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July 12, 2012

SEO Web Design: How to Plan for the Never-Ending Update

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The conversation goes something like this.

Man on the phone: How much for SEO?

Fred, our sales exec: Our rates are based on a retainer fee per month, and depending on the type of experience you’re looking for, we can other provide a consulting service or full-service solution.

Man on the phone: If I paint my house, I don’t have to worry about it again until it wears off in 10 years. Why do I need an ongoing SEO project?

Fred: Think of it less like painting a house and more like something you need to maintain.┬áLike a plant, your website is organic. You don’t water it once and you’re done. The Internet is not static. Competitors are constantly changing their sites, search engines are constantly changing the search results, and you have to keep up your website, too.

woman with plant and watering can

SEO is like taking care of a plant. Grow, baby, grow!

Once you understand that SEO is ongoing, you understand the need for a website maintenance blueprint. Procedures for website updates with SEO Web design best practices will help you and your organization ensure consistency throughout the website’s lifetime.

The standards maintain seamless style, tone and optimization practices across the site for an optimal user experience, regardless of who’s in charge and how many times a website or role changes hands.

Developing an Update Procedure for Your Website

In writing down the SEO dos and dont’s for website updates, you’re creating a handy resource for yourself, your team and your organization. Define the preferred styles for the following site elements:

File naming: Naming new pages, images, videos, audio files and all content types should be specified based on your chosen syntax. Include directives that ensure file names are descriptive and inclusive of important keywords.

Directory structure: Outline the directory structure for additions to current directories as well as the creation of new silos, or top-level themes. This requires that the site has a well-defined silo structure, and putting the site architecture down on paper is extremely valuable to have anyway.

Redirects: The SEO best practice for redirects is 301 permanent redirects. While there are several types of redirect codes, implementing one that does not take SEO into account can result in a loss of search traffic. Document the procedure for redirecting traffic from pages that are removed or no longer needed.

Linking: Link juice is too important to squander. Describe the process for adding links. Outline the use of keywords in anchor text. Specify the use of fully qualified links. Provide guidelines for linking within and across silos, so that theme relevance is best maintained.

New pages: When new pages are being added to the site, ask the following questions: What are its main keywords? What is its goal? What silo does it support? The answers to these questions will make sure the page is best supporting overall goals of the site to meet user needs.

Make ongoing SEO a straightforward process. An SEO Web design “style guide” that new webmasters, IT staff, marketing directors and search marketers can refer to will help avoid the introduction of inconsistencies and keep a growing site running smoothly.





6 responses to “SEO Web Design: How to Plan for the Never-Ending Update”

  1. Sebastian writes:

    Interesting analogy. The problem that I’m constantly encountering is clients who have done a little bit of research surrounding SEO and subsequently grill you on a number of points that are either no longer valid in the SEO realm, or they’ve decided all they have $xx to spend on SEO and they should buy links with it.

  2. Kent writes:

    Great example on showing customers who can’t see SEO as continuing process. I like the conversation. Will use it for my marketing team. :)

  3. Andy Kuiper writes:

    prospective client “…yes, but I just want my site SEO’d, so I’m checking around for the lowest quote; I want to rank on the first page for my best keywords…” Andy – and so the dance begins LOL ;-)

  4. Virginia Nussey writes:

    @Sebastian: I’ve got a funny story told to me by the same sales exec from the beginning of this post. He was on the phone with a guy who asked him about our penalty assessment services. The guy on the phone asked the price and Fred told him. The guy replied, “Do you know how many links I could buy for that?!” SMH!

    @Kent: Glad you found it useful! Pass it along :)

    @Andy: I swear, not only do SEOs do SEO, but education, evangelism… Our job is one of many many hats. The particular dilemma you mention is one Bruce has been up against a lot lately and felt moved to write about yesterday: http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/2012/07/the-cost-of-seo/

  5. Guy Manningham writes:

    That’s a great analogy. I offer my internet marketing clients two options. Option A: one-time payment for three months of work or Option B: monthly payments. I try to get them to go for option B because I make more money in the long run and it allows me to continually update the progress and ensure future success. That can be a daunting task trying to explain to them though.

  6. Webolutions writes:

    I would have to agree on the Plant analogy: If you don’t water it, it withers and dies away. If you don’t mow your lawn, weeds would grow. This is why you need to keep your site updated and always be competent. If you don’t, competitors will outrank and your site becomes ignored and never noticed. So you’ve got to keep growing where you’re planted. That’s strategic SEO planning.



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