SES Chicago: Finding Balance In SEO

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Crafting a site involves people with different focuses and skill sets. Allowing them to run free instead of working together is a recipe for disaster.

SES Chicago returns, and WebProNews is on hand to bring you reports and videos from the Windy City. Enjoy our coverage this week.

United we profit, divided we watch someone else come along and take all of our clients. Though wordier than the original quote, it summarizes what speakers at the SES Chicago session on SEO & Development: Get It Together! wanted to communicate.

Geoff Karcher called for checks and balances in the process of site building. Designers, coders, and SEOs all have different areas of focus.

Those efforts need to add up to one effective website. If the development and the optimization staffers clash, due to the disparate areas of focus, problems will ensue.

Sage Lewis said both sides tend to have points of view that are ready-made for colliding. Developers don’t understand the value of what SEOs recommend. The SEOs frequently take an inflexible stance and an all or nothing attitude.

It’s not healthy. Communication will help.

When teams operate in silos, as Colton Perry observed, lots of bad things tend to happen to a site’s potential optimization. Developers put up barriers to optimization:

•  Text as images
•  Splash pages
•  Spider traps
•  Poor coding
•  Poor, vague, or No title tags
•  No sitemap
•  No image title tags

The panel advised businesses to do some due diligence when looking for an outside SEO company to improve a site’s rankings. They noted anyone can show you results as long as they handpick their clients.

That makes it important for a company to find the SEO’s clients and contact some of them directly, to find out how well the SEO performed for them.

WebProNews Internet reporter/anchor Kara Ratliff contributed to this report.

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SES Chicago: Finding Balance In SEO
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  • http://www.surreypcsupport.co.uk/website_support.html Surrey Web Support

    The article’s point about bringing together different disciplines is valuable. A point we try to get across to the small business owners we support.

    To an extent, the root of the problem lies in education. We were recently asked to assist with work placements for students on a web design degree course. Only to discover that out of three years study, the time devoted strictly to SEO was a magnificient two days.

    No one expects absolute expertise in all fields but by failing to make students aware of optimisation needs, colleges are failing their future clients. Many of whom believe the purpose of a site is to attract business, by being well optimised. SEO needs to be demystified and hammered home from day one. Then young designers can talk to clients about helping their business, rather than just creating a pretty website.

  • http://www.ipowergrfx.com Daniel Blasco

    I know some instances where you are right on this issue, but I also know where the opposite tends to be more true. Small sized businesses that are late in leveraging internet technology and don’t have any way to objectively weigh the information they receive from their vendors can generally benefit from letting one company take point and run the show — as long as they’ve done the due diligence to know that one company can perform. The teamwork model can be a good one towards accomplishing things, but remember also that wars are typically won by the decisions of a single general who understood the dynamics between all the elements and made the correct decisions often alone and with only a moment’s notice. We tend to place a lot of politically correct emphasis on the importance of teamwork, but historically, most major accomplishments were crafted by individuals and carried out by folks who grumbled along the way that it wasn’t gonna work and whose opinions were never requested. Early on, internet technology and its countless elements were legitimately unknown and hacker types experimented, discovered and paved some now familiar paths. Today though we are at a point where enough time has passed where there are people in our industry that really are good, that really are just slowed down by committee decisions because they have the experience to make objectively good decisions that are not experimental in nature or in need of a consensus. Remember, leading by consensus is what a leader does when he’s not completely sure where to go. So in short, clients who cannot overcome the internet technology learning curve are often better served by a responsible and accountable dictator than they are by a team of different specialists — whether they balance each other or collide either way.

  • http://amerlandent.com David Amerland


    Hi. You are absolutely right in your article on balance and how developers and marketers can wreck a site if allowed to operate in a silo. I actually have a classic example. We had a client who approached us in March last year. At the time they had a website (www.texasrealestatemagazine.com) which was receiving traffic of approx. 1,500 visitors a month based on a PPC campaign (that was costing them thousands) and an ‘SEO’ contract that was costing $6,000 a year and consisted (as far as we could ascertain at the time) of building three links a month and submitting the site to search engines for indexing (at a frequency which almost amounted to spam) plus the writing of a monthly report telling the site owners how well they were doing.

    The site was in Google’s 30th to 50th page for most target search terms (it deals with advertising Real Estate in Texas), never mind the 10th and a quick analysis determined why.

    The way the site had been put together content from the magazine edition was being uploaded as images of pre-print PDF files, without alt tags and even page descriptions thereby rendering 90% of the new content invisible.

    The only reason the site was showing up where it did as opposed to nowhere at all is because the PPC campaign (in both Google and Yahoo!) was actually driving substantial traffic to it.

    We transferred the site into a dynamic content management system that allowed its owners to upload content that was readable by the search engine bots and pages could be optimised with page descriptions and keywords.

    We educated them in the use of Alt Tags with images and links and carried a brief one way link-building campaign for them which gave them a modest 300 one way links from high-ranking sites.

    End result of our re-design was that in less than two weeks after we finished the site appeared organically in Google’s first page for ‘Texas real estate’, a search term contested by over 30 million other pages. It has, since, ranked equally well for over 300 search terms and counting. It gets over 6,000 visitors a month and serves more than 80,000 page views. The traffic has enabled the site owners to monetize the site and actually make more than $5,000 each month from what before was an inert site that was draining their time and bottom line. They have completely dropped all their PPC campaigns – they attract all their traffic organically.

    To them our intervention and work seems like magic. To us it was a case of straightening out a coding, design and SEO disaster and making sure that harmony was put in place instead. The site owners have a lot of highly specific content they put in place each month, like they did in the past. Had their site been designed right in the first place they would have never even required our services.

  • http://www.rankbetterseo.com/ seo company chicago

    There always needs to be a balance between seo and design to much of one and either your rankings suffer or your conversions will suffer.

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