Your Website Can Be a Maze of Hidden SEO Issues
Over the last month I’ve been helping a client with search engine optimization. Normally we help clients with both website development and SEO, but this time the website was already in process by a large firm in another state. The client reached out to me because the web development firm did not have anyone on staff that is knowledgeable about SEO.
As the client prepared to launch their beautiful new website, we started to discover critical SEO items missing from their website build.
The custom WordPress website was missing basic functional elements and no one was aware of it. The large firm, who had very honorable intentions, simply didn’t realize the importance of automated XML sitemaps, HTML sitemaps, page specific meta descriptions, and authors assigned to individual pieces of content.
As I work through this with my client, I feel as though I’m walking through a maze of SEO issues. As my client eagerly awaited the launch of their new website, I was chirping about issues with SEO and problems we needed to fix.
While those few items I mentioned might seem insignificant, they are critical for organic search engine optimization:
- You need XML sitemaps properly generated so you can communicate content changes with Google and Bing.
- You need authors assigned to content so you can establish authorship with Google.
- You need page specific meta descriptions so the search engines can understand the page content and the thus assign it properly in search.
You need solid SEO to complete online and to obtain traffic. Beautiful doesn’t matter if no one can find your website.
Website conversions matter, but you can only truly obtain those if you have a website people can find and a web presence that is functional and esthetically pleasing.
Web design and SEO need to be worked on together for the process to truly work.
Addressing SEO After the Website is Designed is Damage Control
My client and I are now in a phase of damage control. We have been there for a few weeks and while we’ve worked through a number of issues, a few more have pop up. This means a delay in Google indexing content, lower web traffic, and a longer return on investment for the client.
In some respects my client is very lucky. His web design firm did not fight our requests. Instead they have been very accommodating and they are working hard at integrating the items I’ve asked for into the build. I’m thankful to them and I know my client is too.
Unfortunately this is not always the case. They could have returned to the defined project scope and refused to make changes. After all, they are not SEO experts and they did not know such requirements were needed, so they didn’t budget for them.
Again, we’ve been lucky and I’ve been thankful to this firm for working closely with me in my role of SEO advocate for my client.
Plan Ahead to Avoid SEO Issues
If you’re hiring a web design firm to develop your website, make sure the team has a solid understanding of SEO. Make sure your website will be built with core SEO components before the architecture is developed and content entered.
If possible, ask about search engine optimization before you sign your web design contract. If the firm lacks SEO expertise, seek outside assistance and do so early enough that SEO can be built into the website from the start.
Protect yourself by retaining an outside SEO professional with enough knowledge to be your advocate. Make no mistake – you need an SEO advocate if your web design firm doesn’t have an SEO specialist in house.
I am now my client’s SEO advocate.
If you need an SEO advocate, reach out to me. I’ll be happy to schedule a one hour consultation with you to review your website development project. If needed, I’ll help you navigate through the necessary SEO features of your new WordPress website. I’ll also be happy to work along side your web development firm to make sure your new website is optimized.