5 Steps to Optimizing a Website from the Start – SEO During Website Development

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Many times, clients ask, “When should we begin optimization of the site?” The answer—Immediately, during the development phase before the groundwork has even been laid for the site. When the website is being built is when the SEO efforts should begin, and by adding in the search engine optimization efforts while a website is being developed future SEO efforts will fall right into place.

First and foremost, keyword research is of utmost importance. Keyword research, when conducted prior to building a website can offer a helping hand in the layout, structure and building process. For instance, once you have determined the most profitable keywords to begin trying to rank a site for, you can then focus website development efforts around those terms. From there, navigation and various site pages can be tailored to specific keywords.

Structure of URLs is another place of importance. If keyword research is performed prior to building the website, the keywords can be used to maximize SEO efforts down the line. URLs can be structured to target keywords from the start rather than being forced to use additional steps in the future to increase these SEO efforts.

Content is king! Everyone has heard that before, but assuring that the content is relative to the site and focuses on the keywords is prime market for SEO. Applying the keywords that are researched before the site is being built allows for optimal content writing, placement and structure during site development. The search engines have to have content to read in order to rank a site and adding in appropriate places for content during site development is yet another way that later time and efforts can be saved and applied elsewhere.

Meta tags are a vital piece of the SEO puzzle. While developing a website, placing the appropriate meta info onto every page allows both users and the search engines to understand the topic of each page. Title tags let visitors know what a page is about before they every even click on the page in the search engine and additional meta tags can help to maximize search engine optimization efforts bringing a website to the top of the search engines more quickly from the start.

Finally, when developing and building a website, it’s best to determine which added features or design elements are most important to you from the start. For instance, if you think you may want to add a blog to the site in the future, the best time to get that set up is when the developers are already working on the site construction. This way the blog can be formatted directly into the site rather than having to pay to have this done as an additional step later on. Other design elements that you may want to think about before the site construction is complete and to maximize SEO efforts include various widgets and images that are to be used and how to incorporate the best design elements into the site without slowing page load times. (Remember that users and search engines do not enjoy waiting for a page to load!)

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