How to Write the Best SEO Specs for New Websites: A Professional Guide to Scoping SEO-Specifications and SEO Best Practice for Your New Website or Webshop
When you’re ready to create a new website or make a completely new version of your existing one, it’s advisable to specify as many details as possible about how you want it to look and function before you build anything. You cannot expect your website designers and developers to read your mind, so ideally you should present them with at least two key documents – a design manual and a technical specification.
The design manual will set out your graphic design requirements, by specifying a particular font that you want to use, your logo, colors, and any other graphical identity elements you want to include in your new website. It will describe all of these in detail so that the designers fully understand what you want them to build.
The technical specification document should provide a detailed description of the technical architecture of your website. This would include your web server, database and programming language requirements, connections to all existing systems (e.g. financial software, CRM, etc.), which page types and functionalities you need, and any other technical requirements.
The document may also include simple sketches of each type of page on your site with descriptions of the links and functionality you want on each one. In other words, the technical specification should provide a complete blueprint for developing the website so that it will do everything you want it to do, in the way you want it done.
Unless you’re a fully competent graphic artist, system architect and programmer – and not many people we know (ourselves included) can claim to have mastered such an impressive array of skills – you should involve your designers and developers in compiling these two documents. They have the relevant skill sets to help you describe your requirements in such a way that a professional design and engineering team will have no doubts about what to make or how to make it.
Your development team will use the design manual and technical specification document to estimate how long it will take to create your new website. Alternatively, if you choose to employ an external agency to make the website, they can use the specifications as the basis for a proposal and budget.
Preparing solid, detailed design and development requirements is the only way you can expect to obtain a realistic time and cost estimate for your new website. Without them, your developers will have to guess – and even the most experienced professionals will sometimes guess wrong, resulting in unnecessary delay and expense.
So, once you’ve created the specifications described above, you should be ready to start on developing your new website – right? No! Sorry, but there’s one more, very important piece to the puzzle that needs to be specified to produce the perfect website: Search Engine Optimization – SEO! The design and technical specifications ensure your site will be properly built; the SEO requirements will ensure your audience can find it.
The purpose of creating an SEO requirements document is to describe in detail everything that directly influences SEO and your ability to employ search engine optimization techniques on your website.
Like the specifications for design and technical development, the SEO requirements document is the only way you can ensure that your website is fully optimized for search engines and equipped with the administrative functions you need for your ongoing SEO efforts.
If you don’t make a detailed SEO requirements document before building a new website, there’s a high risk you’ll end up with a site that’s not as well optimized as you had hoped and lacks the administrative functions you expected. Why build it if, by default, no one can find it?