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SEO During Website Design – Why It's Important

     -     Jun 15th, 2012   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

If you didn’t have the chance to attend the AAM/AICPA Tech + Conference in Las Vegas this week then you missed out on a number of excellent marketing, technology and accounting session. I had the unique opportunity to present a session on SEO Basics to a room full of accounting marketers and practicing accountants. Having spoken on the topic previously, I was not expecting to encounter new questions or from the audience. However, as is usually the case when I make assumptions I am proven wrong.

At the conclusion of the presentation I was approached by an accounting marketing professional who is in the initial stages of re-designing her firm’s website. She wanted to know what SEO elements she should be incorporating into her design so the site could be SEO ready upon completion. This was an excellent question and one that many times never comes up. For some reason, SEO is generally considered AFTER the website has been designed and launched. Unfortunately, that’s akin to building a new home and only after it’s completed, thinking about where to build the front and back doors. It’s something no one would do in reality, but with websites it happens all the time. 

SEO Considerations in Web Design

So what are some of the things one should consider from a SEO perspective when in the design stages of a web redesign? Some items to consider include:

  • Home Page Layout – This is the most important page on the website for several SEO reasons. Since this is the first page your visitors will see it is essential to have 2 to 3 places where you can post rotating ads, banners, or content that will entice the user to dig deeper into the site. Since the accounting industry is issue and deadline driven you will need to have the ability to switch out the banners on a regular basis (and if you’re smart without needing to involve the web designer for each little change). Additionally, any content that appears on the homepage gets the high ranking by Google and other search engines. So carefully plan out what type of content deserves “front page attention”.  
  • Customizable Text Footer. This is something that every website should have regardless of what service/products are being offered. The purpose of this feature is that it allows you to enter geographical and related keyword service terms on each page.  As an example, Sample CPA firm offers accounting, audit, tax and business advisory services to companies located in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Minnetonka, St Louis Park, and Hopkins MN. Search engine spiders will see this information and index your website according to the mix of words used.
  • Sitemap Review. Prior to designing your new website you should have a completed sitemap. If you don’t have one or are simply using the content layout from the previous version of your site, then you might be in trouble. One of the items that search engines look at when ranking a website is how the content is organized. The more clicks a user has to make to find information the less relevant the content appears to search engines. The logic is the most important information will be the easiest to find. The less important the more difficult it will be to find. So be sure when reviewing your website sitemap that services information are no more than two clicks from the homepage. Supporting information and some types of resources can be more than two clicks away, but this is the general rule of thumb.

Conclusion

This is just a sample of some of the SEO elements that should be considered when designing your new website. It’s important to note only have a great looking website, but to also have a practical arrangement so you can properly attract and engage visitors (and search engines) to get the best position possible. Tell us…have you recently redesigned your site? What was your experience with this?


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