SEO Integration Points to Lower Risk of Traffic Loss During a Redesign

We have been asked many times, “When should SEO be brought into the process of a website design or redesign?”, to which we reply, “When planning begins.”. Yet to this day one of the most frustrating things about being an SEO strategist, is when we are brought in at the end of a website design or redesign – after the strategy has been defined, designs have been approved, and content written – and asked to “SEO the site”.

With that said, most companies and creative agencies fail to realize that SEO, as a business strategy, must be fully integrated throughout the process. In most cases a website redesign strategy is built for those users who come to the website from paid channels, or those who access your website by directly typing in the website address – you can see the issue here, I hope. Many redesign strategies fail to plan for organic user retention, and growth of those users coming from organic search – which, in most cases, is the primary source of traffic for most sites.

To help frame the process, below you will find some key points of integration for an SEO team, and deliverables an SEO should be involved in during a website redesign.

SEO Integration Points For A Website Re-design Or Re-platform

Research and Strategy

  • Website Audit
  • Satisfaction Audit
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Content Analysis
  • Keyword Mapping
  • Transition Planning
  • CMS Strategy
  • Content Organization and Site Structure
  • Mobile Strategy

Analytics

  • Monthly Reporting and Analysis
  • Quarterly Analysis Definition
  • Custom SEO Dashboard Development

Content

  • Content Brief
  • Audience Messaging
  • Strategy & Planning
  • Video Descriptions & Transcriptions
  • Infographic Strategy
  • Title & Description Tags
  • Defining H1, H2 Tags
  • Informing Content Hierarchy
  • Define URL Structure

Design

  • Aligning content hierarchy with design elements.
  • Aligning User-Focused SEO best practices with design elements.

Frontend Web Development

  • Aligning User-Focused SEO best practices with front end development and Styles.

Backend Web Development

Marketing and PR

  • Blogger Outreach
  • Email & Link Building Campaigns
  • Reputation & Crisis Management Within The Search Results
  • Content Publishing & Distribution

Social Media

  • Social Profile Optimization
  • Defining OG, Twitter Card, and other social tagging
  • Defining a social distribution map for new content sets

We Do Many Of These Already.. Do You?

I am sure when scanning this list, you think your strategy, planning, content, dev, or design teams already do these things, and they might very well, but I bet they don’t look at the site in a way an SEO strategist would.

See, good SEO strategists are like movie directors – usually there on the set — day in and day out — and in charge of the overall vision of the movie, as well as the execution of that vision. In short, good SEOs see the big picture challenges and vision, and understand the implications of changing minute details that affect the overall SEO and usability of the website for all personas (including the Googlebot Persona).

So What’s the Risk of Not Integrating Properly

  • In many cases this integration detail limits our ability to provide the full value that SEO can offer a business – including brand building, increased reach, increased traffic, increased conversions and sales.
  • Veteran SEO strategists know, that during a transition period, each team we are not integrated with,
    increases the risk that organic traffic will be negatively affected.

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