Nate Dame recently wrote an article for Search Engine Land titled, “3 reasons SEO belongs at the beginning of a project, not the end” which is of interest to me since I’m a great believer in this strategy.
Mr. Dame lays out 3 key points:
- Keywords should help determine content, not decorate it
- Keyword research should define content
- SERP analysis reveals Google’s ranking priorities
Many SEO’s like myself are given a fully functioning website and told to “optimize it as is.” So, keyword phrases are inserted in appropriate places in the text, in context, in way that is readable to people and search engines. This is very common.
On the other hand, there are some opportunities for a different approach when it comes to developing new websites or with website redesigns. For new websites, SEO can be integrated into the project from the very beginning. With a website redesign, old content can be updated and new content added, and SEO’d, as part of the project.
In these cases, it is recommended that adequate time be devoted to extensive keyword research and SERP analysis in order to solve the issues of the website visitor whether it be information gathering or solving some of the steps along the buying process.
So to recap, research and SEO upfront: optimal. SEO after the fact: not as optimal.