Did you know that the vast majority of website traffic actually comes from organic search engine results?
A 2019 study from BrightEdge found that 53 percent of all trackable website traffic comes from an organic search. In order to rank high on search results for Google, Bing, or other search engines, it’s crucial to build a website with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. Effective SEO requires customization, research, and quality content — and often, a lot of time and expertise. How can you be sure your new website SEO meets the latest standards? Your best bet is to have an SEO expert on your project team.
Get It Right the First Time
If you are considering website redevelopment, we recommend adding an SEO expert right from the start to ensure you get it right the first time — and save yourself time, money, and headache. The best way to launch a website is to have all the pieces in place before launch.
Website design/development and SEO go hand-in-hand. The sooner the two are connected, the more optimal and streamlined the process can be, which is why we suggest having an SEO professional at the table as a part of your website redevelopment project team.
How can you ensure your team is developing an SEO-friendly website? In this blog, we go through:
How to find a trusted SEO expert, common SEO mistakes to watch out for, and a sample SEO process we recommend to ensure your website is optimized.
Trust the SEO Experts
Who exactly is an SEO expert? An SEO expert is someone who has both been trained to improve your visibility on search engines and has implemented these skills on multiple websites over years of practice. They do this by reviewing your site’s content and structure, and from there, offer both technical and on-page advice for website development, content development, user intent… and so much more.
There are many technical elements that go into SEO (hundreds actually), but at its core, SEO is simply good marketing applied online. That’s why it’s so important to have an expert helping you create a strong SEO plan that focuses on building a technically sound, user-friendly website with quality content to engage your online audience.
Too often we see clients come to us with a mess that needs fixing; they have often been promised a “search engine friendly website” by a web developer, which is usually just the bare minimum — the website is free of technical barriers and can be crawled (found) by Google. That’s fine, but if there hasn’t been any customization of content or research about the client’s specific needs, there is a lot being left out. We see clients who were told (usually in a proposal) that their SEO would be taken care of but in many cases, they were left short, making for some serious cleanup and/or improvement work post-launch.
This is why we stress the importance of having an actual SEO expert at the table, meeting with the client and getting to know their business, and working to ensure their website hits all the targets.
“Building a website is like planning a party and having good SEO is like sending out the invites — too often people invest so much in planning the party (building their site) they forget to send the invites (optimize their SEO)!”
This is a perfect analogy from Bluetrain’s Founder Bryan Smith, and exemplifies why SEO is so important; if website owners are going through all the trouble to make their perfect website, it’s not much good if people don’t know about it!
Find the Right Fit
Here’s some advice to help you hire a true SEO professional (and prevent you from hiring a bad SEO) to save you time and money (and possible shady or underwhelming practices)!
Google recommends some great questions to help you hire a professional SEO:
- Conduct a two-way interview with your potential SEO and make sure they seem genuinely interested in your business.
- A good SEO will be interested in helping your business overall. They will be asking questions to get to know your business’s goals, customers, and marketing efforts.
- Have some questions ready to ask:
- What are your most important SEO steps in site development?
- Can you show me examples of your deliverables and share some success stories?
- Do you follow Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
- What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe?
Find a full list of questions here
- Check their references.
- If your potential SEO provides references from past clients (and they should!), be sure to check those out.
Know What To Look For
It helps to know what to look out for — sometimes web developers/designers are missing out on some key understanding or perspective that an SEO professional might bring. Here are a few common areas where SEO might be overlooked:
- No actual research or customization of site structure or on-page content.
- Without these specifics being tailored to your site’s needs and user intent, a technically sound site still is not going to perform. Content is still Google’s top-ranking factor!
- Underestimating the value/equity of the old version of the website (during a redesign).
- Too often we get calls when companies see the performance drop with the launch of a newly developed website because their developer did not implement permanent redirects (from old to new) after changing the URL structure.
- Often — in an effort to streamline or simplify — valuable pages and content are cut out without ever researching the data. This often fails to realize the content’s importance in driving organic search traffic and/or conversion and can greatly impact both rankings and results.
- Trusting that SEO will be built-in by the website platform/builder.
- Website builders like Wix or Squarespace claim to offer out-of-the-box SEO but this is rarely the case. Even if the website is technically sound, if no effort has been made to do custom optimization of the content, then the site is not optimized.
What an SEO Process Brings to the Table
Having an SEO expert involved is like an insurance policy for your site. At Bluetrain for example, we partner with top web developers to help our clients build websites that are beautifully designed, search-friendly, and provide an optimal user experience. How do we do it? Here’s a quick run-down of the common phases by an SEO Specialist during a site development project:
- We begin with a discovery, which is basically a deep dive into what the company is about (ex. why it exists, ideal customers, offers, etc) and what the website needs to accomplish (ex. what will success look like, key outcomes for a site user).
- We look at the ideal structure of your site or the sitemap, including an analysis of current site data, keyword research, competitor analysis, and drafting of an initial site map.
- SEO consultation on the design and development of your site, including feedback on wireframes/mockups, technical SEO input on the development site, review of core web vitals, redirect planning, and much more.
- Because quality content is essential for SEO success, we focus on content creation and on-page optimization. Our SEO specialists implement best practices to ensure your web content is visible to search engines, and relevant audiences searching queries relating to your business.
- We take a proactive approach to reports and analytics ensuring the latest version of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager is implemented across the website to track key actions and conversion goals. Lastly, we build custom dashboard reports using Google Data Studio to have visibility of the post-launch performance.
- Lastly, we perform a post-launch check to ensure everything is running smoothly after the site launch and search engines are properly indexing the pages.
Send Out Those Invites!
It’s important to understand that all of the optimizations that goes into your website is built into the site itself. Often, SEO is misunderstood and thought of as a simple “add-on” that can be included after the website has been up and running for a while — but that’s not the case! Otherwise, websites that launch without SEO need to be torn apart and put back together again (ex. if the site structure is wrong or multiple technical issues), which usually means a big mess to clean up.
From our perspective, it’s easier to do it right the first time, and it makes sense for a company’s investment too!We are here to consult on your website build or redesign. Get in touch with us to start developing your site and creating an effective SEO strategy. Or, if you think your website could be optimized, let’s start with an SEO audit to check up on performance.