Redesigning Your Web Site? Don’t Neglect SEO

October 5, 2009 | By More

Redesigning Your Web Site? Don’t Neglect SEO
By Mark Jackson, Search Engine Watch, Sep 15, 2009
About 9,999 times out of 10,000, companies that begin a redesign of their Web site do so with the following reasons in mind:

“We want to freshen the look/feel.”
“We need to update our content, to be more relevant for where we are today.”
“We have too much information on our Web site…we need to clean house and provide a slimmed down version.”
It’s rare, even in 2009, that companies will speak to things that also matter a great deal: usability and SEO.

Usability and SEO go hand-in-hand. Search engines want to rank Web sites that provide a quality user experience for the searcher. How that’s defined can be somewhat subjective (every Web site is unique and its target audience will also be unique).

So, rather than speak to usability, let’s look at common mistakes that can happen when you’re redesigning your Web site.

Keyword Research

If you’re building a Web site to do well in SEO, you must begin with quality keyword research and competitive analysis. Many tools are available for keyword research, including Google’s AdWords Tool, Wordtracker, and Keyword Discovery.

Another great source for keyword research is your existing paid search campaigns. After all, you can see actual impressions and historical data on how these words have performed in terms of CTR, time on site, pages visited, and — most importantly — conversion rate.

OK, so the keyword research is done, but we’re not quite ready for the graphic designer yet.

Competitive Analysis

Once you know which keywords you want to target, you need to determine what it will take to compete (or if it’s even feasible to try). If you determine that “travel” would be a great keyword, make sure have loads of content and links already, or have the patience to ride out the long process of building up this kind of authority. You may want to re-think this keyword, unless your brand is already a household name.

A quick and easy way to check the competitive landscape is to do a Google search for your targeted keyword(s). Find the top 10 ranking Web sites, then do a “” search on Yahoo and see how many pages (and backlinks) are indexed for these Web sites. From there, you can also see how these other Web sites have built their information architecture and structured their content.

Information Architecture

Your goal should absolutely be to have a Web site that looks good, is search engine friendly, and provides a quality user experience. This stage of the game is very important. You don’t want to just throw together a bunch of pages with little meaning or pages that don’t add to the user experience.

That said, there are ways to generate quality, useful content that is good for SEO and adds to the user experience.

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