Today I had a nice marathon meeting on a SEO project for a larger client that, despite the length, was a pleasure. With this project our SEO firm was brought in during the planning stages of a major web site overhaul that included siginificant front and back end enhancements. The project involves an advertising agency responsible for branding and overall creative direction and an IT consulting / web development firm that is tasked with all the programming, integration and web site implementation. And of course, there’s us.
There are interesting dynamics in this situation as you can imagine. The ad agency wants big graphics, the web developers aren’t keen on extra efforts to make urls search engine friendly and we’re asking for more text every chance we get. But overall its very civil and all parties have the client’s best interests in mind.
The reason I title this post “SEO the way it should be” is that the owner of the business and his project manager for the web site overhaul have empowered the 3 agency vendors with getting the job done without too much micro-management. Also because of the fact that an SEO agency was brought in very early in the project bringing the opportunity to educate the other two agencies on how things like site architecture, url structure and functionality affect the search engine friendliness of the site.
Too many times this is just not the case. As noted in an earlier post, many companies decide site optimization is something that happens after the web design is finished. It can often be easier and more productive to bring the SEO consultants in during the planning stages of a web site than after a site launch.
By setting the stage with search engine friendly templates and awareness of the need for fresh, themed content, the on-page optimization can become part of the ongoing site maintenance. Content managers can be trained to create search friendly content as part of the normal site management process.
In contrast, optimizing a web site after it has been re-designed will mean a re-training of content managers after they have recently adopted new site update processes. Not all site re-designs mean a new content management system, but with many large site updates it does.
Optimizing larger web sites involves updates to ongoing processes more than the individual pages. Working with multiple agencies as well as multiple departments within the client company also makes things interesting. What’s important is a clear top-down commitment to the SEO initiative as well as proper education of all stakeholders by the SEO firm. Everyone needs to buy into the notion that a search engine friendly and optimized web site will help them reach their respective goals, whether they be branding, functionality or user experience goals.