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It’s easier to optimize your site for search before you go live.

May 4th, 2009 by mdmcginnis

Like marketing strategist Adam Broitman, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “We just finished our new site, and we need it SEOed.” Broitman says, “Existing sites cannot be “SEOed”. Stop trying.” He compares optimizing an existing site to trying to “build a house from the top down.”

Broitman may be exaggerating a little, since some search engine optimization mistakes can be fixed more easily than others. But I submit that, in fact, you have not finished your site, if it’s nowhere to be found when people search it using for reasonable, relevant keywords, (or at least if they can’t find in in several pages of search results). For example, titles are the most important “on-page” factor for good search engine optimization. Is a page really finished if it doesn’t have a good title? Have you really done your job if you need a SEO expert to tell you what your pages are about?

Titles are fairly easy to change, unless you have dozens of pages. Adding keywords to your links and navigation (instead of Home, Click Here, About, and More) can be more complicated, but it’s still feasible if you’re using include statements for your headers, footers and navigation. Otherwise, you may be forced to change each page. As a SEO consultant, I got paid hundreds of dollars to do that kind of menial work, making decisions that my clients should have made before they launched the site.

But many times, when asked to optimize a site for search, I’ve found not only problems with titles and headlines, but problems with content. Their site did not show up in Google for important keywords? Maybe that was because the site didn’t include any pages devoted to those keywords. That may also explain why other sites weren’t linking to those pages, if they didn’t exist. Changing the content and focus of a website to meet the needs of visitors is not something you should do after the fact. If you want high rankings for a competitive topic, your page needs to be about that topic, if not your whole site.

If you build it, will they come? Like most writers, I’ve done work just to please myself, knowing that it may never be published widely. But it’s a mistake to create a website with taxpayer money before you know who you want your visitors will be, what they want, and how you will reach them. Your site’s content can be changed somewhat after your site is launched. Changing its concept is a little more difficult.

Monday, May 4th, 2009 Search
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2 Comments to It’s easier to optimize your site for search before you go live.

  1. I certainly was exaggerating; but I really wanted to drive the point home.

    Thanks for the mention!

  2. Adam Broitman on May 28th, 2009
  3. A site’s SEO stratergy needs to be in place when the site is conceived, before it has been designed. An incorrect stratergry can sometimes take years to rectify.

  4. Astrologer on June 6th, 2009

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