SEO at the development stage

SEO-at-the-Development-Stage

Incorporating SEO during the development stage of a website is crucial for several reasons, as it helps lay the foundation for long-term online success and visibility. When launching a website, there are four stages to consider, each with its own tasks and milestones. In each of the following phases, the person in charge of SEO should cooperate with other teams (design, development, UX, strategy and others):

1. Strategy and planning

2. Build the website

3. Launch the website

4. Promote the website

Stage 1: Strategy and Planning

The strategy and planning stage of a website launch is crucial for its success, as it lays the foundation for an effective online presence.

With respect to SEO, the most critical steps during this stage involve keyword research and content architecture. Prior to the web design team beginning work on design concepts, the SEO specialist should supply a well-defined keyword and architecture strategy. This guidance from the SEO expert will play a pivotal role in directing the designers and developers as they construct the website.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a vital component of any SEO project. As a website publisher, it is essential to comprehend your target audience and identify the search queries they employ to discover your products and services. This information serves as the cornerstone for your website, informing both its architecture and the content you generate.

Content Architecture

Upon completing keyword research, the SEO specialist can proceed to theme the website. This entails devising a website structure centered around the most significant keywords relevant to the site.

Stage 2: Develop and Build

The build stage typically constitutes the most extended phase of a website project. In this stage, designers and developers construct the site. However, from an SEO standpoint, two critical tasks must be addressed: generating content and collaborating with developers on the technical aspects.

Content Creation

Each silo or navigational category must be populated with high-quality content. This entails crafting content that adheres to Google’s quality standards and developing webpages informed by real-time SEO data derived from top-ranked competitors for the targeted keywords.

It is crucial to gather this data prior to creating the pages, ensuring that the content either meets or surpasses the efforts of your competitors on the first page of search results.

Technical Strategy

SEO may not be a primary expertise for many website designers and developers, which can inadvertently result in a site that obstructs search engines from effectively crawling, indexing, and comprehending a website and its content. For instance, Flash and JavaScript implementations can occasionally pose challenges for search engines.

However, that is merely one example of potential issues that need optimization during the build for SEO. As Google refines its algorithms to favor sites offering a positive user experience, performance issues also emerge as concerns for SEO.

Stage 3: Prelaunch and Launch

Prior to and during the website launch, the SEO specialist should be actively involved in supervising several crucial aspects. If the preceding stages were executed effectively, this phase should proceed relatively smoothly. Nevertheless, it remains essential to verify that all elements are in order.

Crawlability and Accessibility

An SEO tool should be utilized to crawl the website and identify any errors. You can employ a site crawler, such as Screaming Frog or the tools available for this purpose. As part of this task, it’s important to ensure that the number of created pages aligns with the number of crawled pages. If discrepancies arise, the subsequent step involves determining the cause of the issue and implementing a solution.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console

Establishing basic SEO analytics before launch is crucial, as it enables you to monitor the website and access valuable data from the moment the site goes live. Without this information, making data-driven decisions to enhance website performance becomes unattainable.

Technical Items

During this stage, elements such as the XML sitemap, HTML sitemap, and robots.txt file should be correctly configured. However, it’s essential to test them. In certain instances, web developers or other team members might overlook the removal of the Disallow: / directive from the robots.txt file (which prevents pages from being indexed during the build and testing phases).

Errors

Leveraging SEO tools, such as Google Search Console, is essential for identifying and addressing any technical errors that may arise. Common issues might involve 404 errors, which prevent users from accessing a webpage, or other related problems.

Indexation

Depending on the website’s size, search engines may take several days or weeks to fully index the site. If it appears that some areas remain unindexed, it’s crucial to investigate and resolve the issues. For instance, is there sufficient internal linking to guarantee optimal indexation?

Stage 4: Post Launch

The efforts do not cease upon the successful launch of the website. SEO is a continuous process, as there will always be aspects to test and optimize.

Content

Regularly add new content to the site, expanding your silo structure with additional supporting content and appropriately interlinking pages.

Furthermore, update existing content to maintain its relevance and freshness.

Links

Manage your link profile diligently, prioritizing high-quality, relevant links over other types to maintain a strong online presence.

Performance

After the site goes live, regularly monitor the performance of the homepage and other crucial pages you aim to rank. Tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse can assist with this task. By providing a measurably positive page experience, you can potentially secure a boost in search rankings.

Updated: Mar 29, 2023 Author:

Misha Manko
Co-founder of Fiber.ninja, Digital Marketing Consultant