The short answer by our Search and Strategy Manager Nikhil Patel is “YES”.
Below are his personal thoughts on why it is important to have SEO in mind at the site planning stage.
It is recommended to use best practice strategies at an early stage of site planning to help your company save money in the long term. Future proofing and doing as much as you can from the start helps to build strong foundations and sustain your online strategy.
Likewise, it is important to take into account whether or not your business has an internal online specialist who can help drive and project manage your company’s website build, taking SEO into account at the planning stages. If your business does not have an in-house online expert or SEO manager, then a trusted online consultant or third party should be used to help add long term value in this area.
In today’s fast paced business environment, SEO is forever changing and getting more complicated. With the addition of Google updates, it is becoming a lot more difficult to predict Google algorithm changes. Google is smart and now looks at a huge number of ranking signals, such as; relevant backlinks, site and URL architecture, user relevant content, user experience, security, mobile and social.
So the point is, when eCommerce businesses are looking at building a website from scratch, it is highly recommended that SEO should be in the initial project plan as an early consideration for the site build. Ensure that all the basics have been included, such as; unique meta page data, clean URLs, setting up webmaster tools, creating a Google Plus page and connecting it to your site and ensuring that your site is built with HTTPS within its extension.
For some businesses senior stakeholders view SEO as an afterthought. This can be a costly mistake in the long term, especially when the key questions are being asked post-site launch and the business is missing out on the wealth of insight that SEO brings. Here are some examples:
Which channels are performing and returning ROI?
Why the business is not ranking for terms when its competitors are at the top of page one?
The simple answer is that these competitors would have invested in SEO from the inception of the website, which has helped them to gain a larger online footprint whilst the rest are playing catch-up.
Sit down with your web-company and work as a team to ensure that the basics are covered. Ask lots of questions and develop a strategy to help future proof your SEO efforts.
For example, a project initiation document clearly mapping out your online roadmap with the key SEO actions that will take place. These actions could include; creating a readable sitemap, ensuring you have a robots file set up, your site is using HTTPS, using canonical links to stop page duplication, using meta correctly, having a clean URL architecture, mobile ready (responsive or adaptive), having social, sharable widgets to share content, having a blog and ensuring that you have a robust social strategy.
User experience is one aspect that is playing a big part in website design, as well as having an impact on SEO due to these two disciplines having elements of cross over. For instance, having lots of advertising messages above the fold can harm your rankings and too many call to actions above the fold can be seen as spammy. Good web design companies will take into account the importance of both user experience and SEO in tandem to ensure that when your site goes live you’re ready to take a share of the search market.
A) If you’re an eCommerce company looking to build a quality website you should use a company that has experience with SEO and user experience.
Fortunately Exact Abacus have 30 years’ experience building successful software applications and websites, which means they can offer best in class advice to any eCommerce business looking for a secure platform that integrates seamlessly into different channels such as Amazon and eBay
B) Look beyond the short term costs and look at the size of the long term prize
C) Trusted companies will always offer honest and sound advice
D) Look for trusted awards and accreditations
Exact Abacus are Microsoft Gold certified partners for applications development, and have been granted eBay compatible application status
E) Plan your online strategy using experienced experts
F) Always ask for a second opinion
G) Don’t be phased by initial investment costs as economies of scale will balance costs out
If you would like a second opinion about your online strategy or website build, contact Exact Abacus for free, straight forward advice without any obligation.