I am part of the Alignable network and I came across a question on their forum that prompted me to answer. As I was replying, I was thinking to myself that the answer isn’t so binary, so I figured I would put a post together for everyone.
“Should SEOSearch Engine Optimization be included in a website build?”.
Yes. Well…depends. Let me explain. There are a few different versions of SEO but, for simplicity’s sake, let’s keep it to “On-Site” and “Off-Site”. On-Site SEO should absolutely, 100%, be included in every Website Build. What I mentioned in my post was basically:
“…It automatically puts your client in a position to win over any older sites that have either neglected these extremely important details or new sites that were simply developed without on-site SEO.”
We built a site for a client who operates within a niche industry where competition was not impressive, but when we launched his site optimized with On-Site SEO only, we were able to move that site to the top 3 spots on page 1 of Google for a few, high volume keywords. All of that value at the top of Google was essentially up for grabs because the competition in this niche was not paying attention. Now, that could be owner/operators not knowing they had to ask their web developers about SEO, or it could be arrogance, or it could be that those web developer’s SEO services are sold separately. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, those businesses are losing to my client now.
Being a professional web designer/developer you have to distinguish yourself from the hacks out there. They’re everywhere. In every city and geo, there are those individuals who mock sites up in photoshop or Sketch without any knowledge of SEO or even basic web development and basically sell a series of images to uninformed small business owners. If you’ve been doing this long enough, I’m confident you’ve talked to a business owner who feels like they have been screwed by amateurs like this. We feel that as professional web designers and developers that it is our duty to educate the client and make sure they understand the value of us doing keyword research for them and integrating it into the front and back end of their site. We believe a website should return on the investment and not just be a sunk cost. That can only be accomplished when your site is set up to convert AND get new traffic.
After keyword research, on-site optimization is the second step in any SEO or online marketing campaign. So why not be set up for success right at launch? Someone in that Alignable thread said “…fill out Yoast”. Yea, sure that’s a great tool for someone who already has the right keywords/ phrases the client is targeting but there is so much more to quality on-site SEO than that. For example, if you don’t know what keywords and phrases to target in Yoast, you could be costing your client some serious traffic and thus, revenue.
With that said, if you come across an agency or designer/developer you’re considering working with, check their portfolio. Really investigate the sites they have built and before hiring them, ask if they include on-site SEO with their web builds. At some point prior to officially hiring them, they should ask you if you have already gathered your targeted keywords and done any industry analysis to size up your competition, or some sort of attempt to figure out what to target. This is basic. After all, how are they going to do on-site SEO without a keyword report? You can probably weed out about a handful of web design companies right there. Either they don’t do on-site SEO and you move on or they say they do on-site SEO but have no clue what it takes to do it right, and you move on.
Normally I would just leave the comment on the platform it’s on and let it be. But I’m hoping to reduce the number of small business owners out there who may have a bad experience with professionals in our industry. I want to make it easier to earn their trust, so I turned that comment to post here hoping to reach a few more people. There are quality web design firms out there, don’t be taken advantage of.
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