Include SEO Early & Often in Your Web Projects

Use SEO early & often. Don’t make search engine optimization a discrete step in your project cycle.

SEO project milestone

SEO: Not a Project Milestone

Within a project, reaching a milestone means you finished an important and related group of tasks.  Too often businesses isolate SEO as a separate project milestone, usually close to the end. Their project plan might look like this:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Design
  3. Content
  4. SEO
  5. Publish

Or worse, it might look like:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Design
  3. Content
  4. Publish
  5. SEO

Don’t do this! Don’t put search engine optimization in a box. That’s how bad things happen.

  • In the example above, the people who work on the the brainstorm, design, content and publish aspects will come to perceive the SEO team as the enemy, the voice that criticizes all of their work and tosses wrenches into their gears, not as collaborators.
  • You will not get the results you wanted or could have had.

Here is another example, a request very similar to one I recently received.

XYZ is launching a new widget. Please send ## keywords for them to track.

In this example the widget could be anything…a new website or page, a series of blog articles, a product feed, a Google Places; anything else one might optimize. The point is that their widget is launching before XYZ’s Internet Marketing Company or SEO strategist ever sees it.  Whatever the widget is

  • No keywords were selected
  • Text was not optimized for search engine optimization
  • No one checked for technical issues or search spider compatibility
  • No one checked for SEO specific errors like duplicate content
  • No one checked to see if the new stuff will remove or compete with SEO optimization targets already in place

How can a business track SEO results if no search engine optimization was performed?

Include and Implement SEO the Right Way

Use search engine optimization throughout your project, no matter how large or small. Let’s say you are building a new website:

  1. Identify the purpose and general goals of the website ->
    Identify the search queries people use to find the products and services you deliver
  2. Choose the pages that will be on the website -> Select target keywords and assign each to a page
  3. Site architecture -> Identify SEO content silos and internal link guidelines
  4. Web page template design -> Make sure templates contain SEO signals, place them  where they belong and avoid negative SEO signals like cloaking
  5. Content plan -> Long tail keyword selection, internal link support for SEO target pages, expanding SEO content silos, link building plan via link worthy content
  6. Copywriting -> Optimize copy for target keywords
  7. Image selection -> Assign image alt text
  8. Web server and Content Management System selection and set-up -> Optimize for technical SEO signals like speed and lower-case URLs
  9. Public Relations and Promotion – Link building and external link anchor text

Every milestone of every web based project can benefit from SEO research, planning or implementation. Give your project plan or outline to your SEO agency, consultant or strategist well before kick-off. Ask him or her to recommend what SEO tasks should accompany or come before each project milestone. You will enhance collaboration, avoid surprises and achieve better results.

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