People tend to solve problems consistently. Therefore, they first make a website and then think about how to promote it. They do the same when redesigning or transferring a resource. What if we tell you that there are ways of doing everything in advance and saving a lot of time for your business? Make sure to read this article till the end to find about the best time-saving small business website tips.
When you realise that something is wrong with the site …
Website development and search engine promotion are most often carried out by different contractors. Even in full-service agencies, development and SEO teams do not always work in a team.
When the site is already up and running, it often turns out that for a successful optimisation, you need to seriously change the structure and functionality. In the meantime, implementing changes cost about the same as re-developing the corresponding parts of the project.
Problems also arise when SEO requirements are not taken into account when redesigning a site or other large-scale changes: changing the structure, CMS, hosting or domain, switching to a secure data transfer protocol (HTTPS).
In such cases, after the publication of changes, traffic can significantly drop. And the business, to begin with, is losing customers and orders that brought referrals from search results. And then spends time and money to restore that traffic.
SEO support solves several important tasks: structure development, comparison of current URLs with new ones, technical optimization.
What to do if the project has already started? Try to provide SEO support before publishing a new site (or rolling out other changes).
At this point, you can still offer a solution that will facilitate subsequent optimisation and reduce the risk of traffic drops.
1. Make a project
Choosing a CMS.
The possibilities of project development depend on which engine the site will run on: scaling sections, developing new functionality, introducing CNC (human-readable URLs), integrating with CRM and other external systems.
To draw up a competent site structure, you need to analyse the current hierarchy of sections and the structure of search demand. If the project is large-scale, then it is advisable to save the URLs of the main sections of the site.
Development of the structure.
The hierarchy of sections should be reflected in the CNC structure, navigation menu and navigation chains (“bread crumbs”). At this stage, you need to consider the possibility of scaling the structure and prepare a file of correspondences between the current and new URLs.
2. Think about the design
In order not to have to adjust the finished design, SEO specialists should participate in the project even at the prototyping stage. Landing page templates need to be analysed according to the following criteria:
A place for the SEO text.
This element of the page is often forgotten, and the optimised content has to be placed directly above the footer and without division into functional blocks. Such layout clearly indicates the SEO origin of the text and can negatively affect the promotion.
Accessibility of the main sections.
The distribution of page weight will depend on the location of links in end-to-end blocks (for example, in the header and footer of the site). It is important that the main promoted sections of the site are “at arm’s length”.
Links to them should be placed as high as possible. Users should be able to navigate to these sections from any page in one click.
The presence of elements on the page that are necessary from the point of view of commercial ranking factors.
For example, you might want to consider the design and placement of product characteristics and stock information in advance – even if these elements will not be published in the first iteration.
3. Pay attention to Development
Comprehensive cross-browser and multi-platform template testing is usually done by developers. Analysis helps to identify errors that went unnoticed.
Analysis of semantic layout.
The sequence and correctness of the tags of the logical formatting of the text (H1-H6 and others), the presence of micro-markup fields are checked.
Back-end Analysis of ways to display content.
Developers sometimes use scripting technologies to display content, which prevents search engines from indexing important sections. You need to make sure your landing pages are accessible to search engine crawlers.
Download speed control.
Website response speed directly affects behavioural characteristics and is one of the significant ranking factors. During the development stage, it is essential to ensure that the pages load as quickly as possible.
Setting goals and reports.
After the development of the functionality has been completed, you can add codes to the pages to track statistics. If analytics systems have been configured before, you need to take care of the consistency of reports.
4. Take care of the content
At this stage, the goal of SEO support is to maintain and increase the effectiveness of the content on the site. The work of SEO specialist is based on materials prepared at the design stage and is carried out in two directions:
The mapping file between current and new URLs.
It is necessary to check if the optimised texts and tags (for example, Title) are preserved on the landing pages. Particular attention should be paid to the sections that rank high in the search and generate the main traffic.
5. Testing is a must-have
After the completion of the development and content work, a full technical analysis of the site should be carried out. The tasks of SEO support include:
Compiling a robots.txt file.
Scanning the site, checking codes, page statuses and eliminating errors associated with incorrect links.
The design of the 404 error page.
According to specialists from an experienced SEO agency in Sydney, this is the most crucial moment. When you publish a site, the following tasks should be performed:
The site is most often published on a server other than the one used during development. When moving files, new errors may occur, so a repeated technical analysis is required.
First of all, the robots.txt settings are checked: sometimes developers save a file that prohibits indexing the entire site.
For all inaccessible old pages, 301 redirects to the new pages or sections relevant to them must be correctly configured.
The possibilities for the development of the site are almost endless, therefore, upon completion of the project, a list of priority tasks is prepared for the next releases. It will save you a lot of time and bring a lot of income. SEO support for development ends at the moment when a plan for further optimisation of the project is created.