Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Your web designer MUST know something about SEO!

I have been overwhelmed recently with work which is great but some breathing space would be nice!

I intend to blog before 07:30am UK GMT from now on, in a timely disciplined manner, though this will not be on a daily basis as I attend breakfast meetings once or twice a week.

Ok where are we... ah yes, being overwhelmed with enquiries for work recently has lead me to realise there are a lot of web designers out there who do not seem to adhere to even the most basic of web design best practices.

I'm not that bothered if web designers continue to use tables in design layout though they really should be learning CSS layout for their own (future) benefit.

What really gets me are some of the following situations I have discovered:

A - now new - client rang in to advise that up until last year they had a website that did quite well on Google, enough for them to risk an improvement in the look and feel of the website. This was carried out in January 2007 and since then the site has crashed out of the search engines.

So I checked out the current site - full of dropdown menus and imagery on the home page with a pretty little flash animation taking up half the page "above the fold".

Pretty animation? Yes. Useless? Absolutely!

I checked out the old site on Wayback and immediately saw that even though the design was rather uninspired there was enough good HTML content and textbased links that the search engines had gotten their teeth into. The client admitted they could not understand why they had lost rankings and their "web designer" didn't understand either. Kind of left me stunned, I would expect a web designer to know even the very basics of SEO!

A second client also came to me saying she had paid a youngster to build her website for her and she was keen to get it on a search engine's results pages (SERPS).

Ok lets make this clear now for those of you reading, you do not put your business or marketing in the hands of a youngster so why give them your website to build? My clients answer was "down to price" - turns out the client is going to have to spend more for me to fix the web page problems. I had to explain I could not compete price wise with someone at school or college.

What I did offer the potential client was experience in SEO, knowledge of marketing and a PROVEN portfolio in generating success for website owners.

Checking out her site I again saw images being used in place of HTML TEXT... don't ask, I believed the site had been built this way to save the "designer" time.... or in my opinion showed a lack of experience and control over tables and cells in HTML. The content on the home page was not targeted and did not even feature a key phrase associated with her industry so this website would stand no chance of ranking.

So now I have to charge this lady's start up business far more to improve the HTML code as well as optimise the rest of the website content and links. You can imagine my new clients annoyance at having to invest more money and time in her website when she initially set out to save money.

So please if you are setting out on the path of becoming a web designer, at least go take a look at the basics of SEO if only to give your clients the best value possible.


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