Your Designer Does Not Do SEO

January 19th, 2010 by Search Influence Alumni

Have you ever asked your mechanic to reupholster your seats? Have you asked your aesthetician to give you a face lift? Probably not and with good reason. It isn’t their job. There may be mechanics out there who know a lot about upholstery and some who can actually do it. I’m sure somewhere out there there is an aesthetician who knows all about plastic surgery but that doesn’t mean they are qualified to perform it.  I thought it was funny the first time I saw a clause in a designer’s contract stating that they are not IT and will not teach HTML to the recipient of site design.  The longer I’ve been in the industry the more I understand why.

Too Many Hats Lead to a Sore Neck

Too Many Hats Lead to a Sore Neck

We see this reoccurring problem of people assuming that search engine optimization and marketing are the same as good design or coding.  Admittedly, there is a gray area.  A nice cross over exists somewhere between W3C compliance, proper use of H1 tags and whether to use bold or strong. For the most part, web design and search engine optimization and marketing are two different jobs and functions.

I see three major problems with this. The first problem is what I like to call the “Cliff notes pro syndrome.” A company buys a book something like “SEO for (fill in adjective of inexperienced individual)” and they now have in-house SEO.  Everyone should study complementary trades on their own. A book or class however does not provide new trade credentials. Daily steady practice does. So, unless your designer is Jarod from The Pretender and can execute on anything they read as if they’ve been practicing since birth then one book does not provide in-house SEO.  There is a difference between understanding it and practicing it.

The Right Tool for the Right Task

The second issue, focusing on freelance designers can be seen in this comment “our designer did a good job we don’t need that.” I love this one. It’s like saying “my car’s well made… no oil changes for me.”  Optimization isn’t a one shot deal. It’s an ongoing development like any good marketing effort .

The third flaw in this logic is the first step in proper optimization – strategy. Planning and strategy are fundamental in the success of search optimization as it is in any business plan or marketing campaign. If you don’t identify your goal and plan the road to get there your success is probably going to be about as nonexistent as that strategy. Chances are your designer did not spend time doing a competitive analysis and determining the best way to reach your target demographic.  This would be essential for any SEO to help steer you down the path.   It’s always best to have a designer and an SEO work in tandem from the beginning.