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Does Your Designer Do SEO?

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Lee Odden has an brought an interesting issue to light in one of his latest blog posts.

The issue at hand is client/web designer/SEO relations and responsibilities. I wanted to expand on Lee’s topic for a moment and discuss a few of my recent relationships with clients and their web designers.

Client #1 – a local business

Client #1 needed to get a website designed for her business. Her goals were to get traffic off the internet to give her a call regarding the services she offered. The client found a designer who claimed the website he designed would be “optimized” and search engine friendly. With no reason not to believe what the designer promised, the client proceeded with the web site design project and is now upset at the lack of rankings in the search engines.

Client #1 came to me with this website that had been designed for a cost of around $2000. I would say normally for this type/size of project the design fee was fair. However, to help this client out, I must essentially redesign parts (read most) of her website to get it to a point where I can start optimizing. The design itself looks pretty good, however heavy use of images and the limited/somewhat weak information architecture will make it difficult for me to optimize(on-page) without redesigning the site significantly.

I now have to tell the client in order to get the best results, the website she not only just paid for but put time into as well, must be restructured to succeed in the search engines. This is a very hard part of my job. Obviously the client is upset with her designer and has to consider whether she has any more budget to throw into this project to make it a success.

Client #2 – brick and mortar retailer

Client #2 runs a retail business in town. He just finished with a design company building a website and e-commerce store. Unfortunately, the design company used off-the-shelf shopping cart software that can’t be customized to utilize some SEO tactics I feel are important for the website.

I met this client at a social function and when I told him what I do for living he said “I’ll need to call you next after the official site launch.” Of course I smiled and nodded and said “sounds good.” It was too late to intervene. Client #2′s website would be launching in the next few days. This client knew about SEO, but thought it would be a better “next step” than to consider SEO in the beginning stages of the website design project.

I have a couple more examples that I will share in another blog post soon. For now I think is important to note that my point is SEO education for web designers is a must. They don’t need to do the SEO work, or even understand some of the more technical concepts, however they need to be SEO aware. The designers that add “search engine friendly” or “search engine submissions” to their design proposals without fully understanding the issues, should seek professional SEO help. In most cases these designers are misleading their clients (even if not intentionally) which is no way to run a business. At the same time you could argue “buyer beware” still applies for clients.

So for all you designers out there, get a grip on what SEO services you are offering and promising your clients. Go out and do a little reading and seek help where you need it. Of course if you are a designer and are reading this post, we probably don’t need to worry about your SEO education

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Mike ‘The Internet Guy’ Belasco owns and operates a search engine optimization company in Denver, Colorado. Mike specializes in search engine marketing for small businesses. You can read more content from Mike on his blog which can be found at http://www.miketheinternetguy.com/blog.

Does Your Designer Do SEO?
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About Mike Belasco
A thought leader in search engine marketing, Mike Belasco, president of seOverflow, began his journey in the mid-90's developing websites and studying search engine optimization when it was in its infancy. Mike continues to live and breathe all things search engine optimization ensuring that he and his staff stay at the forefront of the industry. He also regularly speaks at national industry events and conferences. Mike is a certified Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador. His blog was named 'Best Local Search Blog' in 2006 by Search Engine Journal. Mike holds a business systems information degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. WebProNews Writer
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