As a professional search engine optimizer, I always try to advocate the benefits of search engine optimization.
However, search engine optimization is only one factor that should play a part in a website’s design. Arguably, a more important factor is the site’s usability. Search engine optimization quite often goes against good site usability design.
For example, the use of frames can make a webpage more usable. However, search engine optimizers always recommend against using frames, as search engines can’t index framed pages as well as standard webpages.
Search engines are now claiming to be able to index frames based sites just as well as standard webpages. But they’re still far from perfect.
So you have to look at what’s more important – the usability of a website or its search engine rankings.
Web site accessibility is another factor that should play a part in a site’s design. Like site usability, SEO can sometimes go against good site accessibility design.
For example, search engine optimizers sometimes use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the look of headings and sub-headings by fixing the size. By doing that, visually impaired users are unable to increase (or decrease) the font size within the web browser.
A compromise has to be struck between site accessibility and search engine optimization. It really depends on who your target audience are. If your target audience is people with disabilities, then it should be common sense that site accessibility must come before search engine optimization.
Do you use any of the following marketing concepts to promote your site?
If you do, have you optimized the advertisement landing pages, or affiliate program promotion pages for the search engines?
If not, why not? Search engine optimization should encapsulate EVERY aspect of your marketing plan.
For example, by optimizing your affiliate program page, you may well find that a lot more people sign up for your affiliate program, simply because more affiliate marketers are finding your program via the search engines.
Well, that wraps up this section. I hope you now have a better understanding of why and how you should use include search engine optimization into the website planning and design process. Don’t leave search engine optimization until the site is finished and ready for launch.