Should SEO be a Standard Task in Web Development?

Dec 19, 2006 • 3:36 pm | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Over the past few years more and more website owners are coming to the realization that the "if you build it they will come" ideal does not fit with websites. Simply registering a domain and putting up content is not enough to draw consistent traffic to a website, unless of course there is a major marketing initiative in place that draws visits. Sites need search engine rankings in order to drive people interested in their product, services, or information, for the most part. Of course there are exceptions, such as educational websites that get lots of links from popular related sites. But when it comes to trying to drive traffic, search engine optimization is becoming almost a required element of site design.

A recent thread at WebmasterWorld Forums advocates that SEO should be considered when doing a site design or redesign. The original poster, Senior Member "reseller" titled his thread "Watch Out For Those Web Designers & Programmers." he listed a few things that should automatically be considered when building a site and wonders

why site owners don't "incorporate" SEO Specialists from the beginning as part of the site building / site migration team to be sure that their sites would be "search engine friendly" too?

Some excellent responses follow, and the thread turns into a valuable evangelistic conversation about the merits of SEO. One of the highlights is an interesting analogy by "webdude" who compares web designers and web developers to "right-brained" and "left-brained" individuals. He reasons that the best sites will be designed by teams of people that consist of both of these types of individuals.

See the thread and add your thoughts at Webmasterworld Forums.

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12/19/2006 09:21 pm

I think that a few basic on-page optimizations would make a world of difference for a lot of sites and aren't even that hard to implement. That being said, there is absolutely no reason why basic SEO shouldn't be used for every site project. Even simple things like clean URL's and good titles would be a step in the right direction. Of course, since most people on the forums focus mainly on either PageRank or "Content is King", and not much else, there are some informational hurdles that need to be jumped before any kind of real SEO becomes a standard task in web development.

Luke McCallum

12/20/2006 04:28 am

I personally see basic SEO at least as a standard element in any web design project with a view to implimentation of a structured and targeted SEO campaign. I also feel that it is the responsibility of the web developer to attempt to educate their clients in SEO so that it is always in the front of their minds when writing their website content. Ultimatly it benefits the web developer to assist their clients in their SEO as if the cleint does well then more dev work will arise, not to mention the fact that most dev companies stamp their work with a logo and link. As your clients sites grow so to does your incoming link count and potential flow on traffic, not to mention public exposure!

Chris Boggs

12/20/2006 04:26 pm

Thanks Luke and BB for your much appreciated comments. :)

Justin Seibert

12/29/2006 02:40 pm

My experience is that it is a good thing to always explain SEO to a potential client and show them that over the long run you will save them time and money by incorporating it into any site design or redesign. Having said that, because of the costs and other factors, may Web site owners may not be interested enough to justify the additional investment in their minds. My 2 cents: tell them about it, point out pros & cons, let them decide.

Ryan W

01/01/2007 03:12 pm

SEO has become a necessity for commercial websites in terms of getting high rankings and driving traffic to the site. SEO is a way for webmasters to make their site known to people and target the right market. Another important aspect of SEO is patience. One may follow the webmaster guidelines, but should expect instant results. It's a gradual process which yeilds results which are highly beneficial in the long run.

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