There are a lot of great debates out there:
- Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies or Star Crunch?
- Stadium mustard or Bertman Ball Park mustard? (Both Cleveland, Ohio favorites)
- Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold or Jackie O’s Firefly Amber Ale?
All of the options listed above merit extensive discussion, and one could argue that you can’t lose no matter which side you choose.
However, in internet marketing a common debate with some real consequences centers around when to start conducting SEO – before or after a website redesign project.
I’m of the belief for implementing SEO and a website design concurrently, so allow me to make a case for it.
Why to Do SEO and a Website Redesign at the Same Time
The key stages of a website redesign benefit tremendously from having a discussion around SEO. These are:
- Strategic Planning (Discovery, Research and Goals)
- You would essentially have the same meeting to discuss the approach for SEO along with redesign details. Your SEO guru would also be able to bring keyword research (pulled directly from Google) to the meeting to supplement the other research (users/focus groups/key internal departments) that you are utilizing.
- This keyword research can be critical in identifying opportunities in other phases of the website redesign project which are highlighted below.
- Website Architecture
- The way your pages are linked and structured within your website can have a huge impact on how they rank in search engines. In a typical retainer engagement, our team dedicates a tremendous amount of time to doing interlinking research and making recommendations based off of where you rank for terms.
- Reviewing and presenting research from Google Analytics for the current iteration of the site in this stage can also help. In my experience, this is not incorporated into a traditional website redesign project.
- Things that we look at include:
- Top viewed pages
- Top landing pages
- Behavior flow charts
- Low traffic pages (eliminating these can consolidate your website in the eyes of Google, which they value)
- Content Creation and Modification
- This is where you can strategically introduce keywords into existing content to bolster their presence in search engines.
- Keyword research can also help shape your post-launch content strategy.
- Site Launch (301 Redirects)
- One of the biggest mistakes that companies typically make when they launch their new website is not properly redirecting the old website. If this isn’t done correctly, you could lose a significant amount of search engine traffic and link equity acquired from your previous website.
- When done properly, each URL on your website is redirected to a relevant corresponding page.
- It’s critical to review the Google Search Console once the new site is live (review to be done at 1-,2- and 3-weeks after) to assure that everything has been redirected properly.
Redesigning your website can be a very intense and stressful project. I always view it as a marketing campaign. You have specific goals in the campaign and usually they are to out-perform the old iteration of the website. It’s my opinion that you can maximize your success when redesigning your website by incorporating SEO into the redesign process.
And while you don’t need the SEO guy to maximize your life choices, I highly recommend the Star Crunch, Stadium Mustard, and Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. You get bonus points for putting them down in one sitting.
For any more questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.