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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Search Engine Friendly is NOT Search Engine Optimized

When we are quoting development work for prospective clients we are often asked to develop a website that is search engine optimized. This usually brings me into a long-winded explanation on how developing a website to be search engine friendly is not the same thing as optimizing that website for search performance. Kind of like how building a car is not the same as making it ready to compete in the Indy 500. Those are two different tasks altogether.

Let me explain.

The SEO provider or consultant should be involved in the website development process, though those two roles are completely different. The developer designs and creates the front and back end of the website. A good developer can do that job well, but mostly they do it to function for the user, not perform for the search engines. The SEO should be involved to ensure that what the developer produces is as search engine friendly as possible.

Most web design and development companies don’t know the first thing about SEO or creating SE friendly websites. And most who claim to are liars. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

Hint: If your web developer says they will SEO your website for you as part of the one-time design fee, they are a liar. If they tell you they’ll develop a search engine friendly or SEO ready site then there is a better chance they know what they are talking about.

Let me be clear: Designing or programming a search engine optimized website simply cannot be done. Designing or programming a search engine friendly site can.

Design/development and SEO are two completely different things, though closely tied together. Each, however, requires a completely different skill set. Most SEOs don’t claim to be web developers (though some are), but oddly, many web designers claim to be able to SEO (though most can’t.)

The process of SEO requires hours of additional research and a skill set that usually is not included as a part of the site development contract. There are a few development firms that also specialize in SEO and Marketing and these firms can develop and engage in long-term optimization services. But be aware that any short-term website development contract that claims to include SEO simply will not provide adequate or successful SEO marketing results.

It’s very smart to find a web developer that can create a search engine friendly website, but be aware of claims of SEO services being included. It’s even smart to find an SEO that will work with your web developer to create a search engine friendly website completely compatible with their optimization processes. This prevents the SEO from having to ask for numerous, and expensive, site development changes in order to embark on a successful SEO campaign.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

3 Responses to Search Engine Friendly is NOT Search Engine Optimized

  1. Stoney, I agree completely. I’d say the most important aspects of SEO are (in this order)

    1) Market/keyword research
    2) Link building
    3) Optimization of the on-page content
    4) Optimization of the code, site structure, and URLs

    Most web developers only do #4.

    Now days a content management system is the best option for most websites. There are CMSs available that have been developed to be SEO-friendly or have components that make them SEO-friendly. So, if you choose a good CMS for your website development #4 is basically a given anyway (although SEO probably doesn’t factor into the CMS selection process for most web developers). Any company that claims to offer SEO with their website development ought to have one or more dedicated SEOs on staff who are experts at the 3 most important aspects of SEO.

    That’s how we do things.

  2. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    Justin, unless you do it yourself, spending $1000’s is just part of getting the job done. Just like you can’t run effective radio or tv spots without spending some good money, the same goes with SEO. But again, if you want to do it yourself you can do it for free, minus your own time. There are a lot of resources available such as blogs, forums, trade shows. You can buy my e-marketing book (on the right) along with others as well. It may seem like a daunting task but the best place to start is just to dive in anywhere. From there you’ll be guided in whatever direction you fancy.

  3. Justin says:

    please email me with more information on how to get a site optimized without having to spend $1,000’s.

    Thanks