Do You Need to Start SEO Right Away When a New Site Launches?
New websites are expensive. When the new site launches, it might be tempting to say, "Hey, I should save money now. Let's just wait to do marketing."
On the surface, it may seem like a smart move. After all, you just laid down a nice chunk of change to get the website up and running. And now you need to spend more money?
There's also another theory: Hey, this website's amazing. Marketing? We don't need no stinking marketing. If you build it, they will come.
Mixed movie metaphors aside, this might seem reasonable. After all, a great website should attract customers, right? Absolutely. Of course. Without a doubt. But only if they find you.
Here's an even better theory: You just spent a bunch of money on a new website. Now's the time to make sure it pays off. Starting your SEO and internet marketing immediately will give your site the boost it needs to be successful. In fact, your SEO and marketing should begin before your site launches.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong when a new website launches. You can actually lose the rankings you previously had in Google for a variety of reasons:
- Google can't crawl your content
- Proper redirects aren't in place
- Page titles and other on-page factors have changed
- Sitemaps aren't generated or submitted
If any of these things go wrong during the site launch, you can find yourself slipping back in the rankings—or even disappearing completely. Traffic will drop, sales will plummet, and you'll start to wonder if that new website was a big waste of time.
Additionally, an SEO/marketing campaign will make sure that shiny new site is more than just a piece of eye candy. You want to be sure you're collecting and analyzing data immediately—and acting on it. You want to be sure you are researching new opportunities. You want to be sure you are reaching the right customers. You want to be sure the site is optimized for search engines and for conversions. A new site by itself doesn't do any of these things.
Waiting to start SEO is like buying a brand new Porsche without tires. Hey, maybe I can save a few bucks if I just use the old tires from my 2004 Pontiac Grand Am. Sure, they have 90,000 miles on them and probably don't fit the Porsche, but tires are tires, right?
Yes, tires are tires. Your car will still look great without those new ones. But don't you want to make sure you have tires that match your capabilities? An SEO/marketing campaign can do that for your website.
There's another reason to start your SEO campaign as soon as possible: SEO takes time. It's not an overnight fix. Think of it like a good exercise regimen. You need to do it constantly to stay in shape. If you decide to take a few months off, you aren't going to look as good when you start again—and it's going to take even longer to get back to where you were before. Your business probably can't afford these setbacks or delays.
A new website is often a necessity, but it shouldn't exist in a vacuum. You want your new site launch to go as smoothly as possible. You don't want to lose any rankings. You want to gain as much visibility as possible. You want to be able to collect and analyze data from your visitors. You want to make informed changes that can improve your conversion rates.
There's an old joke that a new computer is obsolete as soon as you take it out of the box. Websites are no different. Technology changes fast. Google changes fast. If you want your website to be relevant the day you launch it, you need to invest in the proper resources to maintain it. Waiting to start SEO might put you in a deep hole that will end up costing you much more in the long run.
Don't launch a new site without a marketing plan. Whether you plan to hire an agency or do it in-house, make sure you know what the next steps are after the site launch. Otherwise, you might find yourself sitting on an amazing new site that no one can find. Meanwhile, the competition will blow right by you—and you may never catch up.
This post is part of Internet Marketing Mysteries, a weekly column addressing actual client questions related to SEO, analytics, website best practices, and any other topic connected to internet marketing. Have a question you'd like to see tackled in a future post? Let us know in the comments.