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Do Seo's Only Do Seo Or Do They Do Web Design Too
Posted 23 February 2005 - 02:12 PM
If a customer comes to you and doesn't have a website, and you don't design websites, do you refer them on to someone else to design their site? If so, do you then optimize the site for them once it has been designed?
Do the majority of SEO's just focus on sites that have already been created?
Posted 23 February 2005 - 02:24 PM
My hunch is that those who don't provide design services have arrangements set up with a designer or two who can do that kind of work. SEO's refer business to the designer; Designer's refer business to the SEO.
More and more these days even the moderate sized firms seem to be going to a business model where they're effectively a One-Stop Shop. Sometimes they're all in the same office, like the new business that Jill created recently. Sometimes they're not all in the same office, but the disconnect is fairly transparent to the customer since the SEO and Design workers function in harmony.
As to the last question, I would say that most SEO work historically has come from people who already have a web site. Though often it has needed a total overhaul for multiple reasons. Most medium and larger companies already have some sort of site, even if they're not really doing anything with it. Smaller companies or start ups generally speaking won't have or want to spend the kind of money it takes to design and optimize a site right off the bat. Unless they're totally web-based.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 02:30 PM
Do all SEO's code? No, not all of them, although I'd venture to say that most of them have at least some knowledge of HTML and code issues.
But taking an already written website and 'optimizing' it is one of the tougher tasks in SEO - It's far simpler to design a site from the ground up with SEO in mind. Good SEO is done with the user in mind from the start, not just the search engines - Remember the white-hat SEO mantra: "If your users will like it, chances are, the search engines will like it, too"
So, most SEOs would rather be involved in a situation from the start, where it's much easier to make decisions and changes that affect usability (and thus SEO) issues, than after the fact, when the coder has to go back in and remove half of his or her code.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 03:53 PM
Probably the majority of SEOs work on their own affiliate sites only, building from scratch as the opportunities arise or mature. There are thousands of people skilled in SEO who prefer to work the affiliate angle rather than have to deal with clients, deadlines, etc. Some of the best earn far more than their equivalent client-serving SEOs several times over.
Then there are SEOs who (like me) charge by the hour and the actual grunt-work (all the stuff that takes time rather than moment by moment expertise) is done by far cheaper employees.
There are naturally many designers who fancy their skills as SEOs but still make web design their primary business (and indeed, many clients will pay far more to have a site built than to have it optimised, so the business case is certainly there).
However, recent times seem to have brought an upswell in demands for custom-built SEOed developments, such as search friendly shopping carts, search friendly content management systems, and even more exotic developments that rely on SEO skills being applied right at the beginning of the build stage of database-driven applications.
In summary - its way too broad to generalise easily, but if anything, there's probably a very large majority of SEOs that are also involved heavily in development and design.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 03:54 PM
Posted 23 February 2005 - 04:14 PM
Posted 23 February 2005 - 04:19 PM
I am looking at it from the case that the web designer doesn't know SEO, and the SEO doesn't know web design.
It would seem like a waste of time for the SEO to have to redo the content on the page after the web designer designs it.
I hope that made sense.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 05:29 PM
In my company, we are working really hard to stay away from the actual design and development aspects. We DO outsource some development or we refer the business to someone we have and do work well with.
The SEO guy not having any design or development skills is pretty rare in my experience, many came from that arena. But then all of that is not strictly SEO, it's SEMarketing, or Web Marketing. We also do not re-do content, we make suggestions and if they are approved, we implement them for the better-ment (new word) of their campaign and results.
And finally, as stated by Raphael - I love to be involved from the beginning - the end product is always better because a firm foundation was laid at the time of the build.
(Man am I talkative today...)
Posted 23 February 2005 - 05:39 PM
What I have found is that selecting designers who know enough about SEO to know that they need to have consistent navigation and text on the pages that they want the search engines to find is a WHOLE lot easier than trying to work text into an image-only brochure later or coming up with a workaround for an all flash site.
So, if I'm in on an initial project or a redesign project from the beginning, I can steer the client to a designer who understands the basics and WILL design them an SE-friendly site from the beginning.
I wouldn't say work closely with them, as in approving every page and hassling over the details, because if you work with the right people, you don't need to do that.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 06:13 PM
Very well said Scottie, indeed.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 06:56 PM
This may seem like a dumb question but if you steer the client in the direction of web designers who know enough about SEO, why would the client hire you to optimize their site?
Posted 23 February 2005 - 09:00 PM
The next most-critical step is the proper keyword terms. Without keyword research and digging in to some competitor sites and the brains of the client, you could be focusing on the wrong words or the wrong combination of words.
Then there's on-page optimization including title, tags, and copy. These are critical and most designers aren't also writers and reserchers!
The next phase is linking- directories, relevant complementary sites, articles, releases.... all the creative stuff that gets the client link in front of people who are interested in it.
Then there's analytics and roi, tweaking, user paths, improvements... etc.
There are LOTS of reasons to use specialists... the best designer, the best SEO, the best writer, etc. There are very few people talented enough to do it all well.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 09:46 PM
I guess originally I pictured in my mind that the web designer did all the content and then the SEO came in and redid the content. From what you are saying, the SEO will fine tune the content that the web designer did if I understand correctly.
I understand the rest of your steps involved.
Thanks. That gives me a clearer picture now.
Posted 24 February 2005 - 12:28 AM
Good SEOs generally DO provide content through their own copywriters. A design company that an SEO might refer someone to would be one that knows how to design a "crawler-friendly site." Not one that knew and provided all aspects of SEO.
Scottie's post above describes the various job functions well.
Posted 24 February 2005 - 12:39 AM
I did SEO for a site once in which 32 people showed up at the initial meeting. THIRTY TWO!!! And there weren't even sandwiches!!
In such cases, the SEO will be just one more step required in signoff / approval.
In terms of SMEs, from my experience I tend to talk more about fleshing out a site's content, and talking about how to make a better site that is a more effective sales tool. Many sites simply lack the reuqired elements to drive enough traffic to be successful.
If you are looking to outsource SEO, it is certainly a good idea. A good SEO will make you more money, as they will most probably recommend changes that you will be paid to implement. Even better, if the client sees results, like more enquiries, more sales etc, then they will put more money into a site which, again, benefits you. If you can negotiaite a commision for referring a client to an SEO, even better.
If I can offer some advice in terms of selling your own service, if you know a little bit of SEO, I'd pitch your services as SE Friendly, i.e. all your pages will be indexed, but mention that a comprehensive SEO (or even better SEM) strategy will cost extra.
Similarly, you can upsell clients on professional copywriting, tracking and reporting, link building etc.
If you outsource these elements, and recieve a 15% cut from all those services, your business would generate more money without having to learn new skills or find new clients and without detracting from your core competencies. This will also allow you to better sculpt packages to suit a clients needs, exectations and budget. Small budget: SE friendly site with no massive problems. Medium budget: Professional SEO copy and report. Large budget: reporting, tracking, SEO copy, SEM strategy etc etc.
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