There are some important SEO considerations when setting up a new website.
Certainly you wont want to lose any rankings and also the well earned equity you already have in your site. Also, if you choose your content management system with care you will find that this simplifies your SEO efforts….
The Content Management System – CMS
Selecting a Search Engine compliant CMS is essential to effective SEO. Specifically the following points would provide for an ideal environment:
1. Urls are generated such that the names include target keyphrases, for example www.yoursite.co.uk/blue-widgets
2. The CMS will allow for all metadata, on a page by page basis, to be completely editable, specifically the CMS will allow for the following metadata to be added to each page and edited:
NB. When on page metadata is edited the existing url name needs to be kept the same.
Separate fields in the CMS admin system should be presented to the user for each of the above tags such that it is as easy as possible for the user to enter appropriate metadata.
4. If the urls/metadata are generated automatically as pages get added it is important that the urls and metadata changes can be decoupled from this and overridden going forwards.
5. The CMS should allow for new pages to be added to the site easily. In these cases the user needs to ability to specify the url of the page and, as above, metadata and on page textual content needs to be prompted for and editable.
If the page subsequently gets edited it’s important that the urls and metadata stay the same.
The CMS needs to be flexible enough to allow for different design/page layouts to be incorporated going forwards.
6. On page textual content should be editable in a similar fashion to the above – ie a specific field should be presented to the user to prompt for on page textual content for each page. This text should be formatable in a similar fashion to a Word document. The user should be able to easily incorporate anchor text based links to other pages.
The Site set-up and Architecture
1. Ensure all pages for which ranking is required are within 3 clicks of the homepage – and that important pages for ranking are within 1 click.
2. Ensure there’s enough on page text to capture target keyphrases on pages for which ranking is required – at least 250 words.
3. Ensure navigation and in page text links include relevant keyphrases. (no ‘click here’ or ‘more’.
4. Register with Google Webmaster Central and ensure relevant settings are made. Specifically:
i) Geographic targeting – ensure relevant folders are allocated to relevant countries.
ii) Site mapping – ensure dynamic site map set up such that it changes automatically as content changes.
iii) Set up analytics and tracking codes to ensure adequate monitoring and analysis of traffic.
iv) Robots.text – ensure set up to eliminate pages where ranking is not required. Ensure accurate file is in place as site goes live.
5. Old pages will need to be mapped to new ones using 301 redirection as soon as the site goes live. This will transfer the search engine ‘equity’ to the new site.
There’s more detail on how to do this for different server types here – 301 REDIRECTION OPTIONS.