Who Benefits from SEO?

A big question for business owners is whether or not to invest in SEO. SEO may improve performance, but some sites require much more work than others to gain even marginal results. In these cases, using paid search marketing until you are ready for a re-design makes more sense.

The most common mistake site owners make is not seeking professional SEO advice BEFORE the design process. Web designers are not usually SEO experts. Their job involves designing the site... often they overlook the technical aspects of making the site search engine friendly. Because many site owners assume these aspects are part of the design, they don't seek marketing advice until after the site is completed. It is hard to tell someone that no matter what they do their beautiful site will never achieve high rankings.

Each situation is different depending on budget and quality of the site construction. Here is a list of common problems and the recommended solutions.

PROBLEM: My site has no rankings and it was designed more than 3 years ago.
If the site owner has the budget, we would recommend a redesign along with SEO. Why? Because any site that is over 3 years old can probably benefit from newer technology and up-to-date SEO techniques. There is no substitute for starting from the ground up - improving the usability and SEO at the same time. If the budget is tight, redesign would depend on whether or not the existing site has problems that are preventing it from being indexed in search engines (using frames, flash, etc.). Sometimes these problems can be corrected and SEO alone is enough to get decent rankings.

PROBLEM: My site has no rankings and I just spent a bundle on re-design.
It depends on the site, however, often I would try to salvage this site and perform SEO without a redesign. Unless the problems are huge, improving the optimization and content may do the trick.

PROBLEM: My site needs a redesign... when should I think about SEO?
Absolutely think about SEO BEFORE YOU EVEN PLAN A RE-DESIGN. SEO starts in the planning stage, choosing the right keywords and structuring the site content. Everything from planning to final build-out play a role in how highly optimized your site will be.

PROBLEM: My site needs SEO... Can I do it myself?
If you have a small budget and you are thinking of doing SEO yourself, be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time learning before you act - but... you should do it. Properly executed, SEO can improve your site for human visitors as well as search engines. If you do have the budget, consider hiring a professional. For the cost involved, it makes sense to save the time and effort required.

© Anita Schott
Contributing Writer
Instant Position