Your website must be search engine friendly (SEF), whether you’ve contracted the development or you’re building it yourself. I ask clients everyday, what’s the point in having a great website if nobody finds it?
Search engine optimization (SEO) needs to be considered from the beginning of a web project. Consulting with an SEO professional is a great idea, but often overlooked or just not in the budget. It’s okay if you don’t want to pay for SEO right away. But it’s critical that you’re web developer build an SE-friendly site. This means that upon completion, your site will be in a good state to begin SEO efforts.
Some website development practices will help your SEO readiness, others will have no effect on search performance, while others will hurt your search rankings. If you plan to use an SEO professional after development you simply need to ensure the site is created in an SE friendly way. Avoid mistakes that will hurt your rankings. Remember, you’re not developing for SEO effectiveness, you’re developing to avoid SEO penalties. Here are a few basic elements to consider.
Folder Structure, URLs and Page Names
Ensure that your web developer is creating a search engine (SE) friendly folder structure, and creating SE friendly URLs and Page Names. If not, substantial rebuilding may be required. Ensure that your web developer discusses these with you before you sign the contract.
Page Titles and Descriptions
Each page needs to have a relevant, meaningful title. Creating page titles is not time consuming or complicated. Just give each page a title that identifies it’s purpose and makes sense. For example, name your services page, ‘Services’. Or title your about page ‘About Us’. Don’t concern yourself with keywords or trying to gain search results from these simple tasks. Again, just make sure you’re building a stable platform for your SEO person to work from. The same goes for the description meta tag.
I frequently see sites with the same title and description on several, or sometimes all pages. Search engines will penalize your search rankings for your laziness.
This isn’t magic. Just fill your site with well-written, appropriate content that’s intriguing and substantive. Remember to check spelling. Its’ been stated that over 90% of sites contain misspelled words.
Obviously there are several other areas to keep in mind, but these are some good basics to get started with. Keep the goal in mind. With regard to SEO, you’re simply creating a baseline that will allow your SEO professional to later make positive changes without having to first rebuild or correct previous mistakes. Rework means paying twice.