from Corey Morris, emfluence Search Engine Marketing Strategist
How frustrating is it to see clients and colleagues miss opportunities? Answer: Not nearly as frustrating as seeing mistakes made that penalize website rankings over time.
As an SEO, I pride myself in being able to join a project at any point and welcome new challenges. But, there’s no doubt that being on a project from the beginning produces the best search engine optimization results. Here are three reasons why you should involve your search marketing team from the very beginning of your site design.
Reason 1 to involve your SEO team from the beginning: Usability
Much of the advice you receive from your SEO team involves action items catering to search engine robots. But don’t be fooled: the search team does really care about the human site visitors. The ultimate goal of your search marketing efforts should be conversions. While ensuring search engines rank your content well enough to send quality traffic to the site, conversion is the ultimate goal. Involving the SEO team early allows them to meet with all stakeholders from the management team to the creative and development teams. This is a crucial time for SEOs to ask questions and determine the objectives from all of the stakeholders. While it might be clear what the primary conversion metric is (impressions, leads, or sales), the SEO team needs to know what secondary objectives are desired. And they’ll also want to know what offline marketing and branding is planned so the site and any digital effort (email or social campaigns) align with.
SEO’s love the creative teams. We want to hear from them on their site design ideas, and in exchange we need for them to understand what is best for the user, the search engine, and the business. The alternative to not involving search from the beginning is that some design comps have to go back to the drawing board. I’ve never met a creative person who wants to do their work over again.
Reason 2 to involve your SEO team from the beginning: Understanding
Rather than handing off completed and approved concepts, wireframes, developing sites, or even published sites to an SEO team and to tell them to get to work, bring them in during the early stages so that the whole process of optimization can be a learning experience for all. There’s no black box or special tricks up the sleeves of white hat SEOs. Buy-in and understanding by all stakeholders is critical to the success of optimizing a site. Working with the management, marketing, creative, and development teams as they design and implement can go a long way toward fostering communication and allowing for everyone to be on the same page. This way, all teams can understand why site navigation needs to work a certain way or why AJAX everywhere isn’t the best idea. It’s definitely best to share this understanding before any work is done.
Reason 3 to involve your SEO team from the beginning: Savings
Cost and time efficiency is essential for all teams involved in a website launch. While it might be tempting to bid and budget for SEO services post-launch, this almost always drives up costs. The SEO team is likely to have to ask for revisions to ensure proper design, coding, and other elements to fully optimize the site. Let’s not forget 301 redirects, either, which preserve the existing website ranking presence. Without them, a website relaunch turns into an SEO restart….as in, restart from 0. 301 redirects can’t be fixed or undone retroactively, no matter how talented your development and SEO teams are.
Whenever you start considering your website relaunch, be sure to include all your stakeholders from day 1, and be sure that includes a seat for SEO.