Which Comes First SEO or Website Design?
This really is the chicken and egg question of the internet marketing age. Depending on who you ask will determine the actual answer you receive.
A graphic designer will argue that in a majority of cases the design comes first, of course. Without an aesthetically pleasing design, a visitor will bounce off your site within a matter of seconds. Not so fast. How did they get to your website in the first place? A great looking website is nothing if there is no one to look at it.
Even if you intend to employ Google Adwords, you will soon realize you are spending a fortune to make your sales. That is usually when the SEO expert gets called in because of some research someone did to see how to properly market a website. Then you learn from your poor design that it will take 6 months or so for the major search engine marketing campaign to try and rescue your website rankings.
Is this really the best way to go? The thousand of business owners that have been through this exact cycle will certainly argue that it most definitely is not the way you should go, especially when the owners of these sites realized when it was too late. There was too high an amount of profit, potential, and clients lost because the design looked great to humans but was invisible to the search engines.
What is really laughable, though, is that if you actually read the sales pitch on any one of the myriad of web design companies that own websites, many of them blatantly claim to be SEO experts as if it is a badge of honor or perhaps a must have tick in the box. However, a quick check of their portfolios soon reveals that if they are search engine marketing experts, then it is clearly evident that their clients are definitely not on the receiving end of any claims they make.
Can you implement site optimization into the design before you launch a website? Yes! The web design and SEO should go hand in hand. The thought process of optimizing a website and SEO friendly website design should form the foundation right from the outset, so ultimately the content and design will capture free organic search engine traffic and also mark the website as a potential authority on the product or service.
You should remember that search engines do not care about what the site looks like: it is what’s behind the scenes that make the site so much more relevant to them. However, if we go back to the example above, my new client’s initial chance to make the best impact on the search engine when the site first got indexed was wasted. In contrast, the extra time and money spent on predevelopment SEO, including the keyword research and SEO copywriting gives an outstanding return on the investment of the website. This also gives you a far better chance of getting good website ranking from day one and even, in some cases, a page-one result faster than you might think.
If a web designer is not promoting web design SEO as part of your initial client brief, then they are selling you short. Now that you have read this Blog, even you have only read this post, you know how to (look at?) the ranking of their referral sites to see if they know anything about SEO. If your web developers are not SEO experts or if they are not showing results in 6 months in terms of better rankings, the best practice would be to team up with an SEO professional to work with your web designer.
If you are implementing your own SEO, you need to set some SEO design goals for your website. Let’s take a look at the different design or redesign goals for your website in the next sections to best design your website for both search engines and visitors.
Your Site Design Goals should be:
If your website is a business, then your website most likely details the sales aspect of your business. Whether a visitor can buy right there online or has to contact you in other ways, this has to be addressed in the design. So when you design your website, optimizing your website is one goal, but making your website easy to navigate, getting more visitors, and getting leads are another.