SEO and Web Design: The Perfect Marriage

by Gary on July 2, 2009 · 16 comments

in SEO

I just finished reading Justin Brigg’s post “9 SEO Tips”. The post may have a boring title but his tips are pretty sound. I especially liked tip number 5, which tells about the power of the hash #, something frequently overlooked, if known at all, by SEO newbies. On my next post I will be expounding on the uses of the hash but for now what I’ll really be writing about was inspired by the accompanying illustration on the need to compromise to come up with a good web design. The illustration, which I’ve shown below, may seem funny but is perfectly true.

As I have written back in 2008 both in my posts entitled “More than Just Optimisation” and “SEO Doctors: Educating our Clients” it is clear that many times clients ideas on how to “optimise” their website may not necessarily be what we know should be done. What I haven’t touched on though is the difference in priorities between web designers and SEOs. I say priorities because more often than not both parties acknowledge the work the other does though they of course give more emphasis on their expertise. As Justin shows us though, just like in real life what ought to be done is often the intersection of two opinions.

Web designers deal with the user interface and so have to focus on the aesthetics as well as the user experience. SEOs are concerned with search engine algorithms and so need to focus more on technical aspects. The thing though is that these two are not mutually exclusive and in fact should go hand in hand. As experience has shown as following good web design practices ends up benefiting SEO efforts and vice versa so there is no reason why web designers and SEOs shouldn’t work together to come up with what’s best for their clients’ sites.

To SEOs my advice would be to follow web design trends because as I said earlier following web standards for good design benefits SEO efforts most of the time. Do not wait for someone to confirm something you know to be good for users to be good for SEO too before you act on it. Stay on top of things. Search engines algorithms are constantly improved upon so you never know when they start factoring in better practices. And as search engines become more intelligent you can bet that with their aim to give users the best possible results they’ll be giving more weight to web design aspects.

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  • Richard Cummings

    The two disciplines should, ideally, be a perfect marriage but more often it is the disgruntled one. The designer simply wants it to look good and “the people will come” whereas the SEO Expert knows that the people will only come if the proper roads are built to get there.

  • sathish

    I agree with you Hannah.Both web designers and SEOs should work together to get better results…

  • sathish

    Hi Hannah, you are correct both web designers and SEO must work together to get positive Results.

  • Jan

    Web Designers and SEO is a perfect combination. I am now learning to design website as well.

  • allen

    well i also would agree with you. May be that’s why now a days designer have started learning SEO techniques just to make there design search engine friendly and user friendly too.
    As it is said that to get the best result one should have the best team similarly if both would work considering the requirements resulting into best output than but obvious target would be achieved
    well i would agree that its not always that everything have to be done as per SEO as at the end website are made for user and search engines are just the platform which helps to reach to our targeted audience

  • odchudzanie

    I also must agree with Your thesis Hannah. But I think that real open-minded cooperation between web designers and SEO specialists is just like a nice dream that will never fulfill. In my opinion most web designers work at the first stage of website position creation and SEO specialists are working after the site is done. So (in most cases) this cooperation will be impossible because both sides will never meet!

  • Gary

    Hi odchudzanie, maybe it was the case a little while ago that designers and SEOs worked completely independently but in my experience the two roles now often have greater degrees of collaboration with by necessity designers having to learn what SEO friendly structure is all about. Call to actions, conversions all require a blend of design/SEO.

  • Joe

    Good informative article indeed! I’d refer a website to be designed up to the customer’s satisfaction level before starting up SEO work on it.. However, changes can be made according to the situation and client’s will.

  • Liza

    Unfortunately web designers often know nothing about SEO even when they think they do and online marketers often know nothing about web design or the actual coding of the site. It seems that you’re either a master of one trade or a jack of both, but master of neither.

  • Adrian

    Great article – I can see the importance of the Web design team and SEO working together – to get the best results for a website!

  • jay @ work at home

    I have noticed some designers designing different themes that are SEO friendly. From what I can understand this works perfectly.

  • Kyle Richey

    The concept of designers understanding the form AND function of their designs is crucial to the success of the project.

    While this is applied in the offline World on virtually everything from print design to branding and advertising, SEO has yet to catch up.

    Great post,
    Kyle

  • Aira Bongco

    A combination of SEO and a nice website design is perfection. One complements the other.

  • Jane

    Good points. Both SEO and web designer play an important role in marketing a website. Web designer to make catchy designs for the audience and SEO to comply with the requirements of the search engines.

  • nick

    SEo plays a important role in we designing. As it is seo which makes the optimizing of the website as well as improve the ranking of the website..so this topic is absolutely write both depend own each other…

  • nick

    absolutely write both SEO and web design is depend on each other…seo help to optimize the web design as well as increase the page rankin of the website and if website trafic increases it totally depend upon the SEO….

    Great article – I can see the importance of the Web design team and SEO working together – to get the best results for a website!..
    thanks for sharing….