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Wondering When to Do SEO? The Time is Now!

Many business owners wonder about when to do SEO (search engine optimization) on their website. Is it during the planning stage, after launching, or once your site has already gained some traction?

Spoiler alert: SEO should be done right at the beginning. 

Of course, it doesn’t always happen that way! Keep reading to learn more about why the best time to start SEO is as soon as possible, how getting an early start sets you up for success, and what to do if you already have a website.


When to do SEO


If you’re asking the question, “When should I start SEO for my website?” the answer is: now! Whether you’re just starting to think about a website for your business or you’ve had one for years, you can start SEO.


Of course, the most ideal time is before your website ever launches. In a perfect world, you’d work on SEO at the same time as your website design and copy. But we realize that not everyone knows that when they’re building a new website…and that’s OK! It’s never too late to start building an SEO strategy.


When should I start SEO for my new website?


Foundational SEO strategy should ideally be done before your website.

The words, design, and strategy behind it all should be rooted in SEO. That doesn’t mean you need a million pages targeted around high-quality keywords right away. It’s more about establishing foundational SEO on core website pages – whether that’s one or five. 

As you grow your offer and your brand, you can build out in-depth, client-centered SEO research and content strategy. 


Why start SEO early?

Here are just a few benefits of diving into SEO early in the website development process:

  • Foundation for growth. Implementing SEO best practices from the beginning means that your website is structured and optimized for search engines from the start, which in turn, makes future optimizations more effective and less costly.
  • Better design decisions: SEO is about so much more than keywords. It affects website design, content placement, and user experience decisions that enhance usability and visibility.
  • Competitive advantage: Beginning SEO early allows you to start climbing the search rankings sooner.


Milestones for SEO planning

1. Keyword research

Identify the terms, phrases, and questions your audience is using to search for your products or services.


2. On-page optimization

Use your keywords in page content, meta tags, headers, image file names, and alt text to get your site ready for search engines.


3. Technical SEO

Make sure your website structure and technology are optimized for speed and search engine indexing.


4. Content Strategy

Once the basics are in place, develop a long-term plan to answer user questions, build authority, and drive traffic back to your website with targeted keywords.


5. Monitor and adjust

SEO isn’t set-it-and-forget-it. Keep an eye on what’s working (and what’s not) and keep adjusting to adapt to your clients’ needs and search algorithm updates.


What if I already have a website?


It’s never too late to start SEO! If your website has been live for a while, there’s a chance that you’re doing something “good” for SEO, even if you didn’t do it on purpose. And that’s great! An SEO expert can help you take a closer look at what you’re already ranking for, so you don’t undo user elements, content, or URL structures that are performing well – and help you create a strategy to start targeting new keywords 


Does my website have SEO?


If you’ve had a website for a while, you might be wondering if it already has SEO. Technically, all websites are crawled by Google and have the potential to rank in search results. That being said, “SEO” stands for “search engine optimization.” If you’re not intentionally optimizing your website for search engine rankings, then you don’t have SEO. 


How can I tell if my website has SEO?


If you don’t know if your website has SEO, then you probably don’t have an SEO game plan in place. 

In most scenarios, your website does not automatically come with foundational SEO. That’s a super common misconception that we see all the time. Clients often come to us after investing in a brand-new website with another designer, only to realize that no SEO was set up. 

We also see clients who had strong SEO on a previous site, only to lose their traction because they worked with another company who didn’t properly maintain previous SEO gains. 

If you want a deep dive into where your website stands right now, you can perform a DIY SEO Audit or hire professionals (like Southern Creative) to do one for you. 

A review of your current site can help identify what’s working, technical issues, content gaps, and missed SEO opportunities before developing a new plan.

Now you know when to do SEO


The best time to start SEO is as soon as you decide to build a website. That’s the best way to lay a solid foundation for a site that’s built with both users and search engines in mind. 

But even if you already have a website, you can take steps to assess your SEO and make it better.


Ready to level up your SEO?

Download our SEO checklist to give your website searchabilty a boost! 


SEO Blueprint Call

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Snag your spot for a one-hour consult to answer your burning SEO questions and deep-dive into your SEO strategy. Walk away with actionable next steps so you can start getting found online where your potential clients are searching.

Steph O'Keefe, SEO strategist and WordPress designer sitting at desk wearing a white shirt in Raleigh, NC.

I'm Steph!

I'm the Founder and creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a. your SEO strategist and web designer.

My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is while we launch your dream website that shows up online.