Jill Whalen contributes blog posts to High Rankings Advisor and Search Engine Land. She recently posted a list of 85 reasons why Web designers and developers keep search engine optimization (SEO) firms in business. Her original blog post is well worth reading, but I’ve decided to discuss several of her reasons in some detail, because I’ve seen these issues myself in working with small businesses and their developers.
Search engine optimization is the process of building and updating your website so that it ranks well in search engine results lists. If you sell locally in a small town and have no competition, your SEO problem is relatively simple. You just need to rank well for the goods or services you provide in that town. If you sell nationally or internationally, then your SEO problem grows considerably more complex and your challenge is greater.
Whether you sell locally or globally, it’s very important that your web developer has the knowledge needed to help you win a good ranking for your website. Many of them don’t. If you hire an SEO-ignorant developer, your website will rest forever in obscurity unless you hire an SEO firm later on, at significant cost.
So how do you know if your developer can build you a website that is search engine optimized? You’ll have to research the web developer and be prepared to ask questions. Here are some things you can do.
Try searching for the keywords, “website designer” and “website developer” and your city or town. If the developer you’re considering doesn’t show up in a good position in a Google search, that developer doesn’t know enough about SEO to help you.
If your designer tells you that SEO is impossible or they confess to not understanding much about the topic, shop elsewhere. No matter how beautiful their work, no one will see it if your customers can’t use a search engine to find your site.
If your designer tells you that adding words into a Meta keyword tag is SEO, then the developer is about 10 years out of date. That method of SEO was abused years ago when developers loaded websites with irrelevant Meta tags, hoping to ensnare extra web searchers. The major search engines probably ignore Meta keyword tags now, so look somewhere else for a developer.
If your designer asks you to provide your own website copy, you should look elsewhere for a web developer. The search engines rank your web pages according to the keywords they find when they index your website. If you’re tasked with providing the website copy, without completing and understanding the necessary keyword research, then your website will not rank well.
If your web developer tells you to provide the developer with a list of the pages you want on your website, find another developer. The developer should help you decide what pages you’ll need, with SEO as one of the considerations for naming those pages.
These are just a few of the issues that should be discussed as you interview and select a web development team. If you’d like us to participate in planning your web development project or finding a qualified developer, please contact us for more information. We can either give you some general guidance at the start of your project, or we can participate as third party experts to ensure that SEO and usability is planned into your development project. If you already have a website, we’d be happy to review your site from a search engine and ease of use perspective.
- Not so fast SEO, Google has plans to punish sites that are “overly optimized” (venturebeat.com)
- What are keywords and why are they important for SEO? (marketing.yell.com)
- SEO: I Know I Need It, Now What? (score.org)
- What is search engine optimisation (SEO)? (marketing.yell.com)
- SEO Norway- You Web Promotion On The Net (ronmedlin.com)