Web design firms may include a stable of web programmers and graphic design experts, but if they’re failing to provide you with SEO support during the website creation effort, it could end up costing you in ways you never imagined. It may be hard to believe, but many web designers and programmers actually have no idea how to optimise the sites they build for search-engine friendliness. There is a lot more to an attractive business website than just its ability to function correctly and look good while doing so. In terms of inbound marketing, your site should also be attractive to search engines. Search engines may not even notice many of the features that impress your human visitors. Instead, search engines will be carefully analysing (and crawling) your content and HTML code to determine how to rank you in their search engine for different keywords, topics, and even the site structure itself. If they can’t even archive your content in the first place, due to the code being hostile to SEO techniques, it could mean you end up being sandboxed out of the best Search Engine Result Page (SERP) offerings when people search for items of relevance to your business.

So, how can you tell if your choice of web design company will restrict your exposure by confusing search engines? Ask a few simple questions and see if the site designer even understands SEO in the first place.

Top 5 Questions to Weed Out Site Designers with Weak SEO Skills

Web design firms may include a stable of web programmers and graphic design experts, but if they’re failing to provide you with SEO support during the website creation effort, it could end up costing you in ways you never imagined. It may be hard to believe, but many web designers and programmers actually have no idea how to optimise the sites they build for search-engine friendliness. There is a lot more to an attractive business website than just its ability to function correctly and look good while doing so. In terms of inbound marketing, your site should also be attractive to search engines. Search engines may not even notice many of the features that impress your human visitors. Instead, search engines will be carefully analysing (and crawling) your content and HTML code to determine how to rank you in their search engine for different keywords, topics, and even the site structure itself. If they can’t even archive your content in the first place, due to the code being hostile to SEO techniques, it could mean you end up being sandboxed out of the best Search Engine Result Page (SERP) offerings when people search for items of relevance to your business.

So, how can you tell if your choice of web design company will restrict your exposure by confusing search engines? Ask a few simple questions and see if the site designer even understands SEO in the first place.

Top 5 Questions to Weed Out Site Designers with Weak SEO Skills

Is my website right?

It doesn’t matter if you’re not an SEO genius. You can still weed out design companies that don’t have these skills with a few simple questions. If they can’t give you a good answer, you’ll know it’s time to look elsewhere. To get started, try finding out more from any prospective website coding or design company. Firstly ask for their approach to building with SEO in mind, and then ask them the following more specific questions even before you sign a contract to build (there are a lot more things to consider, but these will start to give you a feel for how much knowledge they have around SEO):

1. How do you optimise the website for SEO?

The website builders should understand the basics of creating a website that is search-engine friendly. They may talk about tags, keywords, and URL structure. Good website designers know that depending on the type of content, whether audio, video, or text, it’s important to tag it properly for search engines, or it can be ignored entirely. If a company tells you that it is not their job to know these types of things and that this function is one covered by digital marketers only, then walk away. While it is true that an digital marketer can help to optimise future content you post on your site, if the website has not been optimised from the start, it still may not place highly in SERPs.

2. What will the URL structure be like and can it be optimised for search-engine friendliness?

Flat website design structures, with simple top-level domain names, are far easier for search engine spiders to crawl and direct traffic to than ones with more than two or three levels. Menu structures should reflect the URL structure in that they should be simple and effective. Coding for web page retrieval should follow a basic format that includes the domain name, followed by a backslash, followed by a descriptive name, including high-ranking SEO keywords (as long as these match the page content) where possible. For instance, a potential webpage URL on the domain level might be www.domainname.au/tv-rental.html.

3. What happens when something changes in my business content? Will I be able to change it on the website myself?

Even if you get SEO experts who can put in the right tags, sitemap, and 301 redirects, for the original content, the site structure will eventually change as your business grows and you may also move SEOs. Therefore, you want easy control over meta tags, the Google XML sitemap, and other important SEO elements. If you have to call someone in every time your site content shifts, just so the search engine won’t penalise you for broken links or something else, it will end up costing you more in the long run.

4. Can I see sample sites you’ve programmed?

If they have no sample sites, that’s a big hint that you’re working with a novice or someone that is embarrassed about their work. Once you have some sample sites to look at, and you know what to look for, go to the Source Code View in the web browser menu options to take a look at their HTML design. Or, if you already have an SEO agency in mind, ask them to look at it for you and give their opinion. The HTML code should be simple and straightforward and the menu should be easy for the search engines to follow to other site pages. In fact, the HTML code should be only a fraction of the actual content of the page. If you see a large amount of code or code that is exceedingly complicated and this is a trend across their sites (one site could indicate that it is due to the site owner not the developer), then you might want to look for a different design company.

5. I’ve looked at code before, and noticed some HTML code with link references like rel=”prev”, rel=”next” and canonical. What do they mean and when are they required?

In the current day and age of Google, these are tags that give Google important advice when it comes to any types of duplicate content or site structure, telling Google which is the important parts of the site this should reference back to. The initial site may not require these tags, but make sure they are easy to implement at a later stage should they be required.

Pre-qualifying your site development company is going to produce instant dividends by eliminating weak candidates who may be able to design a functional beautiful website, but not one that will bring customers to your doors. Building a new website can be an expensive proposition, but it is even more costly if the website does not serve the purpose of generating income by attracting traffic to your online site. Search-engine friendly sites make that the top priority from the start of the first phase of the design project.

Risks of Not Taking Into Account SEO in Web Design

What happens if you already have a website that was not properly designed with SEO in mind? Often, business owners do not realise that this was the most important skill a web design company should have (and that not all will) provided to generate traffic to the site. Instead, they may decide to implement costly digital campaigns afterwards, that don't work well,not understanding they are failing due to technical issues with the site. Even if a digital marketing company can create a compelling sales campaign, the site design itself may not support the search engine mechanism to drive traffic to your site. So, on top of paying for a poorly-designed site, the hapless business owner may then blame the digital marketers (who have no website programming experience) for poor performance. Unfortunately, a high percent of SEO companies that specialise only in online marketing will not have the technical expertise to properly address the issues that are due to website coding and design. After months of frustration, the business owner may suddenly stumble upon a SEO company that advises them to get a technical audit even before any online SEO strategies are implemented for sales, but by then they've wasted a lot of time and money.

Get an Audit to Determine Your Site’s SEO Strengths and Weaknesses

Saving money on SEOAudits can save you money by identifying existing site weaknesses before you start your SEO marketing campaigns. Or, if you want to start from scratch, make sure you use a company that understands the importance of SEO in the website design build process. If you need a technical audit of your site or a quote on website development, call Quantum today on 1300 3888 11.

References:

Search Engine Watch () SEO Basics: 8 Essentials When Optimising Your Site. Retrieved from: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2259693/SEO-Basics-8-Essentials-When-Optimising-Your-Site

It doesn’t matter if you’re not an SEO genius. You can still weed out design companies that don’t have these skills with a few simple questions. If they can’t give you a good answer, you’ll know it’s time to look elsewhere. To get started, try finding out more from any prospective website coding or design company. Firstly ask for their approach to building with SEO in mind, and then ask them the following more specific questions even before you sign a contract to build (there are a lot more things to consider, but these will start to give you a feel for how much knowledge they have around SEO):

1. How do you optimise the website for SEO?

The website builders should understand the basics of creating a website that is search-engine friendly. They may talk about tags, keywords, and URL structure. Good website designers know that depending on the type of content, whether audio, video, or text, it’s important to tag it properly for search engines, or it can be ignored entirely. If a company tells you that it is not their job to know these types of things and that this function is one covered by digital marketers only, then walk away. While it is true that an digital marketer can help to optimise future content you post on your site, if the website has not been optimised from the start, it still may not place highly in SERPs.

2. What will the URL structure be like and can it be optimised for search-engine friendliness?

Flat website design structures, with simple top-level domain names, are far easier for search engine spiders to crawl and direct traffic to than ones with more than two or three levels. Menu structures should reflect the URL structure in that they should be simple and effective. Coding for web page retrieval should follow a basic format that includes the domain name, followed by a backslash, followed by a descriptive name, including high-ranking SEO keywords (as long as these match the page content) where possible. For instance, a potential webpage URL on the domain level might be www.domainname.au/tv-rental.html.

3. What happens when something changes in my business content? Will I be able to change it on the website myself?

Even if you get SEO experts who can put in the right tags, sitemap, and 301 redirects, for the original content, the site structure will eventually change as your business grows and you may also move SEOs. Therefore, you want easy control over meta tags, the Google XML sitemap, and other important SEO elements. If you have to call someone in every time your site content shifts, just so the search engine won’t penalise you for broken links or something else, it will end up costing you more in the long run.

4. Can I see sample sites you’ve programmed?

If they have no sample sites, that’s a big hint that you’re working with a novice or someone that is embarrassed about their work. Once you have some sample sites to look at, and you know what to look for, go to the Source Code View in the web browser menu options to take a look at their HTML design. Or, if you already have an SEO agency in mind, ask them to look at it for you and give their opinion. The HTML code should be simple and straightforward and the menu should be easy for the search engines to follow to other site pages. In fact, the HTML code should be only a fraction of the actual content of the page. If you see a large amount of code or code that is exceedingly complicated and this is a trend across their sites (one site could indicate that it is due to the site owner not the developer), then you might want to look for a different design company.

5. I’ve looked at code before, and noticed some HTML code with link references like rel=”prev”, rel=”next” and canonical. What do they mean and when are they required?

In the current day and age of Google, these are tags that give Google important advice when it comes to any types of duplicate content or site structure, telling Google which is the important parts of the site this should reference back to. The initial site may not require these tags, but make sure they are easy to implement at a later stage should they be required.

Pre-qualifying your site development company is going to produce instant dividends by eliminating weak candidates who may be able to design a functional beautiful website, but not one that will bring customers to your doors. Building a new website can be an expensive proposition, but it is even more costly if the website does not serve the purpose of generating income by attracting traffic to your online site. Search-engine friendly sites make that the top priority from the start of the first phase of the design project.

Risks of Not Taking Into Account SEO in Web Design

What happens if you already have a website that was not properly designed with SEO in mind? Often, business owners do not realise that this was the most important skill a web design company should have (and that not all will) provided to generate traffic to the site. Instead, they may decide to implement costly digital campaigns afterwards, that don't work well,not understanding they are failing due to technical issues with the site. Even if a digital marketing company can create a compelling sales campaign, the site design itself may not support the search engine mechanism to drive traffic to your site. So, on top of paying for a poorly-designed site, the hapless business owner may then blame the digital marketers (who have no website programming experience) for poor performance. Unfortunately, a high percent of SEO companies that specialise only in online marketing will not have the technical expertise to properly address the issues that are due to website coding and design. After months of frustration, the business owner may suddenly stumble upon a SEO company that advises them to get a technical audit even before any online SEO strategies are implemented for sales, but by then they've wasted a lot of time and money.

Get an Audit to Determine Your Site’s SEO Strengths and Weaknesses

Saving money on SEOAudits can save you money by identifying existing site weaknesses before you start your SEO marketing campaigns. Or, if you want to start from scratch, make sure you use a company that understands the importance of SEO in the website design build process. If you need a technical audit of your site or a quote on website development, call Quantum today on 1300 3888 11.

References:

Search Engine Watch () SEO Basics: 8 Essentials When Optimising Your Site. Retrieved from: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2259693/SEO-Basics-8-Essentials-When-Optimising-Your-Site