Home > Internet, Search Engine Marketing > The Benefits of Proactive Search Engine Optimization

The Benefits of Proactive Search Engine Optimization

Here at our Cleveland-based web design agency DigitalDay, we’ve been talking about the importance of good page titles, meta tags, descriptions and alt tags for search engine optimization and it seemed like a good time to mention this blog post. Author Paul Elliot suggests that optimizing a site for search engines is far more effective if implemented at the beginning of the design process rather than post-launch—and he’s right.

While the temptation to rush a project through the design process may be enticing, the benefits of proper search engine optimization definitely outweigh the few weeks saved by cutting corners and not focusing on optimization efforts from the beginning.

Amit Singhal spills the beans about Google search technology in this recent post, giving a little insight into how the world’s most popular search engine can adapt user queries to find relevant information. As he says, search has moved from “give me what I said to give me what I want.” Even as technologies improve, if Google can’t find your site, your potential customers can’t find you either. Who your would-be customers will find, though, is one of your competitors.

As crawlers become more sophisticated, factors such as URL formatting, directory structure, file names of graphical elements, and even comments in HTML markup are becoming more important in helping spider-based search engines determine the fullest extent of a site’s content.

When designing a site with heavy use of Adobe Flash, AJAX or Javascript, it is important to think of the spiders and allow your site to be indexed with proper usage of page titles, meta tags, and descriptions. Although even now, Adobe, Yahoo, and Google have teamed up to make spiders index Flash .SWF files. This makes planning even more important as poorly organized .SWF files, once irrelevant to SEO, can bog down a site’s PageRank.

SEO doesn’t stop at the content development stage, however. As Paul Elliot mentions, “poorly formed code that is difficult for the spiders to traverse can negatively impact ranking performance.” Coding in CSS allows the relevant content information to be at the top of the page with everything else following it.

Keeping these SEO basics in mind can save a lot of headache later. Elliot compared “four projects in which optimization was a post-launch initiative to four projects in which optimization was include in the initial scope of the design…” and found that “on average, the post-launch method of search engine optimization led to incremental redesign project costs of roughly 30%.” This is no small amount of money for something that could have been avoided.

Money isn’t the only cost of delaying search engine optimization. The cost of lost opportunity can be far greater. “The process of ranking for competitive terms,” writes Elliot, “can take upwards of six months.” Elliot found that “the integrated approach to SEO, in which optimization activities are embedded in the redesign project scope, can shave roughly five months off of the time that is required to achieve top organic search engine listings.” This time is invaluable in getting your product or service to the top of Google’s PageRank, allowing you to inform the searching public about your company.

Like so many other things, it pays to do the job the right way the first time.

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