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Which should come first Web Design or Search Engine Optimisation?

Which should come first Web Design or Search Engine Optimisation?

A few weeks ago I was at a mixer in Manchester and I happened to come across the director of Zepper, an SEO company in Bangalore, a very personable man, so I decided to ask him this question.

You must have heard the question – which came first the chicken or the egg?  The same principle applies here. 90% of the clients that I’ve dealt with consider SEO as something that comes after the design.

This question has bothered me for sometime and I wanted an answer to my question from one of my peers.  Should a client wanting a web presence spend all of their cash on a website that looks great but doesn’t convert? Or should the web designer have a basic understanding of search engine optimisation principles?

Also, should the web designer /agencies advise his/her customers to the virtue of search engine optimisation?  I’m 100 percent sure that a web designer isn’t going to discourage a potential client by offering them a long list of services. What should be offered is sound advice on the benefits of SEO as opposed to just taking the money for a site that doesn’t convert.

On my SEO travels I’ve come across customers who don’t seem to understand or see the value of SEO until it’s to late.  This could be down to not seeing organic SEO as a tangible commodity, like buying a packet of crisps from a shop (instant gratification). But that could be addressed by pay per click advertising.

I understand that with organic SEO it could be months before you see a return on your investment. But that’s no reason to ignore SEO altogether and only consider it when your online business is failing – even basic SEO is better than nothing.

Is Search Engine Optimisation Tangible?

I would say yes it is, using analytics packages like Google Analytics and ranking tracking reports, make SEO tangible for your clients. With the use of reports you can show steady progress on a weekly or monthly basis in turn giving the customer confidence.

He also said, “every web designer should understand the basic principles of SEO, and if they don’t, how can they build a website that is SEO friendly?” Search engine optimisation is not something you can learn in a day, it keeps on changing and evolving.  It’s a beast that will never be tamed, you just have to test and then test some more, but their some basic principles that must be followed.

So which should come First Web Design or Search Engine Optimisation?

Well the answer is really simple they go hand in hand. So if you’re a web designer or agency that doesn’t have a in house SEO department, or an SEO consultant on a retained basis, I would consider doing so.

Go that extra mile and give your clients what they need, good advice. If they don’t want to spend the extra on search engine optimisation that’s fine, as long as they know about the benefits of SEO. The last thing the customer wants is a website that doesn’t convert.