Building a website or changing platforms involves plenty of moving parts. One crucial step is setting the site up for success in search engines.
But after their new website goes live, some brands make a costly mistake – neglecting to develop an ongoing SEO strategy.
“We integrated SEO into our site during development, so we don’t need an ongoing program” is a common misconception.
They assume the initial setup was enough and rely on the content or social media team to handle the rest. However, this approach is similar to having a new lawn.
While it may look great initially, it will gradually lose its appeal without regular maintenance like mowing and fertilizing. Moreover, if your neighbor (i.e., a competitor) tends to their lawn properly, it will look even better.
This article breaks down some key steps during the website development (or replatform) phase and why the SEO process needs to be ongoing.
SEO during website development/redesign
Prior to building or redesigning your website, ensure that your SEO fundamentals are set up.
Below are critical steps to prioritize.
Building the site structure
During this project phase, ensure the website’s architecture is aligned with the business strategy.
Let’s say you sell “jeans” but the marketing director prefers to call it “denim.” In this case, discuss and make decisions based on keyword research.
Not every aspect of the business can be highlighted in the top navigation, so it’s crucial to have a strategic and data-driven conversation about what is important.
Technical best practices
During this phase, ensure that everything is properly set up and search engines can easily locate your content. This involves implementing redirects, 404 pages, and canonical tags.
Neglecting these aspects can result in search engine blockages or significant traffic gaps when large pages are not redirected.
Content creation and migration
In this step, ensure you have appropriate content for the new site. For redesigns, plan for any existing content you want to keep.
Create a content/URL map to organize this. Similarly, address inbound links to ensure they direct to the correct location and remain relevant.
Remember, content remains crucial, even in an AI-driven world.
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Ongoing SEO activities
Fresh and relevant content
Your site needs to stay current and relevant. You should write new blogs and evergreen content that reflects your current customer demand.
This could be as simple as creating and updating a FAQ page as new questions are asked. Relevant and consumer-focused content is crucial for success.
Even if you try to stay on top of every change on your website, things can still break without your knowledge.
Conducting a monthly or quarterly technical site audit helps you step back and identify any changes requiring cleanup.
Building a strong site is great, but don’t forget about the value of how the rest of the internet views your site.
This is often best measured by your inbound links and link quality. Your link profile is always changing and should be worked on consistently to maximize offsite promotion opportunities.
Don’t stop your SEO efforts after launch
You might think that if your website doesn’t change much and you already have a good ranking, you don’t need to worry about ongoing SEO. However, that’s a surefire way to be outperformed in the market.
Even if your business remains the same, the environment around you is dynamic, with constant changes.
Competitors are always striving to surpass you.
Search engines continuously evolve, introducing new algorithms and features to deliver accurate results and stay up-to-date with technology.
This is especially relevant with the current introduction and testing of generative AI without clear expectations of its impact.
The best approach is to test and comprehend how these changes affect your business. Slowing down between launches or redesigns will put you at a disadvantage.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.