When should SEO be included in the website development process?

Good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) practices may dictate aspects of web page coding, the content management system (CMS) to be used, the website’s structure of information, the heirarchical nature of pages, hyperlinking between pages, and even the minimisation of use of ‘text-in-images’.

SEO is affected by numerous on-page factors. The most commonly problematic ones, relevant to website development, are:

  1. Website URL structure – including the best keywords in an efficient and logical manner within the website URL structure is best achieved when planning the main menu and content of the website;
  2. Page heading structures – usually the HTML ‘heading’ tags e.g. H1, H2, etc. should be included within a logical page structure, and not over-used;
  3. Page load speed – often affected by the inclusion of scripting on a web page, even if the script is not needed for that page;
  4. Editability of SEO-relevant website content – usually managed via the CMS, but as some systems are restricitve, a preliminary SEO review of the proposed CMS is advisable;
  5. Auto-generation of Page Titles, Product headings etc. – most relevant to ecommerce websites, and those sites with ‘regular article updates’, whereby the automation of the creation of some elements of new content will minimise the need for SEO expertise on the part of the author, and maximise the SEO potential of the new content.