Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a critical part of your website planning. It helps your website to be more visible to search engines, it helps visitors to navigate your site more easily and it gives you a competitive advantage. The question is: do you build SEO in when you’re designing your website, or is it part of maintaining websites and online presence?

The quick answer is that you should do both. There are areas of SEO that need focus and attention when you are building and populating your website, and once your site is live, you should have a clear SEO strategy for new pages and posts. Here’s our quick website management guide to essential SEO.

Things to consider when building your site

If you are using a developer to build your site, they should talk to you about SEO before they get started. The most important elements to consider during the website build process are:

Navigation and structure – give some thought to what the most important pages will be on your site and make sure they are near the top of your website structure. Most designers and developers start with a site map – a tree diagram that shows the hierarchy of your pages. Making sure that the information that’s most important to your business are on the upper levels demonstrates to search engines that these are the areas you are serious about.

Know your keywords – search engines match user queries with the most relevant content. So it makes sense for you to do some detailed keyword research to understand what your target customers are searching for. Look for keywords that apply across your business, and consider ‘long-tail’ keywords – longer queries or sentences that might narrow the number of searches but ensures that you are tapping into the right audience. Once you’ve got your keyword list, make sure you use the keywords in your titles, meta data, image captions and general content – without over-doing it.

Responsive design – a good web management service or web development agency will make sure that your website is mobile responsive and loads quickly. These are things that search engines are favourable to – particularly Google. Sites that are not mobile responsive are penalised by Google, and slow-loading sites also suffer. So make sure that your development prioritises speedy loading and a mobile-friendly design.

Things you can do after launch

Of course, once your website has launched, you’re going to want to update it and add to it. If your site has been set up well, then you can add to it easily – either by yourself, or using an outsource web management service – and you can then make sure that your new page or blog article is following the key SEO principles:

  • Include relevant keywords in titles, content, captions and meta data
  • Ensure the page is sitting in the right part of the website
  • Ensure content is long enough to have an impact – at least 400 words is advisable

You may also want to revise or remove pages on your website as your business changes. Again, as long as your original development is good, you or your virtual website assistant will be able to add a new page or revise the content on an existing page. At this point, you can change keywords and update images – but remember that it may take a little while for Google and other search engines to re-index your site and add it to search results.

So, you can see that SEO is important both in building and maintaining websites. Make sure it’s a key part of your development process and of your ongoing website maintenance and updates. And if you’re short on time  and need help with managing your website management, feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.

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