At what stage do you optimise a site?

Hi all.

Just wondering what stage of building a site that you would do the optimisation. I would have thought this would be very early on so that you can plan your internal links, headings and copy.

I also understand that it’s an ongoing process, but this is related to the initial seo.

Any thoughts?


I tend to optimize my website (in every respect) as I produce it, I never leave anything till the last minute and prefer to make adjustments as the potential for them appears. For example I always write content before producing a website, therefore any copywriting or optimization of the content would occur before the design. :slight_smile:

It is a part of every step in the process. If you keep it in mind as you do all the oter steps then it doesn’t need to be done separately at all.

I optimize at the very beginning. When I make a website I usually write a page or two if that’s not a blog, then start optimizing. First, I make sure that the website is indexed by Google. Then I finish the website, make sure that the on page optimization is done correctly. After that, I submit sitemap and start promoting the website.

This is how I optimize my websites.


There’s no incorrect answer to this question I don’t think.

I regularly do SEO for sites that have been established for years, it’s not an option to do it as I build the site as it’s already been built. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever be in a situation where you have to completely redesign a site or have to completely change the content because you decided to try and rank for a particular keyword phrase, the site should already be about the subject you’re trying to optimise for right? So all that needs doing on site is making sure that the keyword phrases that you’ve decided to optimise for are in the right places on page, Title, a heading, the first para, that sort of thing. It takes 5 minutes to do on-site SEO.

The bulk of SEO work is done off-site, identifying the keyword phrase you want to target and building links to the pages you’ve optimised. So IMO you can optimise a site whenever you’re ready to and I wouldn’t stress about not optimising a site you’re building, you can just do it when you’ve finished building it.

The phrase “measure twice - cut once” springs to mind. Optimising as you write/design/build will mean you won’t have to redo everything later, saving time, money and effort.

That’s what happens when it wasn’t taken into account diring the design and build process - you end up needing to employ someone else to do it aftwerwards as a separate step. That would likely end up more costly overall but can still achieve the same end result.

Also starting SEO at any point in the evolution of a web site (even those established for years) is better than not doing it at all.

On-site SEO, as you mention in your original question, should really be thought of up-front during the earliest stages of development. I agree with everyone else here in that it just takes less effort and costs less to do it correctly the first time around.

Off-site SEO can be done at any time and should generally be done continuously. Building links to your site isn’t going to do very much good until your website is complete so I’d probably use the website launch as a good time to start that.

Which can happen for many reasons including the site owner not even being aware of the existence of SEO. It doesn’t mean there’s been any failure whatsoever since as I explained in my post above, it takes very little time to do on-site SEO, much much less time in fact than it can cost you when you decide you don’t like the colours you used after all. Seriously, how long does it take to add a keyword phrase to the Title, a heading and once or twice in the copy to a handful of pages on a site? 15 minutes? Maybe half an hour if you’re really slow at it?

Also, markets are ever evolving and SEO should keep up so just because you SEO’d your site when you built it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do new keyword research and target new keywords, or makes changes to existing on-site SEO, tweak it a bit based on results. There a zillion reasons to do SEO to an existing site, and you think I don’t look at SEO in a holistic way Stephen.

I changed my mind about there not being a wrong answer to this question, there is. Anyone who says SEO MUST be done at the start of a project is wrong.

Is better than not doing it at all? Implying that the best time to do it is at the start of a project? Sigh. See above.

I can’t agree mate. On-site SEO is such a tiny part of a thorough SEO job that it just doesn’t even factor into the equation for me. By the time I’ve finished doing keyword research and started the long process of link building, 20 minutes spent adding a few phrases to a site is nothing. It doesn’t change the time I spend on it so it doesn’t affect the cost.

I think the problem with this conversation is that it is one we shouldn’t be having.

SEO should not be regarded as an action or activity, unless something is broken or not done correctly.

SEO is the best-practice approach to operating a website at every level. Whether it be on-site (site architecture, coding, writing) to off-site (above/below the line marketing) - before, during and after a website is built.

The fact that most companies/entities that own/operate/develop/design/market etc a website don’t take the care and effort to apply the fundamental basics at each stage or holistically means that more often than not, “SEO” people are brought in to rectify this.

On site SEO is the part of SEO that you do. If you get it done right then the off site SEO takes care of itself. The millions of incoming links will be created over time by the people who like what they see on the site and decide to link to it. You couldn’t create all those links to your site yourself even if you wanted to because you don’t have access to update most of the sites they are on and probably don’t even know that many of them exist.

If you are spending huge amounts of time yourself on off site SEO it means you didn’t do the on site SEO properly.

SEO is a long time process. First you need a site analysis in order to do steps for other methods and techniques of SEO.

People with stunningly fascinating red hot link bait content that gets them ‘millions’ of links and fantastic rankings don’t come to SEOs for help. Strangely, it’s the ones who aren’t getting visitors because no one wants to link to their sites who want SEO.

What I know to be the best way to get resilient rankings and what reality throws at me are rarely the same thing, you try coming up with some wicked hot linkbait content for a sheet metal pressing website that currently has no links, or for a local plumbers merchants, in other words the type of clients who make up 90% of my website/SEO work. The fact is that identifying the keyword phrases they have a chance of ranking for and then artificially creating the backlinks is often the only way to get these sites a decent set of rankings and that takes up 95% of the SEO work and adding the keywords to the site a very minor job. Even if I can find a way for a client to come up with some link bait I still have to go out and kickstart the link acquisition, adding the article or guide or whatever it is to the site, again, takes 5 minutes.

What Google would like in their ideal SERP world and what you think is SEO are a long long way rom the reality of nitty gritty day to day SEO.

Focus on your goal and that is to improve your site.

I agree with you in most cases, but some people just need what amounts to an online brochure. In those cases, SEO isn’t a necessary step.

I disagree. You’re limiting the definition of SEO to marketing. SEO has a broader scope and also includes making sure that search engine spiders are easily able to read your content. If your website is meant to serve as an online brochure but the spiders can’t read the navigation, then it’s not optimized.

Iam using SEO method to optimize website …
On Page Optimization : choice and improving keyword in URL, Title, Content, Keyword Tags…
Off Page Optimization : social bookmarking / social networking, froum submission, article submission, press release, blog commenting, ect …


By “brochure” I mean something the business will specifically send people to for information. Kinda like you hand out a brochure, or mail it to someone…people don’t just find your brochure (usually)…a lot of companies just want some website up that showcases their past clients or something like that. When a new potential client shows up, they direct them to the website for more info and then take it from there.

For those types of sites, SEO is unnecessary.

Dont do any off page optimization for the site which is under construction.

That seems rather strange to me, how can you optimize any website off-site… you can’t. If you mean drawing backlinks or advertising or marketing through other sources, that’s totally different to SEO (at least from my viewpoint). The whole perspective of SEO is based around making the website as visible and easy for spiders and perspective users from finding your brand (through how your website was constructed and “put across”), when you start adding backlinks or adverts (which granted are a part of the task), you’re falling more into the realm of traditional marketing, not SEO itself. I would also argue that off-site marketing isn’t a sign of on-site failures, it’s more in respect to increasing awareness beyond where your brand would naturally occur. :slight_smile: