Yeah, this is a HOT topic! How do I know? Well, I speak with ALOT of website designers and I can tell you that I’m often met with a cold, matter of fact tone! Designers don’t like me, at least they think they don’t like me when they meet me. They think I’m going to tell them they’re terrible designers or how much they lack in seo knowledge, or I don’t know what else they think!
But, the truth is, once designers begin working with SEO webmasters, what they end up with is, more work! Imagine that! But let me explain how it all happens and why SEO and website design can be melded and how it can be melded to benefit the clients AND the staff working on the websites.
I do have to admit, there are certain types of website designs that work better than others as far as search engines go. The worst type of sites are frame (does anyone REALLY use these anymore?) and flash sites. Although Google is indexing some flash sites, they lag far behind the more readable websites. And I’m certainly not saying that any flash is terrible, I’m talking about the websites that are entirely in flash design. Anyway, the best websites are CSS but a certain layout of CSS. If you don’t already know, when you create a CSS website, there is a way to basically dictate how you want the search engines to read the website even though the actual layout is different.
What I mean is you want the search engine to read the body of content BEFORE it reads the navigation menu, the footer, etc. With CSS, you can essentially put the body of content first and everything else after but to the browser, the website looks as if it’s a standard website.
Here’s an example: a great web designer that I work with, Paula Moore created this website. She’s not only a great designer but has a huge amount of knowledge about SEO (only because she’s been working with my for so many years!) She created this website for a South Florida attorney. The website is www.jmmlawyers.com and if you take a look at the coding, you’ll notice that the body of content comes BEFORE the navigation and footer. If you put the website pages through an SE simulator (search engine simulator) like SEO-Browser.com you’ll see the site like the search engines do and you’ll see the benefit of this CSS design.
Many of Paula’s websites are created in this way and you can browse through her portfolio of websites to see how varied she can make the same template. The point is, she’s learned how to create the website not just for the client but for the search engines as well and in turn, she’s receiving not just the initial work for the site design but she’s continuing to receive work for additional work from the clients. They keep coming back for more. Why? Because the websites are being found and are bringing in revenue and the more they bring in, the more the clients want.
It’s really such a simple concept.
Okay, so the CSS coding and layout is one feature that helps these websites in the SEO realm. Another feature is the names of the files and directories. What Paula and I do is that once the basic layout design for the client is completed, the next step is the keyword research. This research basically tells us what the audience for this client is looking for. We review the phrases with the client and we hammer out the list of phrases that we will be targeting. The concept in choosing phrases is always to target the right audience, meaning the audience that is ready to make the purchase.
Once the phrases are chosen Paula can then begin creating the sitemap that she will be using to structure the foundation for the website. She properly names the directories and/or page files using the keyword phrases (which always gives them some “extra points” when it comes to search engine marketing).
In addition, the client isn’t just paying for the creation of the standard “about us” , “contact us” , “bio” , etc. type of pages. The client is paying for pages that his audience is looking for. It’s a win-win all around. Not only does the keyword research help Paula in creating the structure of the website layout, it also helps the client to understand what he/she is targeting. Personally, I can’t imagine creating a website any other way.
Incorporating these 2 main factors into web design, every website designer can ensure that their websites aren’t just going to be created and then never seen or forgotten. I can guarantee you this, as a web designer, if your websites are in the top 10 in Google, you WILL receive phone calls from viewers looking to hire you for their own website design or re-design. If you create a website for a plastic surgeon and that website is marketed into the top 10 (with your help) and that website gets seen by the plastic surgeon’s competition, you WILL receive a phone call from the competition.
Believe me, it happens to Paula and I all the time!