Websites are often built without Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. While this may be fine for a personal site or blog, it can be devastating to a commercial website whose main purpose is to attract traffic and make money. A lack of SEO generally leads to a lack of web traffic.

When it comes time to address this issue, the solutions can often be both complex and expensive. Many out-of-the-box template based websites are completely riddled with code errors and dead links from the get-go. More often than not clients opt to start from scratch rather than tangle through the rat’s nest of shoddy code that is their website.

This SEO check list will start a website off on the right foot and ideally save time and unnecessary expenses. (SEO) SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION 101.

Here is a list of things to consider before building a website:

1- Domain Name- When potential clients are looking for your services on the web they will not type in the name of your business…instead they may type “mls nc listings wilmington” or “wilmington homes for sale in nc”. The best choice for a domain name will have very high search volume (a lot of people type it in the search bar) and very little competition (your competitors are not already capitalizing on the terms.) This is a delicate balance that will be further addressed in bullet 3 (keyword research).

As mentioned, you will still try to get a domain name that represents your company like “”This name will not be attached to a web page but rather set up as a 411 redirect (just like call forwarding for websites).

2- Architecture- All sites start with a home page and a number of sub-pages. There should be a specific page for each of your services which will relate to your best keyword phrases (see bullet 3). It is also important to keep each page no more than one click away from any other page (the Google bot’s algorithm loves this). This can be achieved by making a link available to every page on the site in the bottom margin of each page. The entire site should also be indexed with a.xml sitemap (some SEOs argue against this point). The fact is, the easier it is for Google to read and navigate your site the better your chances of an awesome ranking. And forcing your clients to click around your site to find what they need results in “stickyness” a term used to describe the amount of time a client spends on your site. Google tracks this and sites with more stickyness