If a Website is to provide you with a healthy return on your investment, both design and search engine optimization (SEO) play an important role for each contributions equally to the success of your online presence.
When beginning a new design project, the first and main objective of any experienced Web designer should be to realise the purpose of the Website and establish who it is being created for. For a Website to have any kind of chance of competing in today’s competitive business world; it must be built to meet the needs and wants of the user. Equally important, it must also take into consideration the limitations of the user. These limitations include matters such as accessibility, which in part relates to the equipment Web users use to explore your Website. Because the Web has evolved into a user-driven system, all Websites must take in to consideration the user’s requirements. Nowadays, it is not enough to have a wonderful looking Website. It must engage the user with content that is up to date, relevant and interesting. It must employ a navigational system that is simple to understand and easy to use. Website owners also need to ensure that their user-friendly Websites are also search engine optimised (SEO).
SEO relates to making a Websites’ presence known amongst its target audience by increasing awareness of the Websites’ existence. This is achieved by driving traffic to its location via search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. SEO entails placing relevant keywords and key phrases in strategic places throughout the pages of a Website. It is an intricate and practised process of targeting different keywords and key phrases relating to the theme of the page. Other SEO techniques commonly used are directory submitting and link building. Link building involves entering in to mutual link exchange agreements with other relevant Websites and obtaining backlinks by going on to relevant social forums and networking Websites and adding links which direct the user back to your Website.
Which one is more important?
There is a constant debate between designers and SEO experts as to which is more important. On the one hand, designers believe that a Websites’ design is the key factor to its success, where as an SEO expert would argue that it is its keyword-rich content. Some designers feel that SEO actually impairs the aesthetic quality of a Website; whereas the SEO person may be of the opinion that there is no point having a wonderful looking Website which is fantastic to use if no one is able to find it.
In my opinion, the credit therefore cannot be given totally to either designer or SEO expert. There must be a balance between the two. One cannot single-handedly establish the brand identity of an online business without the support of the other. Website designers need to understand the basics of SEO so that it can be integrated in to the Websites’ design. Likewise, an SEO expert must comprehend design and how a Websites’ visual elements assist functionality for branding. While SEO helps in driving traffic to your Website, the design helps to grab and retain the attention of the users. In order to perform their respective tasks, each must employ different techniques and methodologies.
For a Website to meet the expectations of its target audience, both designers and SEO experts must work together.
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