My career began at a dedicated search agency, often working with third party vendors and IT teams to accomplish SEO objectives. While I experienced many successes there, I now truly realize the importance of tight-knit collaboration and building SEO into the integrated marketing conversation.
For some this might seem repetitive, but based on my experience in the industry there are too many people who believe creating a document and handing it to the client will result in 100% implementation of the recommendation. Working at an integrated agency, I now have the opportunity to oversee implementation of search programs and weigh their impact on design, development, IA, and KPI framework construction. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
Step 1 IA (Information Architecture) Development
One of the best parts of stepping into this role is having the opportunity to learn that the sitemap and IA are much more complex than I had experienced in the past. We need to consider consumer research, competitive research, business objectives, federal regulations, etc.
It is easy to tell that in our case, search strategy is more informative and less imperative. Ideally we will be able to achieve the best of all worlds, but contributing to the massive research before the construction of a website gives us the opportunity to weigh keyword optimization & schema with messaging, etc. Long story short, having the opportunity to conduct thorough keyword research and use it as an influence on the final sitemap rather than a concrete road map results in a final product which integrates comprehensive user research, search strategy, and modern IA strategies. What a great way to start a project.
Step 2 Copywriting
Now that the sitemap for a new site has been determined, we can conduct another round of keyword research, this time in a much more focused (and less exploratory) manner. The best part about mapping out keywords in this stage is having the ability to oversee their implementation, and you dont have to work alone. For an SEO professional, I feel it is incredibly important to gather feedback from all parties involved. Whether its working with your creative team to find out how the keywords mesh with their vision for a site, or discussing with the development team how keyword selections may affect technical implementation, this stage is a great opportunity to encourage collaboration and accomplish your SEO objectives while gathering feedback from your peers. Once again, search is truly integrated.
Step 3 Design
This is where as an SEO, you get to pull out your fine-tooth comb. While it may not be the most glorious of tasks, making sure image naming conventions are in place and teaching designers about a/b testing can be incredibly rewarding in the big scheme of things. I personally am careful to never mess with creative juices, but sometime there are search ranking factors that need to be explored during the design phase that can impact how much copy goes on to a page and how well optimized your site is to send users through conversion funnels. I love pulling out studies on click through rates for social share buttons and giving examples of how imagery can effect user behavior. Working with design is part education and part intricate planning.
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5 SEO Touch-Points During Website Design & Development by @JeffBiomecca