If there’s one thing that everyone understands about having a baby, it’s that everything is in a constant state of change. From daily schedules to finances, there’s a lot to plan for the future of a new life.
As a business owner, the same concept should apply to your website. The world of technology and digital marketing is in a constant state of flux. As a result, it’s important to plan ahead early on to get the most out of your site.
Preparing for the future of your website is a concept known as future-proofing. This requires flexibility and planning on your part in the design process. The planning ensures your site is still able to serve your audience in the years to come.
Ready to begin or continue future-proofing your site? We’ve got the tips you need!
What is Future Proofing? Why Does it Matter?
Future-proofing is a concept that can be applied to many aspects of a business. Most organizations are asking themselves what they can do to better prepare for the unknowns of the future. After the onset of Covid-19, this became especially true. For many businesses, making moves to future-proof their website is an important part of the overall planning and design process. Technology and the way users interact with it are constantly changing. Planning ahead to allow flexibility within your site helps ensure your website will still be able to serve your users for years to come. One important aspect of future-proofing involves the site structure, SEO, and keywords incorporated into your site.
SEO Practices to Future-Proof Your Website
Perform a Site Audit
Attempting to prepare for the future of your website will do you no good if you don’t have a starting point. To know where to start, we recommend first performing a site audit. This will give you a general idea of the overall health of your site. To do this, we recommend using the Site Audit tool from Semrush. The site audit provides you with helpful insights about everything from broken links to crawlability. Those insights give you a good place to start in terms of what needs improvement on your site. In addition to performing a site audit, we suggest using Semrush to also perform a competitor analysis. Based off a list of competitors that you compile, this analysis helps you understand what your rivals are doing. By uncovering their strategies, this gives you the opportunity to alter and improve your own techniques and approaches.
Understand your Target Audience
Before approaching keyword research, you must have a solid understanding of who you’re writing and designing for. To accomplish this, take time to understand who your audience or target market is as a user. When they come to your website, what are they usually searching for? Does the design of your site provide them with solutions to their issues? Are those solutions easy to find? When you are intentional with meeting your users’ needs and giving them design and content that resonates with them, this helps to build overall trust. Knowing your people is a mandatory first step before diving into keyword research.
Strategic SEO Practices - Keyword Research
After you have a solid understanding of who your audience is and what they’re searching for, it’s time to utilize keyword research. At its core, keyword research involves identifying the words or phrases that users are searching to find solutions and answers to their problems. Once these keywords are discovered, they need to be implemented on your website and/or your blogs to help impact your SEO.
If you understand what terms people are searching for, you can be intentional about ensuring your content shows up within those searches. Your content should be created with your audience in mind. What you create and how you create it needs to be informed by how it will best serve those users. Impactful keyword research leads to traffic growth, gaining new customers, and more. Develop your website as the solution to your user’s questions. Doing so will establish yourself as a valuable tool that helps to launch your users into success and predict the future needs of your audience, allowing you to future-proof your website.
Create a Keyword Map
After performing keyword research, you can use this information to create a keyword map. Based on your list of keywords you discovered from your keyword research, you will then decide which pages of your website you want to rank for that specific keyword. These keywords will be grouped, making the process more manageable overall.
Reorganize Your User Flow
You’ve got your audience, keywords, and content down, and it’s time for the next step. Knowing what your users are looking for and including that on your site isn’t enough if the organization is missing. To think through the user flow, you will need to consider how your content is set up, how it’s presented to your users, how this will be experienced over time, and more. Ask yourself- is the content your audience is looking for easy to find? How do users typically navigate your site? Does this help them obtain their goals? You may find that parts of your user flow need reorganizing to better meet the needs of your users.
For some content, this may look like combining pages or archiving them altogether. If this is the case, 301 redirects come in handy. Changes on your site are inevitable, and a 301 redirect allows you to ensure your site is sending people, and web crawlers, exactly where they need to go. This boosts your SEO and preserves your backlinks– all important parts of future-proofing your site.
Routinely Optimize Your Keyword Map
Like many things in life, impactful SEO is never a one-and-done situation. Routine SEO maintenance is critical to the health and success of your website now and in the future. Keyword mapping is a systematic process that requires consistent follow-up and tweaking. You should focus on frequent routine SEO maintenance as your site and users shift and change. Just as you wouldn’t clean your house once and never do it again, you won’t update your site then decide it’s good enough. Routine maintenance helps you continue to meet your users’ needs, no matter how they shift and change.
If you want your site to meet the needs of your users now and in the future, your future-proofing process must involve intentional SEO best practices. From keyword research to routine updates, following these steps will help you better understand your audience and their needs, ultimately allowing you to meet those needs with the content and design of your site.
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