How To SEO A Website Part 2
In part one we discussed why it’s important to include SEO from the beginning of a web site design project. In part two we will highlight some early web design elements that can help your SEO campaign from the very beginning be “truly optimized”.
By now, most companies have approach a SEO firm for search engine help with a some type of website already built. For some companies the current site investment has been too large to go back and start at step 1. What they really mean when they ask for SEO is what can they optimize with what they got.
For other companies, throwing away the old site and starting with a blank slate would be the most cost effective form of SEO. A good SEO company will realize what kind of client they are dealing with, and after a site review be able to give you some options.
Realize that the site you came to the table with has already established an online presence with the search engines. The web designer has already made some SEO choices for you. If this is your, the SEO company you hire to optimize within the framework you provided, may be hamstrung to some degree unless you are willing to make serious changes.
SEO Friendly Website Hosting
With any amount of SEO research it won’t take too long before you hear of 301 redirects, canonicalizing your URL, and developing a custom 404 page. These are great SEO tips, and something you should do, but depending on your hosting it’s not always easy to do.
For example, if you are trying to save money by purchasing shared hosting on a windows server from a common hosting provider, good luck getting them to help you out. Sweet Spot is a big fan of Linux hosted sites because the open source platform provides for a simple fix with FTP access. Most sites today are hosted on either a Windows or Linux based server; however, other servers do exist such as ColdFusion. Knowing your server configuration is important in understanding your limitations and processes with this type of search engine optimization.
SEO Friendly Content Management Systems (CMS)
In 2010 the use of online CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal has exploded very fast. The advantages to having and admin interface that is easy to understand is often important to clients who don’t know HTML but want to update their site. This also is great for developers because they can get accustom to one type of CMS and crank out websites very fast with some advanced functionality.
Content management systems are also very good for growth and content syndication, which are two SEO needs. The scalability and auto-archiving features these systems bring a tremendous amount of SEO advantages as well.
From an SEO perspective, these content management systems are all not created equally! Some have a strict set of rules that prohibit the editing of raw HTML. Some were built without SEO in mind which makes optimizing certain page elements difficult if not impossible.
There are several good debates in online forums today about which CMS is best. The honest truth is they all have pros and cons for SEO and non-SEO web features. It really depends on what your goals are. For example, here is a good article by SEOMOZ comparing WordPress vs. Joomla.
No matter what your web development needs are, an experienced SEO should be able to help you pick the best CMS and web developer to fit your needs.
SEO Friendly Site Navigation
– Can the search engines see my links?
– Why do I have 50 links in the footer that no one ever clicks on?
– Why are my URLs 150 characters long?
– Why is my site a hodgepodge of pages and hard to navigate?
There are hundreds of navigation concerns, too many to cover here. Please don’t leave the sitemap and site architecture up to a designer that cares more about the color than functionality. You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers, just please call a SEO before it’s too late!