Where does SEO belong in your web development process?
Rebecca McIntyre
Head of Operations
28 May 21

SEO or Search Engine Optimisationthese three letters (or words) carry a whole lot of weight when we’re talking about digital marketing. SEO is critical to a website’s traffic success. If you rank up highly in searches due to your SEO, of course, it’s going to positively impact the volume of visitors that go to your site. As such, it’s important to be meticulous and integrate your SEO in your web development process. 

People think that SEO is only the copywriter’s job. It’s not. SEO is a team responsibility from the copywriter to the web developer. It’s a team sport wherein each one has a role to play in the end result. Designers create beautiful interfaces. Copywriters write engaging content. Developers combine them and bring it all together with code. 

So where does SEO fit in all this process? You might be thinking you hired a copywriter to do that for you, but that would be irresponsible on your part. SEO has to be part of the entire process. You can’t just leave it in one part of the process or in the hands of one person. 

Every search engine has its own SEO standards and algorithm. If you want to rank highly, you’ll need to take a well-rounded approach to SEO from conceptualisation to actualisation. SEO should be integral to the entire web development process

Where does SEO Belong in Your Web Development Process?

The short answer is: everywhere. You should always be thinking and planning about your SEO strategy from the very beginning until you launch your website.

Proposal Stage

During this stage, your client will probably tell you that they need a website so that they can sell their products or services and grow their presence. Sounds easy, right? But what they really want is a website to help their business get found online. How do you do that? You need to create a website that will rank well in search results. However, an effective website takes more than just slapping together some copy and designs. You need a website that is optimised for search so that it can do what your client wants it to do. As such, you need to be meticulous and map out every detail that needs to be done on your end. Think about the cost, timeline, and process flow. 

Now, comes the tricky part. What do you tell your clients? For one, you need to set the right expectations. Websites don’t work like magic. Just because you have one doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get all of the clients knocking at your door. However, it will really boost traffic and sales (provided that the SEO is done well).  Two, you need to set limitations with the revisions that they can make. Just because they’re the boss doesn’t mean they can abuse you and your team. This will also help the process become more efficient. Three, you need to justify what you’re about to propose in terms of scope and cost. 

You need to address the SEO aspect during this part but the problem is some of them don’t understand what SEO is. So, explain it in layman’s terms. It’s your job to make your client’s life easier, so instead of boring them with the technicalities of how you do it, explain how it will get them the results they need. In other words, don’t delve too much into the SEO tasks. Instead, just spell out the benefits. For example, you can propose things like:

  • Content that’s engaging and understandable for search engines
  • Responsive web design that works well on all devices
  • Well-secured website to keep all your business’ data as well as visitor’s data safe 
  • Web pages that provide optimal user experiences

By doing this, you’re framing your work in a way that the client actually understands.  The goal is to get them onboard with your SEO web design services.

Setup and Planning Stage

So your proposal got approved, now what? You work with the foundation. Since you’re just in the early stages and not yet working on the coding and optimisation, you’ll need to make sure that the baseline is strong and reliable.

First, review the client’s design assets. Knowing what they have and what they don’t will help you have a clear idea of what they need. It can also come in handy for SEO to make sure that their logos and other image assets are not low quality and outdated. If you’ve seen their assets beforehand, then you can let them know which needs to be replaced if they want their website to accomplish what it wants it to do. Humans are visual creatures so if they don’t like the way your website looks, they’d bounce. As easy as that. As such, if you don’t want the bounce rate to kill your client’s website ranking, make sure that you evaluate what they have and make the necessary suggestions or adjustments so that your client’s website can reach its full potential. 

Second, work together with the copywriter. The copywriter may be responsible for the content for your website but if you’re not working closely with them from the start, there could be problems later on. There’s an ongoing debate about the merits of content-first website development versus the design-first website development, the answer is this: build them together. They should go hand in hand. For starters, if the writer and designer don’t work closely at the beginning, they may come up with different ways to handle the style and layout. But if you establish guidelines from the start (using wireframes), you can avoid any confusion and disjointness in how the copy and design will work side by side. 

You’re going to wireframe any website when you build it anyway, so you may as well include the writer on it. This way the designer and writer can be on the same page from the beginning. Better yet, let them collaborate on it so that they share insights on things like optimal text length, marketing messages and so on. The more the designer and writer collaborate from the start, the less back-and-forth you need later on. 

Design and Development Stage

This is the most labour-intensive stage. Of course, this is where coding and designing begins but that doesn’t mean SEO is not needed here anymore. On the contrary, you’ll need every bit of optimisation here.  Here’s a SEO checklist to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything:

SEO checklist

Reminders when using this checklist:

  • You don’t have to do all of them. If there’s anything in here that’s not relevant to your client’s needs. Feel free to delete the row or ignore it.
  • If there’s something missing, feel free to add or customise it the way it suits your business. 
  • If you don’t think you’re professional or expert enough to check the on-page SEO, let a proofreader or editor handle it.

The key takeaway

SEO doesn’t belong only to the content of your website. It belongs in every aspect of your web development aspect. Don’t just put the responsibility on the copywriter or the web developer, each one has a role to play. Whether it’s in the quality of the code written on the backend or the keywords you need, you’ll need team effort to make it work. Without collaboration and coordination in your SEO team, it might be hard to deliver the results that you promise to your clients.

If you would like to discuss how Boom Now can help you with your SEO strategy please call 0413539700 or email or submit a contact form.