Every day, some of the best search engine optimization firms on the planet answer questions from business owners about search engine optimization. Most of these discussions include explanations about “on-page” optimization and “off-page” optimization. SEO typically involves a line-by-line inspection of website content and its coding. Of course, off-page SEO will always involve some form of linking. In other words, the way the rest of the Internet relates back to your website. As of this writing, successful campaigns usually include direct and indirect back-linking, social media participation and citations from trusted websites.
Web design is still very much a “design driven” industry, and as such, design choices can often have a negative impact on SEO. This is because design is about the look and feel of a website, not the rank or position on the search engines. So we in the website design industry often find ourselves trying to simplify online marketing methods to prospective clients that have limited knowledge on the subject.
It takes 3 types of talent so build a search engine friendly website. The first is the designer. While SEO should always be the end goal, you need to have a great looking website that creates a positive impression and is easy to navigate. Second, you need an SEO-savvy web developer that can convert the digital artwork and convert them into clean, best practices website coding. Finally, you need a search engine expert to manage the entire process and to populate the website with content that is both optimized and presented in a way that will convert to sales or leads.
In practice, however, the designers still drive the entire process. When this happens, the company gets a great looking new site that is hacked together on the back-end. These sites almost never get search engine rank for competitive search terms. The client company then searches for Internet marketing assistance, but the new consultant starts at a disadvantage because they have to try to rank a site that is poorly structured and coded.
In many cases, companies need to re-develop websites (even brand new websites) in order to achieve search engine friendly coding. This puts Internet marketing professionals in a tough position. They have to explain to their prospective customers, in simple terms, why they may have to redevelop a new site. A leading Kansas City web design company uses the following analogies to explain the relationship between web development and SEO:
1. Racing: Professional race car driving is used as an analogy in business quite often and in terms of SEO, it is definitely one of the best. To be effective in search engine marketing, your company needs to have a great design with best practices coding. In this analogy, the race car is the website. No matter how fast your car is, it still needs a professional driver to be able to compete. The world’s best driver cannot win a race without a great car. This is a perfect analogy for SEO. Your company needs a great web design AND a skilled online marketing professional in order to achieve the highest search engine visibility. The key difference is that while races have a finish line, the race to the top of the major search engines never ends.
2. The Home Builder: The web design process is similar to the design stage of construction. This is the time when the sketches and drawings can be easily be modified. Once the blueprints are approved and the concrete is set, it becomes very difficult to move a wall or change the floor plan. Website design and development is the same way. Designers can modify digital construction plans quickly. When the coding process starts, however, design changes are harder and more time consuming. In terms of SEO, the home construction is similar to the role of the builders and inspectors. In web design, the search engine optimization consultant should be managing the design and development stages so that the website has the best possible chances of ranking highly on the major search engines.
3. Sharp Shooters: Similar to race car driving, this analogy pairs the best equipment with the best operator to achieve the best results. A firearm cannot aim and fire itself and a sharp shooter needs a world class weapon to achieve the highest accuracy.
4. Landscapers: Landscaping may be one of the best web design analogies in terms of the amount of time and effort it takes to design, install and maintain a landscaping plan. After installation, a residential landscape needs periodic watering, pruning, pest control, mulching and fertilization. The regular maintenance aspect of landscaping parallels the ongoing effort that a website needs in order to grow into high natural search engine positions. The process takes time and consultants with digital green thumbs are usually able to provide their clients with much higher search engine visibility that the could have achieved on their own.
5. Fishing: Second to the race car driving analogy, Fishing is one of our favorites on so many levels. The best angle to use for this analogy relates to net fishing. Think of recreational fishers in an area using chum and other luring techniques to draw fish into a body of water. Fishermen use specialized lures, bait and equipment to catch fish one-by-one. This is akin to traditional marketing where companies use mass marketing to target a relatively small group of potential buyers. In SEO, we call this: offline demand creation. As fishermen use all their fancy methods to attract fish, think of a commercial fishing vessel that comes by and scoops up all the fish. This is EXACTLY what SEO does. Consumers see the demand creation by companies on TV, print and radio…then then run to the Internet to research when they are actually ready to make a purchase decision. SEO, when done effectively, enables your company to steal this market share created by your competitors.
If you are an Internet marketing professional and run into trouble explaining SEO and web development to a prospective client, try using one of the above analogies or even creating a new one of your own.
About the author: Kansas City Web Design is an Internet marketing and web development company based in Overland Park, KS. For more information on the author, visit: Website-Design Kansas City
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