SEO vs Web Design – A Match Made in Heaven?

War is hell, and nobody wants to be involved in a full on battle in the office space. But this is the reality of web designers and SEOs around the world, who are often involved in unnecessary disputes surrounding the best approach towards the creation and development of websites. Each party has their own ideas for what is best, and too often those ideas clash, with devastating consequences for both sides involved. So how can we work together in harmony? Well listen up, because we’ve compiled a list of tips to help SEOs and web designers become a dream team that can conquer the world together.

So lay down your keyboards, take your finger off the mouse trigger, and get ready to resolve this argument peacefully by following these tips.

There are no bad guys

When a war breaks out in the office, SEOs often end up seeming like the bad guys. Where web designers see simple, clean design, SEOs see an opportunity to fill up the website with ‘keyword rich’ content. And where SEOs want consistent, structured NAPs for local SEO, web designers don’t mind missing an apostrophe (or 2). Despite these little annoyances, pointing fingers across the office (or in many cases, sending passive aggressive emails) leads us nowhere. For this relationship to work, a mutual understanding is necessary. Which brings me to my next point…..

Learn each other’s jobs

I don’t mean a 4 year degree in web design or a trip to the headquarters of Google. But a little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

The source of a lot of this frustration comes from a simple lack of misunderstanding between the two roles. We’ve all seen it happen: SEOs asking web designers to ‘quickly add a menu’, or web designers saying that they need ‘500 words for the homepage’. No. Just….no.

Nobody likes to be told what to do, especially from someone who doesn’t fully understand the subject at hand. Taking time to understand the needs of each role can make a huge difference to your working relationship. For SEOs, this could be as simple as getting a hang of some basic HTML. And for web designers, learning the importance of H1/H2/H3 tags and rich content for SEO purposes can be invaluable.

Often, the best way to learn each other’s jobs is to make each other aware of any changes that you make to the website as they happen, and why you’ve made them. And by ‘make aware’ I don’t mean a quick, vague email once a month. Ideally, a weekly meeting should be held where ideas can be swapped and shared.

Compromise

There’s no avoiding it; sometimes, our ideas aren’t compatible. The endless struggle between design and content is at the heart of the battle between SEOs and web designers. And sometimes, fulfilling both aspects of building a website just isn’t feasible. But there’s no point sitting in the corner sulking when you don’t get your way. Resolving this issue can be as simple as assessing the needs of the client. If their aim is to increase online traffic through organic search, then SEO must be prioritized. If their main source of traffic is direct, and all they want is an attractive, minimalistic landing page, then web design can be the main focus of the project. If the client wants both…..then maybe they’re the ones with the problem here.

A lot has changed

Despite my slightly snarky comment, SEO and attractive web design seem to be more harmonious than ever. If a client wants a clean, simple website that ranks for all of the relevant terms in their industry, then it can be achieved. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and hidden content to please the Google Gods; establishing yourself as a worthwhile brand is now the main focus. And having an attractive, functional website is one of the first aspects that any company looking to establish themselves as a worthwhile brand should consider. The SEO aspects can then be explored through other avenues, whether it be content marketing or technical improvements.

So climb out of your bunkers and set aside your petty differences. To get the best results, you need to work together. After all, you both have a common interest: pleasing the client. Make sure to clear a space at your desk for all of those productive conversations you’re going to have, okay? That is, until the next apocalyptic Google update rolls out….. War never ends.