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Graphic Design by Peter

Design that moves

Good Design & SEO Living in Harmony

May 29, 2015

Good Design & SEO

Good Design and SEO can live together in harmony. Typically, most people go out and hire and web designer to build an elegant website that looks fantastic. Then the site goes live and no one visits the site. Month after month the number of visitors to your site can be counted on one hand.

After a few months of frustration, you decided to hire a Search Engine company to help you get visitors. They come in a with their web audit and tell you all the things wrong with your site. It goes something like your title tags, H1 tags, meta tags suck. Your images are not optimized and the list goes on and on. They say not to worry we can fix it. You sign the dotted line and they get to work. Once they are done, your once award winning site now looks like someone threw up on it. Even if you get visitors to your site, no one is going to buy anything since it’s hard to navigate.

Great web design and SEO and can live in harmony, but it takes some work and compromise. I talked with Jason Scherer, owner of 28 Circles a Denver SEO company. Jason is my Denver SEO expert. I call him all the time for what he must think are simple questions.

Can good design and good SEO exists on the same site?

Jason: Yes, it sure can. There needs to be some give and take on both sides of the table. A good designer should be able to work with a SEO consultant and a good SEO consultant should be able to work with a designer. There has to be a balance between the 2 to achieve the end goal of helping driving traffic to a site which will converts. Traffic that doesn’t convert is a waste of bandwidth, but a site that can’t be found is a waste of good design.


Who do you start with first the web designer or SEO consultant?

Jason: Both actually. When you are shopping for a designer, you should be shopping for a SEO company. Find a company or person you communicate well with. Communication is the key. If they can’t communicate well with you, then how well are they going to communicate with each other?

Before meeting with either, you need to have clear business goals on what you want your website to do. Do you want traffic for people to buy online? Do you want traffic that is going to call you? Do you want traffic that is going to convert into foot traffic into your brick and motor location? Clear business goals are going to give direction to both designer and SEO.

What are somethings to think about when setting up a site structure?

The SEO should dictate the overall site structure, to meet your business goals. They might suggest a silo structure or a complex silo structure. Also, they are going to know if your keywords are going to need separate pages or if they can be grouped on the same page.

The designer, is going to help with the user interface. While a silo structure might be great for rankings it might not be great for conversions.


There are a lot of companies that do both web design and SEO do you recommend them?

Jason: That is a loaded question. Maybe is the best answer I can give you. Most designers and SEO are small companies. When they see a chance to grab revenue they do. So if an existing client ask if they can provide SEO services or vis versa, most likely they will say yes. There is some overlap between the two, but it’s like asking your proctologist to diagnose why you have headaches. He or she might have an idea about the headaches, but you would be better off seeing a neurologist for your headaches.

Personally, unless you are working with a large firm, you will be better served by hiring 2 companies. From what I have seen, designers understand what SEO is, but they don’t know how to implement it. SEO is always changing, Google and other search engines are always change their algorithms, and to stay ahead of the competition, SEO companies, good ones, are always testing different methods.

This holds true for design. Design is always evolving. Technology changes, and designers add a new trick to their bag. Look at what HTML 5 did to web design. It opened doors to things that were not possible before. Even not considering changes in technology, design is always changing, what is hot today might not be tomorrow.


Any advice on selecting a designer and SEO company?

Regarding a designer, I would review their portfolio of work. Their portfolio will speak volumes about the kind of work they do. If you see the same style over and over, unless it fits your style, then run, because most likely you will end up with that style of design. A good designer, is going to have a variety of design styles in their portfolio. This means that they are versatile and can listen to a client.

Concerning, SEO companies, find out if they specialize in your field. They might be a specialist for local SEO, national SEO or product SEO. Make sure that their specialty  matches your business goals. See what they have ranked other clients’ for. If they can rank for hard keywords then they are golden. If they are ranking for some obscure terms, then run away. Don’t worry too much if they are not ranking for SEO Company insert city. SEO keywords rankings bounce all over the place. Also there is a lot of black hat jockeying going on for those keywords.


Any Final thoughts?

Jason: I have always gone with my gut. Sure do your due diligence, but when it all comes down to it, my gut feeling has always worked we for me if 2 companies are on the same plan.

There you have it, SEO and design. It can live in harmony, you just need the right people/companies to help you out. 

Update: August 10, 2015

Jason indicated there was some major changes this past weekend with Google, Bing and Yahoo. We will be doing an updated story in the near future. 

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