no SEO knowledge was involved. SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is the art of optimizing websites so they are indexed effectively in search engine results, targeting the best keywords. With the right approach in SEO, profit can not only be found in increasing organic traffic but also leads, conversions and eventually sales.
So where did the project go wrong? – Precisely at the point where the project was initiated and there was no proper SEO knowledge involved in the development phase. Decisions made in the architecture of the website created several obstacles for the indexation process of search engines and no requirements could be brought in during the process.
After consulting an expert the organization gained a clear picture on what went wrong, forcing them to make significant costs afterwards to fix the structural obstacles. Once repaired, it will still take a very long while before the entire website is re-indexed by search engines and all changes have been processed in the search engine results.
Two particular cases can be identified where these issues often arise and where early SEO adoption is essential in the process.
- Launching on a new domain: In this situation the website does not yet exist in the search engines and it developed from scratch. Because the architecture is developed without any reference to an existing structure, it’s essential to involve the view of a SEO during the development. The same view is also required regarding the content of the website to establish clear content guidelines. This way the website will be able develop itself towards the targeted search results and is able to establish a relevant linkprofile (number/quality links from other domains).
- Website Migration: The website is already active within the search engine results. This situation describes a website which is either being replaced or moved, where the website has already developed a linkprofile. A SEO (migration) strategy would in this situation be mandatory to avoid a break-down of the linkprofile and continue to posses the current positions within the search results.
So always make sure SEO is involved in the early stages of a web-development project. This way the performance of the website can be/remain optimized and any extra expenses afterwards can be avoided. Which opportunities do you see to adopt SEO in an early stage in the process.