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SEO on the stage of website development: how to increase ROI prior to the digital platform launch

More than 90% of developed websites are designed in accordance with the client’s vision, while SEO specialists are involved merely on a stage of “made-up project” that needs to be revised, edited (which takes much time) and the most important - to destroy the potential of website promotion in search engines at the early stage. This article is aimed exclusively for the project managers and clients, whose competencies include strategic planning of website launch, which also involves search engine optimization of the website.

In general, the process of website launch can be regarded as the project with strictly defined purpose, ways of its achieving and sharp deadlines. Perceiving the website launch as a project gives us the ability to take the planning and organization of the working process more seriously. In accordance with our assessments, the number of websites, whose development process included paying proper attention towards SEO and promotion perspective, doesn’t exceed 7%. For sure, customer can operate with such terms as “urgent”, “pricey” and “challenging”, but let’s keep in mind the reason we’re doing SEO.

Theoretical Underpinning

What is a website? Website is above all a long-term instrument with certain purposes, which have mostly communicative character. In other words, the website provides an opportunity to build a relationship between business and customer, between blogger and reader, between user and service, etc. In the context of distant website prospects and the aforementioned relationship, the sustainability of such instrument as SEO is not only explicable, but also consistent. Within the workflow of website development, which involve SEO specialist, you can find tasks targeted directly on the customer’s loyalty, that authority of the brand and the long-term perspective.

It is a stage of website development where we encounter an evident/obvious problem: the process of developing a long-term instrument (website) does not include a long-term planning. And if/in case such planning would have been attached, in the majority of cases SEO specialists would have been involved on the stage of website platform development.

Why? Just because in the majority of cases the main purpose of such instrument as SEO is actually profit. Herewith, the increase of online store profitability, for example, depends on the incoming traffic amount//quantity growth dynamics and the growth dynamics of its quality (conversionism). Here, the long-term stability of the traffic growth dynamics is guaranteed/provided by SEO. Together with that, it is important to understand that current dynamics for each of the resources can be limited by two things only: market size and product competitiveness. Since the first aspect has hardly ever entered responsibility area of SEO specialist, today we will talk about the second one.

From SEO perspective/standpoint, website competitiveness has clearly defined KPI as a search engine visibility. But at the same the dynamics of website competitiveness development can be evaluated based on the maximization coefficient of website promotion optimization potential usage. In plain words, the amount of time spent on fixing bugs made at the stage of website preparation and creation kills the following potential. Time losses lowers the dynamics, which means the same to the perspective of getting the desired ROI. Theoretical Underpinning

Practical Underpinning

Let’s look through five problems that can be solved by SEO specialist at the stage of website preparation:

1. Traffic Forecast

At the following stage, it is quite real to conduct a full-fledged detailed analysis of thematics seasonality and the impact of external factors on the amount of incoming traffic. The current paragraph will help multi thematic internet stores in forming their working strategy for every single category, developing a logical sequence of works and improving their effectiveness.

2. Website Structure

One of the most widespread mistakes during the platform launch is formation of structure of categories and subcategories logical for the Internet store owner, but irrational/illogical for search engine user. In the end, this point appears to be the most costly—for the full-fledged website SEO promotion the structure has to be revised, which implies quite serious losses in time and resources. At the same time, logically formed structure at the initial stage will allow/enable site to make maximum use of its promotion’s potential.

3. Semantic Core

This paragraph equals the previous one in priority—logical website structure has to be built solely with detailed and the most extensive list of keywords. The research of thematic search queries at the development stage will save you from spending time of SEO specialist on this procedure, the longest one after the website launch.

Content Plan, Technical Task for Content Creation and Finally The Text

While having the structure on hands, you can prepare the content in advance, prior to the platform's release, and secure/provide yourself with it/content for quite a long period of time, getting an opportunity to concentrate on more important problems and emerging difficulties.

5. On-Page SEO

The second list of most widespread mistakes includes disregarding the proper usage of tags “canonical”, “next” and “prev”, right hierarchy of tags in the headlines, and other elements of technical SEO that regulate quite fast before the works start through timely consultation with SEO specialist. Correcting these errors at the stage of project preparation will save you a huge amount of time in the future.

Checklist: SEO works at the stage of website preparation

It is possible to find a sufficient number of checklists for SEO working process organization on the Internet. Many of them cover the technical part only, the others are focused solely on page-off activities. We propose our checklist for SEO works at the early stage of project development that would have sufficiently covered both technical and content aspects. Checklist

Thus, in case all required works will be carried out, after the platform launch SEO specialist will be dealing with:
  • Analytics - for the deeper immersing in thematics and understanding of the specifics of human behavior in this particular niche.
  • Usability - for regular improvement of pages conversion and content.
  • Bugs fixing that the specialist usually lacks time on, because the one is overloaded with structure changes, semantic core formation and pages technical optimization.
  • Link profile for getting the most natural links.

In accordance with our estimates, implementation of the whole complex of works that can be held during the stage of website formation takes about one month of specialist’s work (depending on the project’s size).

The cost of the specialist's working month differs before and after the website release—in the second case we talk about corrections introduction in the previously made-up work and about the loss of rapid resource development potential. In plain words, the prime cost of the pre-optimization working pool ultimately costs less compared to the post-optimization one. Moreover, timely works execution gives you an opportunity to squeeze maximum potential of the resource just after its launch that results in ROI improvement. We can safely say that disregarding SEO works planning at the start of the project in some sense means decreasing SEO specialist's responsibility area.

This is the direct responsibility area of project manager. In the end, planning forms 70% of the final result. In my opinion, it is worth to be kept in mind.

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