SEO And Web Design Go Together Like Mr. and Mrs.
As stated above, SEO is more than a technical discipline; the visual design has its implications, too. Too often, visual design and SEO are perceived as a mutual sacrifice. Graphic designers often think websites exist to demonstrate their artistic abilities, and don’t care much about content. SEOs, on the contrary, would prefer to keep graphics to a minimum, thus increasing the SE-friendliness of the pages and minimising the code bloat. Visual designers prefer to create menus in images, so they can use some fashionable “blurred” font or whatever; it won’t be long before an SEO then comes along and yells: “What have you done? I need text here!”
“Your content spoils the look of my design” seems to be an unwinnable argument in our industry. Sooner or later, the parties usually find a solution that suits them both, but too often the compromise leaves everyone unhappy. And yet there is no need for any sacrifice at all if the designer and the SEO are ready to cooperate from the start.
It makes me happy to see more and more websites that are both good looking and 100% SE-friendly. Three years ago, a common question in the SEO forums was: “Why do you SEOs all have such ugly websites?” But it’s no longer an issue, as people are starting to realise that there is no need to sacrifice the look of a site for the sake of search engine friendliness, or vice versa.
Actually, the visual design is just as important a part of Internet marketing as are SEO and usability. It may seem like an obvious statement, but websites that are pleasing to the eye convert better than do ugly ones. Of course, it’s impossible to please everyone when it comes to visual design, as some people love minimalism, and others prefer a lot of funky, flashy graphics – but as the concept of SE-friendly design is gradually becoming more familiar to web users, overloaded designs are going out of fashion and minimalism is now viewed as elegance. For a website representing a serious, trustworthy business, elegant minimalism is now a must.
It’s hard to argue with Web designers who put emphasis on beauty and aesthetics. Attractive websites do wage more mental power over visitors. But if you can’t get visitors to your website in the first place, it doesn’t matter how attractive it is. SEO is important.
But is it more important than Web design? Is a visually appealing website more important than a website that gets crawled, or vice versa? You would think that an SEO firm would side with the SEOs on this one. But not necessarily.
The argument between SEOs and Web designers has been a compelling one to say the least. Each thinks they’re more important than the other and neither will give. But my opinion is they should work together. Ideally, your SEO specialist is your Web designer and your Web designer knows how to perform effective SEO. That may not be the case, however, in every situation.
Many companies employ great Web designers who know nothing or very little about how to optimize a web page for the search engines. Instead, they must rely on a staff person, usually a tech geek, to explain the importance of search engine crawlers. Heads begin to butt.
If you’re company is experiencing this type of scenario, where your Web designer and your resident search engine expert are not seeing eye-to-eye, I recommend forming a committee. Of course, your committee should consist of the SEO and the Web designer. But it should also consist of someone who can look at facts non-judgmentally and make a good decision based on the facts. Have your Web designer present his arguments for beauty and visual appeal and have your SEO make his arguments. Then your decision maker can analyze the facts and make the right decision for your company based on the input of your experts.
In the argument over design and SEO, no one should win. No one should lose. The answer is both are important and they need other – like a husband needs a wife.