Do Web Design Firms Really Know about SEO?
So SEO isn't sexy. We know that. Should that stop web marketing companies from paying attention to it. NO! But I recently heard a comment I had to disagree with and I decided to blog about my response. So the comment was about Web Design Firms and developing sites that are search friendly. "Anyone worth anything in the web design space should know the SEO part". Oh I wish it were so. It should be so. There is enough research and educational material to tell web site developers that eliminating barriers to search engines is critical. But it isn't getting across. Flash is sexy. Entry pages where you have to pick your country is efficient. Minimal content on a page is clean looking. Sure, but search drives sales.
Usually optimization tactics need to be retrofitted into an already designed site. Or, when an SEO expert is brought in, a site redesign is initiated. Usually it ends up as a 4 way battle between the search expert, the designers, the developers and the CEO. SEO isn't about adding anything that the visitor doesn't want to see anyways. It is about giving search engines what they crave - content - in a format that is appealing and visible to both them and visitors.
An example of design gone wrong - Focus4. Focus4 just spent about $50+ to reach me through direct mail. And yet, their web site is unsearchable from the home page. Their result in Google for their own domain name is embarrassing. I know the graphic designers were doing their best to provide a website that reflected the company product line, but they forgot two things: search engines don't like flash and visitors don't like flash. Sigh....