There are a lot of promises in the website design and development community about search engine optimization (SEO), but too many of us don’t know enough about it to truly help our clients. What begins as a website redesign turns into an SEO nightmare that reduces traffic generators and, ultimately, increases the need for paid advertising.
As some designers and developers move, eliminate or drastically change search engine-indexed website content, it can destroy online visibility. A lack of presence kills business online. Their lack of knowledge destroys any reasonable chance for success.
If you hire me to redesign your website—and your expectations include improved search engine presence and performance—it better work. If it doesn’t, I’m in trouble.
How can any of us stop ignorant battles for our lion’s share of website redesigns that include SEO? We educate ourselves, only then can we help you. We form partnerships with real SEO experts, not SEO specialists too preoccupied by Google’s new Keyword Planner to guarantee results. Here are three ways I aim for positive SEO results…
1. Perform an SEO audit to fully understand the current website structure.
I once joined an SEO-focused team to redesign a digital marketing firm’s site. We worked on information architecture, usability, wireframes, mockups and initial concepts all the way through to final testing and launch, but we didn’t start with an SEO audit, also known as a content audit. What resulted was a site with hundreds of page errors.
2. Get review and approval buy-in from SEO experts throughout the project.
From choosing phrases that sustain or improve SEO-dependent performance to ensuring web-section wireframes are SEO-friendly, not image heavy or light on content. SEO gives me a firm set of perimeters in which to build more focused web systems.
3. Realize the value of existing structure, links and traffic—and build on that.
Beyond increasing blog posts and reducing location-not-found errors with 30X redirects is the chance to evaluate our client’s existing site. Which web sections perform well? Which inbound links no longer work? We ask these questions. Then we clean things up.
Father of scouting Robert Baden-Powell wrote in his farewell message to be read to his Scouts after his death, “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it.”
That’s a great quote when it comes to website redesign, especially when considering the importance of creating a more trustworthy and transparent SEO-inclusive process.
If you want to learn the basics of search engine optimization for your website redesign, google the search engine-friendly website design guide by George Aspland.