It is hard to believe that SEO is still an unknown aspect of web design in 2010. Today I was talking to a potential client about search engine optimization for their web site and she asked me why her current web developer didn't do any on-page or off-page optimization for the site she just had designed. She specifically asked the designer if he could get her listed for a few specific search terms. The design firm said they could, but yet when you view the site it is obvious right from the main index page that no SEO had been done. I told her quite a few web design companies do not bother to take the time to do proper search engine optimization and/or do not care to learn how.
SEO is important when you think about it. You can have a very attractive site but if it isn't optimized no one will find it on the major search engines unless they know your company name. It is a shame but it is true. So, why don't Web Design firms do SEO as they build the site? If they can't or won't apply any optimization techniques, why not outsource the search engine optimization needs to an SEO expert? Include the price of SEO in your quote and outsource it to a company that can get the job done. That way you ensure your customer is looked after and you don't have to worry about a client coming back on you asking for a refund.
I personally very rarely design and build web sites. Design is an art, just like SEO. It takes at least two people to construct a proper web site that will rank well in the search engines. I would much rather just SEO a site and leave the design process to someone else.Mistake #1 - Flash Intro Pages/Doorway Pages
Are Flash pages really necessary? Do we need to watch an animation before we see the content we searched for? Most Flash sites on the Internet cannot even be indexed by search engines like Google because they were coded improperly. If you are looking for a design firm and they suggest a Flash intro, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. It might look nice, but it most asuredly will not perform adequately.Mistake #2 - URL's Written Poorly
Keywords in the url are obviously needed. Too many keywords in the url should be avoided. URL's with question marks and other improper parameters should be avoided at all costs. If you are looking to have a site created and the design firm tells you the URL's are dynamically generated and you don't need to worry about it, then just like in mistake #1, you should run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.Mistake #3 - Improper Page Titles
Just like url's, Titles should have strategically placed keywords. I like to use 5-8 Keywords or a phrase in the title. Too many keywords will dilute the importance of the main keywords. Not enough can be just as bad as too many. No title can hurt you in the ranking process even further. Duplicate Titles can cause a whole lot of headaches and even get your content banned. Pay attention to your titles and the traffic will come.Mistake #4 - Redirects
Using 302 redirects is a huge mistake. A 302 redirect only redirects a page for a set amount of time. If you are redirecting domain "a" to domain "b" then always use a permanent 301 redirect, if you used a 302 redirect it will create a whole world of hurt. Always use 301 redirects, they are permanent. Please don’t ever let someone tell you redirects are unimportant, especially if you are building a new site that will have restructured url's and you are replacing content that ranks well. If the design firm you are thinking about hiring says it doesn't matter, run like hell.
What are your thoughts on the subject?