SEO (Search engine optimisation) is a process which involves multiple sets of disciplines to optimise your website for search engines. So they can be easily found, indexed and ranked in popular search engines like Google and Bing. The result is driving organic visits to your site. Suganthan Mohanadasan is a SEO Specialist at Dekode, and here you can read about the process he follows for Dekode’s clientele.
Here at Dekode, we take a holistic approach to SEO. As a leading enterprise web development agency, we always prioritise SEO and bake it into our strategy before we even start building your website.
Our SEO process
Initial meeting to understand the business
When we start working on a new website development project, we usually take time to talk to the client about SEO. We aim to understand the customers business goals fully so we can propose the right type of solution, whether it be a lead generation website or an e-commerce site. We will use these meetings to understand how SEO can add value to the client and the ROI potential (Return on investment).
Once we understand the business goals, we will begin our research. We start by looking at the competitive landscape. We will mainly look at the client’s competitors. See what they’re doing and how they’re doing.
We will use several industry-leading tools to pull keyword data about the clients’ niche. We will look at the terms and group them by priority, search volume and search intent.
We pay close attention to the search intent. A search intent means figuring out the intention behind a search query. If a user is searching for «Buy Christmas presents», we know the intention is commercial where the user is looking to buy a gift. If the search is «Christmas present ideas for him» we know it’s an informational search which has the potential to turn into a commercial intent. We can use this information when planning the content for the website.
As part of the process, we will map the intention to the keywords we find.
Information architecture design
A website information architecture is a practice of arranging different components of your website, which are understandable and meaningful. When it comes to SEO, it’s crucial to organise and structure the site in a way, so it’s friendly to search engines, and they can find the pages and content easily. Another aspect of IA is the user experience. Search engines are paying close attention to user experience. It matters and having a clear structure is key to scoring good points from the search engines.
Let’s take a look at an example. Imagine having an e-commerce website which sells pet food. If you have a poor website structure where a user has to click five times to find the product and takes long to navigate to the product. It’s frustrating user experience. The user might get annoyed and won’t buy from your website. It’s the same experience with the search engines. It means having poor rankings.
When working on IA we focus on the following aspects:
We ensure the site has a clear navigation structure. We design the navigation in a way so the most essential and relevant products or services can be found quickly.
Crawl depth means the depth a search engine has to crawl to access the pages. Shorter the better. We make sure the vital products/services pages can be found within two clicks.
Topic modelling drive-by search volume
As much as keywords, we focus a lot on the topics. We look at all the broader topics in the niche. The idea behind the topics is to make sure we give a clear indication to the search engines what the clients’ site is all about. We also implement the silos and content hub structure. We look at search volumes to make sure the included topics are worth and qualify for the architecture.
URL Structure, Categories and Tags
We will propose the best URL structure for the website, which will also incorporate keywords, topics and slugs. We look at category and topic suggestions based on the keyword research.
Wireframing is a process in which we sketch the blueprint of the website. The IA will play an essential role in building wireframes of the site and key pages.
Once the wireframe is completed, our front end designers will take over and do their magic. As you can see, our designers are given clear briefs, and our researched data always back their designs.
At this stage, we will closely work with the clients’ content writers in producing content to the website. We will help the content writers by providing technical help. SEO has evolved over the years and with the introduction of machine learning and AI, the search engines have improved their algorithms and understandings significantly.
So we use concepts like semantic keywords and smart content optimisation techniques to ensure our content is useful to the readers as well as search engines. One of the critical tasks here to make sure we don’t over-optimise our pages.
Basic SEO setup using Plugins
We work with several SEO Plugins for configuring the basic SEO settings. One of the popular myth in the SEO industry is that an SEO Plugin is enough and getting a green checklist means your page is SEO optimised as you can see its not the case. The idea behind a plugin like Yoast is to provide a foundation where we can enable settings. It has little to do with your rankings or organic performance. As professionals, we understand the plugin limitations.
Using an SEO Plugin, we set up the titles, meta descriptions, canonicals, no index directives and other basic settings.
Internal links play a crucial role in passing page rank when you have a popular page in your website it’s important to link this page with another more relevant page internally. We use different techniques to calculate these scores and build an internal linking guide. We also train the content writers on how to use these processes.
Preparation and going live
Setting up redirects if necessary
Redirects are used mainly when we do re-designs. The idea is to ensure the old pages are correctly pointing to the new pages, so they’re not lost when we go online with the new site.
Indexing the web pages (Google and Bing search console)
Once the site is launched, we will verify and configure the site with the Google and Bing search console. The Search console provides a way for the webmasters to communicate with Google and get updates and issue reports from Google and Bing.
We will submit the sitemaps of the website to search console for it to be indexed in their database. It’s an essential step as search engines can naturally find these URLs, but it can be a slow process. We will speed it up using the search console.
Track keyword performance
We will add all the keywords to a dedicated rank tracking tool. With this tool, the keywords will be tracked daily, and the client can see the performance at any time.
After we launch the site, we will perform weekly checks to ensure everything is going according to the plan. We will look for error messages, pagination issues, indexing issues, redirect problems etc. We will run plenty of checks to ensure the site is healthy and error-free.
I hope this article explained you our SEO process. Keep in mind that all of the above tasks are considered on-page technical optimisations. Doing the above tasks will not guarantee high rankings. However, having the on-page optimisations in place can significantly help boost the performance of the site. We always recommend clients to focus on building authority (Links) and branding to provide search engines with additional signals.
About the writer:
Suganthan Mohanadasan is an experienced International digital marketing consultant from Norway. He is presently working as a freelance digital marketing consultant helping medium and large companies around the world, among them Dekode. He has a passion for SEO and especially cracking difficult SEO problems. Connect with him on Twitter and Linkedin.