There seems to be a discussion going on about web design vs SEO. Why is it that web designers and SEO don’t go together? Well, it’s two different fields that have be separate for so long, but now have to act as one. And no one is willing to change or take the time to understand.
I was a web designer for 5 years and we never though to SEO. We built the pages to look cool and work. That’s it. Heck, they focused on IE most of the time and that bugged me as I believe that any site should work in a any browser. IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Search Engines!
Danny Sullivan sums it up perfectly.
“In reality, designers really need to understand that search engines are like a third browser — and in fact a far more popular browser used by more people than using Firefox. They will spend tons of time making sure a site works for IE or Firefox, even Opera. But no time to make sure that the browsers of search engines are going to be OK with it?”
True true. Now I do SEO and web design. I’m fully aware of many of the design issues that need to be taken into account and I design every site with SEO in mind. I’m one web designer that realizes that CSS and text can provide a great, search engine friendly website.
Now don’t go thinking you can’t use graphics or Flash. Use it in moderation and understand what the page looks like, and how it navigates, when those elements are removed. Check the text only Google cache and see what the search engine sees. Does this page still make sense? Can you understand and navigate it? That’s where you really want to pay attention.
There is another great quote from Chris D that says:
“Web design is actually closer to architecture, than magazine cover design, in terms of accessibility.
Imagine a world where architects designed buildings just to be cool and edgy – and totally ignored physical accessibility issues…..”
Web designers need to learn the basics of SEO and understand what they are doing. If you design a great website, but don’t take search engines into account, who will ever see it?