Monday, February 8, 2010

Web design warning signs: #8 - No discussion of SEO strategy

As we saw in my last post, web design goes hand-in-hand with search engine optimization. If your prospective designer doesn’t want to talk SEO, you definitely have a web design red flag.

Both the content and structure of your site will help make it easier for users to find your products via a search engine. Let’s examine a couple of key pieces of the SEO puzzle, and discuss why your designer needs to be involved:
  • Site architecture: The way your site is globally put together can affect your search engine ranking. For example, including keywords in the URLs of your sub pages greatly improves their search value. That is, “” might be much better than “” or “”. Pages even further down the site hierarchy can benefit from this kind of advanced planning, like, “”, which now has more keywords in the URL than simply “fly fishing”. Your designer should be considering the overall structure of your site and how pages can be organized the most logically. This will almost certainly improve your SEO as well as overall usability.
  • Keyword-rich text: Search engines will read your page to determine what it is about, so your copy needs to include the keywords your potential clients will be searching for. If your designer wants to create a beautiful, minimalist page with no text, design the site completely in Flash, render the text as an image, or bury the text in a footer or on a sub page, this may work against your SEO strategy.
  • HTML layout: Certain HTML tags, like headers, also clue in search engines that this is the most important content on the page. Your designer should work with you to make sure your page is organized logically to allow sections with headers that represent important words for your marketing niche.
If your designer is not willing to consider and work with you on the items above, be careful. A beautiful site that no one can find will likely not meet the goals of your web marketing campaign.

In addition, other, less visible, parts of your SEO strategy should also involve your designers – check out our next post for more.

Read the full series: Top 10 Web Design Warning Signs


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