Key phrase Selection
Keyword selection is one of the most important steps in the search engine optimization. There are several important aspects to look for in a keyword that is likely to prove successful. Firstly it is vital that enough people actually search for a particular term. Secondly it is necessary to analyze the competitors that already hold the top listings for that phrase. If the top 20 results in the major search engines are held by dominant authority sites with high page rank ratings it is extremely unlikely that a new website will be able to have a strong impact. Finally the key phrase has to be considered in relation to how well it relates to the page that it will be linked to. For example, for businesses it is integral that they not only generate traffic but also that the traffic is likely to convert to sales. Typically highly generalized keywords will generate traffic that is looking for information rather than products or services so it is worthwhile looking into more specific long-tail key phrases.
When designing and building a website it is enormously beneficial if the key phrases have already been selected. This allows the developer to tie the different sections of the website (or product categories for e-commerce sites) to the keywords making each of these sections far easier to optimize for in the long run.
One of the first steps that a SEO specialist will take when beginning to optimize a website is to analyze the website and create a list of recommendations on what can be improved to give the website the best chance at achieving high rankings. While often these changes are relatively straight forward to implement after a website is completed it makes far more sense if these recommendations are made early to allow the website designer to implement them on their initial build. By doing this the owner of the site can save considerable amount of time and money that would have been incurred by writing and then rewriting the code and content on each page.
Another reason for starting SEO before a site is completed is that the copy on the site can be written with search engines in mind. While it is obviously important that the website is written for its human visitors first and foremost there are some straightforward SEO techniques (such as utilizing the keywords in the text and linking to other relevant pages on the site using key phrase appropriate anchor text) that can help boost a websites ranking. By figuring out the key phrases early and writing SEO friendly content from the start, a lot of the time and money that is often spent redrafting content can be saved.
Ultimately while it is perfectly possible to embark on an SEO campaign after a website has been completed it usually makes far more sense to start it early and then build the site with the SEO in mind. This can save considerable amount of time that rewriting Titles, headers, descriptions, content, etc can take and result in a website that is ready to launch with the highest potential to rank highly.