The Importance of Combining Web Design and SEO

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We’ve written here how an SEO team and SEM team need to be in contact with each other, because if they’re not in communication the two teams can actually conflict with each other.  For example, a search engine marketer may invest in a PPC account that is already well-covered by an SEO’s organic traffic campaign.  The SEM should have done a bit of research to check if this is so, but you cannot always count on this kind of communication occurring.

In the same respect, your SEO team and your web design team should be in communication as well.  Web designers can be notoriously anti-SEO.  I’ve worked with a web designer before who refused to do the (minimal) extra work to make permalinks on a site have titles, rather than numbers.  His excuse: he didn’t “believe” it made a difference.  Web designers sometimes want to be as Flashy as possible (note the capital F) and this can often run counter to the principles of SEO – namely, getting the entire site properly indexed.

Web designers will say that SEO is unnecessary because “Google is smarter,” which is really a euphemism for “I am lazy.”  Setting aside issues of keyword-targeted content, anchor text, and other similar issues that may change in Google’s algorithm, one thing won’t change – the usefulness of having well-constructed and useful web content on your site.  So that content needs to be well-displayed on the site, as well as unique.

Monetization and Web Design

Another thing that won’t change is site owners’ desire for that content to be well monetized.  Monetization is where web design and SEO meet.  Some questions to ask are:

  1. Where does the content sit on the page?
  2. How are the links to other articles and products laid out in relation to content?
  3. What’s the first thing a visitor sees when coming from a search engine?
  4. Are there additional prompts for lead generation or sales, such as pop-ups?
  5. Are these pop-ups well-designed?
  6. How can visitors find other content on the site?

If the site is not a straight blog and instead uses an article format, a web designer needs to have a good grasp of what makes content readable and accessible.  On the web, simple is often better, and for web designers, more is often better.  So consider the SEO’s job to temper the designer’s overuse of complicated design.  The goal of everything on site – content plus design – is to lead to more sales or to lead generation, so accessibility is key.

A web designer can do a lot to make content stand out – and to make content more eye-catching is potentially to make it more marketable.  For a blogsite, a designer shouldn’t stop at the header, but should design unique date and time stamps, comment buttons, graphics separating posts, and so on.  This will go a long way towards making sites stand out from others online, as the age of generic blog sites has passed a long time ago.

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