In a bid for ultimate superiority over the rest, many specialist internet marketers bash on each other’s trade, claiming their own to be more important. SEOs bash web designers and vice versa, paid search marketers bash on SEO and all the others, and content marketers claim ultimate supremacy.
Best Web Design and SEO Tips
This has been the game for many years now, and it may not really end with an article or two. However, from the beginnings of the battle, we’re closer to reaching status quotes, where everyone understands the importance of all other internet marketing techniques to the success of their own. Because at the end, the client wants one thing and one thing only: a great looking website, with good user experience and high ranking status.
Where does the fight begin?
It’s the same old story really: web designers and developers claim that rankings are not the mother of all things, that SEOs apply aggressive and sometimes anti-design techniques which don’t avail much. SEOs conversely accuse web designers of unnecessarily complicating their lives through poor coding and design practices that pay no mind to SEO, stating that user and search friendliness go beyond just web design and content.
In one article, a web designer claimed to have the perfect recipe on conducting website SEO. He claimed that SEO can be done by a good enough designer, as well as a number of arguments that saw him bear the brunt of personal and professional rage from SEOs all over.
While making valid arguments, including the fact that in-house teams can offer better content than outsourced agencies, and that site owners should loosen up their obsession with Google rankings, the author severely undermined what SEO is about and showed general ignorance about the real essence of SEO.
This, of course, attracted a series of rebuttal articles from many members of the SEO community, giving their reasons regarding importance of SEO in the present climate.
Where is the sense?
Anti-SEO posts are always met with a series of hyperbolic reactions, which is really the wrong way to go about getting a solution. In theory, the whole argument makes sense, but in a practical sense, it really holds no water. Both the designer and the SEO work for the same client who just wants to get the best of both, i.e. conversions and traffic.
Who attacks who?
It’s common to chalk up any attack on incompetence to attacks on the entire profession, because that’s the easier way out. If both the designer and SEO were to do their job properly to improve a client’s wellbeing, would there really be any attack? Frequently,however, the party attacking an individual’s or agency’s incompetence turns the battle towards the entire profession, and the cycle begins again.
In truth, every industry has its shortcomings, meaning that it isn’t fair to attack any entire trade because of a few bad elements. Gone are the days, for instance, when black-hat SEO practices held sway for rankings. Today, the best way to drive SEO marketing is through improvement of user experience in every aspect of a website, i.e. content, web design, linking etc. A few bad elements should not cause derision for the entire trade.
What’s the answer?
It,of course, starts with education to improve each professional’s understanding of the role of the other. Google has almost completely obliterated black-hat SEO practices through manual, Penguin and Panda algorithm penalties. However, it doesn’t just end there. The web designer and SEO must collaborate and fulfill their responsibilities towards meeting the ultimate need of clients.
To begin with, professionals should educate clients that it really isn’t about one or the other, especially where clients have a limited budget. Try to see what can be done in both SEO and web design for the budgetary allocation a client gives, and explain the full consequences of an incomplete strategy.
The first step in impressing search engines is impressing users, and that begins by creating a website they love and can use. Over the years, the definition of ‘what they love and can use’ has changed. As of today, it includes creating a site that is optimally displayed and easy to interact with on different mobile devices, and there are different trends that enable this.
In conclusion, clients stand to benefit when each professional does their best to make the work of other internet marketers easier. We conclude with a list of best practices for both professionals towards this end.
Best practices in web design
- Adopt responsive web design and a mobile-usability mentality for better mobile access, bearing in mind that today’s consumers would like a similar experience on mobile that they would get on desktop.
- Improve page load speeds for mobile sites by optimizing elements like images. Ensure the page loads in 5 seconds or less.
- Ensure site readability – text fonts should not break layouts if users access the ‘Zoom text only’ function.
- Employ, where applicable, the latest design trends, but not at the expense of user experience and search engine friendliness.
- Think about what you can do to make a better experience for those who are visually impaired e.g. optimize alternate text for images. Google considers this highly.
Best practices in SEO
- While keywords are slightly less important today than a few years back, they will not ever die. Today, however, the importance of proper keyword research and intelligent application thereof is augmented.
- Regular mobile-centric keyword research is also important, especially since search terms are frequently changing to include ambient shortenings.
- Improve your back linking strategy using non-text/non-usual content like infographics and video content. Meanwhile, strengthen guest blogging and newsjacking for high value, high quality backlinks.
- Focus on advanced techniques to diversify your link profile. No matter how legitimate, over-reliance on one link-building strategy has a negative effect on link quality.