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The Best Time to Get SEO Involved in a Website Redesign

by Rachel Anderson   |   Oct 03, 2019

At Workshop Digital, we assist with a lot of website relaunches. As can be assumed, clients come to us at different stages in the process, with various requests. Every project is different, but we do notice some similarities. The number one mistake we see during these website redesigns is involving an SEO too late in the site launch process.

We divide website redesigns into four stages:

  1. Planning & design
  2. Staging site
  3. Launch
  4. Post-launch

At the top of the website launch funnel is the planning and design process, followed by the staging and launch phases. While all four stages require their own attention to detail, the earlier you involve SEO, the better. In fact, to guarantee the smoothest launch possible, it’s important to loop them in during your planning and design process.

Here are some SEO considerations when building a website.

Should I Consider SEO Before or After My Website Launch?

Before. Because the worst time to involve SEO is after the website launch.

Did your organic traffic tank following your site redesign? It’s probably because you didn’t include an SEO analyst in the process.

Workshop Digital has gotten lots of new business over the years because of botched website redesigns. Lost traffic from a site redesign is extremely costly and can take weeks or months to recover. Even if the issue(s) are identified and fixed immediately, it takes time for search engines to crawl and index the fixes. In the meantime, your business has lost out to competition.

How to Build a Website with SEO in Mind

Involving SEO during the staging site or launch is still too late.

Frequently, clients will involve our team a few weeks before a site redesign and ask us to benchmark the old site and audit the new design. The thought is that the UX designers and technical developers know enough SEO that there shouldn’t be any issues. Hiring an SEO is just an insurance policy.

But when an SEO analyst hasn’t been involved in a redesign, our team finds major technical and content issues that are going to take time (and cost money) to fix. Developers and UX designers are rarely up to date on SEO best practices. This just isn’t their job.

Recently, a multi-location healthcare client had to delay their launch by an extra month to restructure all of their location and physician URLs. The URL structure they chose didn’t follow a logical parent/child page hierarchy, so the relation between pages was unclear to users and search engines. It was a lengthy and difficult mistake for their development team to fix—and it could have been avoided by involving an SEO analyst from the start.

When Should I Start SEO for My New Website?

At the very beginning.

To avoid costly mistakes in the future, the best time to involve an SEO analyst in the redesign process is at during the initial planning and design stages. There are a variety of SEO tasks that should be performed in the early stages, including benchmarking current site performance, mapping site structure, and ensuring design is following SEO best practices. SEOs will also work with development and content teams to ensure that everything is aligned.

During our Workshop Digital redesign, we involved SEO from the start with the intent of safeguarding our past efforts and setting our new site up for even more success. Of course, SEO work isn’t complete at this stage. Ongoing maintenance following the launch will ensure your new website gets the attention and traffic it deserves.

Questions about this process? Wondering how to maintain an effective SEO strategy following a relaunch? Contact us today to talk about safeguarding your SEO during your site redesign.

portrait of Rachel Anderson

Rachel Anderson

Rachel joined the Workshop Digital team in 2016. After studying mass communications and mathematics at Ouachita University, Rachel worked in her native Dallas and ate plenty of delicious Tex-Mex. When she moved to Richmond in late 2014, Rachel found her passion for data and analytics and transitioned to a career in digital marketing. In her role as an SEO Analyst at Workshop Digital, Rachel helps clients understand and implement technical, on-page, and local SEO components to help their websites succeed.