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Is Seo An Extra Skill Or A Prerequisite?
Posted 25 September 2007 - 05:53 PM
As far as I'm concerned, there are only two ways to design a web page:
1. Shoot for number 1 for at least one keyword
2. Keep it out altogether so that it doesn't show in the SERPs anywhere
When I make a page the optimization is as much a part of the process as the text, graphics, layout, etc.
Posted 25 September 2007 - 07:13 PM
IM is maturing. It is now becoming for many a real business tool, which it was not for the majority of site owners for the majority of the life of the net.
They need either IM people in a company to hire subcontractors (designer etc.) and manage IM. It is then their responsibility to understand their own needs.
Or... they need an IM consultancy that delivers (very possibly by subcontactors) IM and all its components (including SE friendly site).
In these cases, a design company may choose to know about design in order to create products that suit their clients needs (if their clients understand their needs) but they are not responsible. Designers are engineers and technitions, they may be great at what they do, but they need specifications in order to do their job properly. It is not their job to analyse needs, this is the job of inhouse managers or external consultants.
The problem is end users expect internet marketing to be really easy and work by itself. It doesn't work that way. If a company go and hire a web designer and expect them to comeup with the right IM strategy that is like hiring an architect and expecting him to find a site near a school.
Posted 26 September 2007 - 06:16 AM
And I see it applying to any product, be it a website or latest toy/gadget, as you could argue, a product design team, designs / invents products, it is up to the manufacturing department to make the product and the marketing team to market the product.
neither department should be expected to know the others job.
But these analogies work only when it is a large company with clearly defined deparments, budgets and targets.
the problem lies with smaller companies requesting the services from smaller companies, where many employees wear many hats, and some expectations are wrongly assumed, possibly based on their own business model.
If you hire a 1 man band web designer, is it fair to expect that 1 person to know everything about everything when if it was a larger company with departments, many of the 'parts' that make up the website developement would be handled by their repective departments.
I think both sides need to make it clear what the design company is offering and what the client is expecting, never assume anything!
Edited by 1dmf, 26 September 2007 - 10:52 AM.
Posted 26 September 2007 - 10:47 AM
Posted 26 September 2007 - 05:00 PM
The sad part is that many small business owners I've talked with at various business meetings/functions thought they were getting Design, SEO and SEM all for their couple thousand dollar investment in their web site. They're pissed as all get out at their Designer or SEO since they 1) Thought they were getting that; and/or 2) Thought the amount they paid was far too much since they're used to paying next to nothing for an ad in their local paper.
I have always enjoyed telling those folks that if they wanted to hire or anybody else who was well enough versed in all aspects of all of those disciplines to pull it off or who to outsource stuff to they should expect to add at least 1 zero, if not two or more.
The jaw drop when the truth smacks them in the face from soneone who isn't trying to get in their pocket is so much fun to see in person. Whch is one of the reasons I'm so very, very glad I don't take on clients these days. The small business owners accept it because I have nothing to lose or gain by telling them the unvarnished truth.
Then, to make the feel a little better I tell them about one of the dozen or so local little stores I've helped out with where profits have gone up several hundred percent because they either learned how to manage all of the aspects of their web sites themselves or have hired someone to do it for them.
Posted 26 September 2007 - 07:53 PM
Once that issue is settled, you can proceed to design, build, and promote the site. That is three separate jobs, not one. We have graphic designers who understand the web to design a site that is appealing and sells. Then we use expert coders and programmers to build the site conforming to the latest standards to be sure that nothing we do impedes the search engines. Finally we have experienced search engine pros who work with both the designers and programers to insure that the end product is something that can work with to insure the client gets the visablitly they are paying for.
In the end, in takes a team, not a jack of all trades to provide a truly professional job for the client.
Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:36 PM
Yep good point, digishot. And welcome!
Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:47 PM
That is exactly the point. Two Points actually.
Web Design companies ,SEO companies talk way to big a game.
Clients (unless they've been burned already) are used to hearing that they'r going to get a marketing startegy from scratch up & working for 1 or 2 K. Its rddiculous. So people offer them a website and tell them thats what they're getting. Its really silly, in fact.
IM is now really maturing. IM can be a company's primary marketing activities. An IM company is not an SEO or a web designer (either definition) or a copywriter. It is an advertising/marketing company.
IM needs many things: copy, SEO, PPC management, web design, coding.........
IM needs to be managed by a marketing manager not a copywriter or web designer. They need to be able to understand how to set subgaols that fit inside a marketing strategy that talks about things like 'penetration versus skimming' 'price positioning' etc. not achieving traffic, leads or whatever.
-Either you manage it inhouse. You can outsource everything SEO, design, coding but you need a birds eye understanding of how it fits together.
-Or (this is what SMEs should and do do) Outsource the management- hence consultants (who can also outsource all the elements if they choose).
Web designers, coders, copywriters even SEOs (no offense meant to anyone) should not be hired directly by companies unless they are marketing companies or if the client can handle the marketing management themselves. In either case, the problem of knowing about SEO doesn't fall on the web design firm any more then the copy falls on the coder. Theuy may be excellent at what they do, they just need to be asked todothe right thing.
Can a copywriter be blamed for postioning a small grocer to compete with a Wall-Mart?
NO Not if he/she was told that the company's point of differentiation was great-value pricing, its target market is middle income families in suburban or township US (i'm not American and I've never been to a Wal-Mart so I may be wrong on the specifics) etc.
Someone should have decided how to position the company strategically and how to choose its segment then hired a copywriter, etc. to communicates the appropriate message to the appropriate segment.
Posted 26 September 2007 - 10:11 PM
I don't think that SEO's nessecarily need to be worried about conversions.
There. I said it.
It's not that conversions are not important. It's simply that they can be a different part of the process. Even keyword research doesn't need to be part of SEO nessecarily. It can be done by someone else. It needs to be done, Just not nessecarily by an SEO.
Posted 26 September 2007 - 11:51 PM
Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:20 AM
I get a referrals from a local designer that doesn't want to get into SEO and its a lot of work cleaning up after him even harder to give him the details to make the changes.
Also, if the sites I develop aren't doing well in the SEs it doesn't look good for me as a professional SEO.
Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:41 AM
That's one of those It Depends things again in my book Nethy. It depends upon what/how the SEO originally sold their services to the client.
If they sold only (what I call) SEO services, then No they don't need to worry about conversions because they never mentioned any Marketing services as being included with their SEO Package.
If they sold what I call SEM --as most seem to advertise these days-- where there is a Marketing component to the package they're selling, then they'd better be at least aware of conversions and conversion testing.
Which brings it all around back to an expansion of the original question.
In my mind there's always been four main aspects to building a successful web site. Graphic/Artistic Design, Web Design/Programming/Coding, SEO and SEM/Conversion Testing. Additionally there are several sub-groups in those four main disciplines. Keyword Research and Copywriting being two of the most important of them.
It would be extremely unusal to find someone you can hire who is proficient in all of these disciplines. Almost impossible really. However they do all play off of each other when it's done right. Unfortunately this Whole Package idea is what many customers seem to expect, and sadly what too many design firms or seo firms seem to advertise without any real concept of how to provide the whole package.
Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:55 AM
IMO every designer, programmer, graphic artist or anyone calling themselves a web professional - They all (now) know that it takes decent organic results in todays search engines to be even remotely successful (agreed?) - not exclusively... but definately necessary and known.
What I think we do not have is enough professionals with a complete understanding of what it takes to accomplish that (this is fine, because as many stated - it is not a part of their job - per se). But they know about it - there is some responsibility in passing this education on to a prospect or a client - these are what make you the professional you claim to be - no?
I truly feel it is fear - We all know it (IM) is required to succeed online - but do we all communicate this to our boss or our prospect, or the client. And is it done correctly - because there is little "convincing" to be done if it is understood - not to say they can afford it, but they can be informed about it.
So the design firm or artist or programmer ARE all aware, they just can't do it, or don't offer it, or don't know anyone to refer the business to. But, IMO - the "buyer" should still be (made) aware that it is required to reach ANY online goals... even the first one which is having a website to begin with. So each party "does their job" independent of the fact that success is not insured other than - "they will like my graphics", or our interface, or the really cool form we created for them - they are happy, they have the job, they get paid for what they know, and they feel accomplished because they did "their" part. If these positions are outsourced, in my experience - they care even less about the website's success as much as their success with what "they" were hired to do.
Just my thoughts on a great thread and a real issue - It can make you feel like the bad guy sometimes when I come in and tell them what they need (IMPO), and what it will cost, and how long it will take... and they look at me like... How come none of my other professional web people didn't tell me we needed this to help us succeed online? They all knew our goals at the onset? None of them knew this?
I might not have the answer, but I think I grasp the understanding or reality of what happens here... and then again - I could be totally wrong and living in my own World - which is what everyone tells me anyway.
(perfect points Randy - you type faster - )
Posted 27 September 2007 - 06:40 AM
Sorry if I'm just reinforcing points already made … but I just had to add my three-penny-worth.
For 12 years I've made the argument that there is a marketing and techie divide [I remember in the day, when 'selling' web sites I was always referred to the IT debt, not marketing]. It is still the case that in too many instances the web presence is handled by 'IT'.
OK, don't get defensive here. Marketing needs techie and visa versa. In the eBays and Amazons of this world it is a team effort.
Analogies I have used for years include:
In the old days of print the journalist wrote the stories and the typesetter sorted the printing. Each was useless without the other. Neither claimed to be able to do each other's job. and …
The sign-writer wasn't shown to a van and told, 'there you go, just think of a name and paint it on the sides'
… you get my drift.
However – and I admit I am a marketer [marketing lecturer now] – the organization's web presence should be managed by marketing. The web presence is an element of the organization's strategic communications effort [as Peter Drucker points out, let's concentrate on the 'I' in 'IT'] – how can IT have responsibility for this? I teach e-marketing at a UK university [I've also written books on the subject] – next door in the computing school they teach 'web design'. This includes 'SEO'. Students come out of there with a certificate that says they can design [not develop] web sites and set out to earn a living doing so [they are featured throughout this thread]. The thing is, I've seen the module guides for these courses, and guess what – the SEO module doesn't even mention keyword selection.
This means these 'web designers' have no idea of the marketing implications of what they do.
As with my printing example above - knowing where to put keywords is useless without knowing the keywords and knowing the keywords is no good without knowing where they go in the 'coding'.
Like I said : team effort – with both sides recognising [a] there is more to successful web design than just their discipline, and [b] they cannot do it all.
NB : I should note that * there are exceptions to the above ie techies who have studied/learned marketing and marketers who have studied techie.
* my university is no different to others in the way we teach subjects.
* I lump all programmers, designers etc in as 'techies' – if you can't present it as words on paper, it's techie !
Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:32 AM
In that case all I can do is explain the limitations they are imposing on themselves and go with their decision.
I guess what I am saying is that designer MUST understand the half a dozen or so basic elements for SEO with regard search engine compatibility.
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