There’s a girl sitting alone on a bench at a school dance. No one is noticing her. People, who are having fun, walk right by her. It’s like she doesn’t exist. She wonders if she’s invisible. She pinches herself every once in awhile just to check that she really is there, that she really does exist.
That sad scene may be the same way you feel about your website. You may see other sites around you getting all sorts of attention but no one is looking at you. You’re worth it. They should be spending time with you.
You could take that girl, and your site, and completely change the way they look but if they’re sitting slumped over in the corner, people probably won’t notice. They need to do something to get attention. Your website can do that by focusing on what will get it noticed by search engines.
New clothes, or in your website’s case a new design, is only window dressing. To get noticed you need more.
Why Concentrate on SEO Before a Website Redesign?
One of the major things you’ll need to implement as part of your website redesign is getting your SEO on track. You’ll have to do the work anyway. But unless your website is sadly out of date, you may be happy enough with the results of an improved SEO strategy that you don’t need to do a website redesign at this time. If on the other hand, you launch a new SEO strategy and you don’t see results, you know you’ve done what you can and that a redesign is the next step.
Getting Clear on Your SEO Strategy
When you conduct a redesign, you will have a lot of departments working together — including development, design, and marketing. If you’re unclear on your SEO strategy, it will be more difficult to get everyone on the same page. There will be a lot of floundering without clear direction.
Recognizing Effective, Good Content from Bad
In a site redesign you’ll be weighing what content is working for you and what is not. If you don’t have a clear SEO strategy, it will be difficult for you to make that decision. A redesign often affects pages as well. You may decide to combine pages or eliminate some of them. Without a strategy in place, it will just be a lot of directionless cutting.
Content Affects Design
While some designers will argue, what you want to say has to precede the design. Otherwise, it looks like a “caption this” contest where the pictures (and the layout) drive the content. You will need to advise your designers of your keywords and the keyword strategy so that they can employ those critical words in headers and URLs, as well as metadata and tags on images.
If you don’t know your keyword strategy ahead of the design, you will be placing a lot of additional work on your designers where they will have to go back in and adjust pages. Hundreds of pages later, and you’re likely to be on the designers’ bad lists.
Website SEO is a critical component of any redesign. You want to have a solid, effective strategy in place before you begin thinking about a redesign. It will cost you and your team a lot less time and it will be more likely that you will deliver on deadline.