Following from the previous post on integrating SEO effectively into a new site, this post will look at how to integrate SEO into an existing Site.
Whether a site is big or small, there will be limits to what can be altered if it is not being actively redeveloped it. It might be branding that’s the headache, or it might be the CMS; it might be the legal department, or it might be the cranky CEO (no offence to CEO’s, being a CEO is tough… or so I’m told). In many cases it’s the lack of authority and support given to in-house SEO leads.
This post assumes limited access to web dev resources, and no design resources.
Fail-safe approach …pretty much
First, conduct an SEO Gap Analysis.
Once the site’s current level of optimization has been assessed, an easy and effective way to move forward is proposed below:
1. Basic, Quick Fixes
- Conduct effective keyword research
- Sort out the canonical issues, redirect using .301s
- Ensure that there is a custom 404 error page
- Review the robots.txt file (is …/images disallowed? – that’s not unusual, and it’s also probably not a good thing…)
- Alter the titles, META data, ALT attributes and copy to reflect the primary keywords
- Make these visible elements enticing and use marketable copy while sticking to Google’s 70 character limit for titles and 170 character limit for META descriptions (check the logs files, going on a limb here, but I’ll guess that the majority of most sites organic search traffic comes from Google.)
- Keep that core focus on usability.
2. Slightly Tougher/Longer Fixes
- Rewrite your primary URLs utilizing primary keywords without resorting to http://www.mysite.com/products/white-mother-of-pearl-inlaid-japanese-feng-shui-foot-massager-free-delivery/ *gasp*
- Clean up the code
- Rework the copy including headers and ALTs to reflect the keyword research.
3. Conduct a Major Backlink Campaign
- Without moving into the realm of redevelopment, that’s about all that can be achieved on-page… but if these changes are supported with an effective ongoing backlink campaign, there will be search engine exposure and ranking improvements..
Please give us your thoughts, comments and ‘the bits we missed’ below in the comments!