When should you as a business owner or marketing manager involve SEO in your marketing efforts?
This may seem like a simple question but there is often a lot of confusion around where SEO should fit into the marketing process. There are a couple of instances where SEO involvement is vital and can actually save thousands in budget down the line.
1. When planning a new website
If you are in the process or redesigning and rebuilding your website, you should reach out and include your SEO agency in this process, as early as possible. The sooner you have an SEO specialist involved the better and there are a number of things that a good SEO specialist will guide you upon.
Your SEO agency will give you detailed insights on the best structure for your site as well as the hierarchy of your pages and where various content themes should be grouped together. This is vital to ensure that your site launches with the best possible chance of performing well, in the search engines.
Keyword Maps & Onsite Optimisation
Why pay to have this important work implemented twice. If you bring your SEO agency early enough they can ensure that you have the information needed to pass onto your developer to include in the website build. Things to ask for: Ask your SEO agency to supply you with detailed keyword maps for each page on your new site. These keyword maps should include all your metadata (Page Titles & Meta Descriptions) as well as all other onsite factors such as image alt text, internal linking and semantic keywords to be worked into the page content. They should also be able to give you insights on what your competition is doing and how to optimise in order to compete in the strongest possible way.
2. When relaunching an existing website or moving an existing website
Relaunching an existing website is another important phase in which you should include your SEO Agency, as early as possible. There are a number of technical considerations that are vital in ensuring as smaller a drop-off in traffic as is possible upon your relaunch. A small drop is always inevitable when you do launch your new site, but if the correct SEO procedures are not followed this can quickly spiral into a disaster.
A detailed redirect map is a vital aspect to any site re-launch and is probably one of the most common errors we see when working on websites post-relaunch. It is important that if any changes have been made to the URLs or structure of the site that your SEO agency draw up a comprehensive redirect map. This ensures that your sites current value can be passed onto your new website. There is still a small amount of authority that gets lost (Google tell us that 301 redirects pass on around 80% of the old URL’s value to the new URL) but if this is not done, you can expect a significant drop in your new site’s traffic. We have seen examples where sites have lost 30 % or more of their traffic from not implementing redirects correctly.
Further to correctly implemented redirects, you should also ask your agency to supply site structure insights and keyword maps as we outlined in the process for “a new site launch” above.
3. Monthly Ongoing SEO
We like to use the analogy of a supercar when talking about SEO. Picture your website as a supercar, you have spent a lot of time and money deciding what colour and specifications you want it to be built with and after a tense wait, it has finally been delivered. A website without an SEO campaign is like a supercar without an engine. It may look beautiful but it will never perform to the level that you expected it to. SEO ensures that your website has the performance to match its appearance and is a vital tool to ensure that your business is competitive online.
In an up and coming article, we will unpack the best options or channels available for business owners in driving traffic to their site, but for now, it is safe to say that organic (SEO) traffic to your site is THE most important investment that you should make for long-term return on investment.
In summary, there really is no special time to use SEO as a marketing tactic. It should be one of the basic fundamentals that you have in place on an ongoing basis. There are a lot of people who will tell you that its highly technical and complicated, almost a “dark art”, these people are incorrect or have hidden agendas.
SEO should be straight forward and should be a core of any online marketing efforts. The process that your agency works through should be highly transparent and the results measurable and tangible. If this is not the case you need to re-assess your provider. We recently gave some tips on choosing an SEO agency in 2017.
Graeme's focus is now on process optimisation and systems creation in the performance marketing space.