When a web developer tells you they will optimize your website, watch out! What they really mean is they will make your site search engine friendly. But that’s not the same as making it search engine optimized!
Search Engine Friendly is Good
For the most part, making a web page search engine friendly is fairly straight forward. That means making sure each page uses a unique title and meta description, along with a unique h1 heading and content. There are some other background issues as well, but those are usually global for the whole site rather than specific for the page.
What developers typical don’t do is write keyword optimized title, meta description, or heading tags. And they most certainly are not keyword optimizing your content.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
In fact, the work the developer does is essential to provide a strong foundation for a search optimized website. If custom tags cannot be added, or there is no place for content, then you have to go back and have those features added in–sometimes at great cost.
Search Engine Optimized is Better
Search engine optimized tags and content require a lot more time and knowledge. Typically, that is an investment that the developer doesn’t factor into the building of a site. It starts with keyword research and then using that research to craft tags and content that is specifically design to meet both your visitor’s needs and the needs of the search engines.
Keyword research itself can be a 5-10 hour process. Optimizing the tags, probably about 15 minutes per page. Finally, the content can take anywhere from 1-3 hours to optimize and implement, again, per page.
Now you can see why most developers don’t do this. Nothing against them, but they are busy focusing on the things they do well, which is design and develop websites. They leave the marketing to the marketers.
That said, always get a marketer involved in the web design process to work with your developer. This ensures a search engine friendly execution that can save you tons of money later!
How to be both search friendly and search optimized
- Talk to your developer before you sign any contract so you can understand what they will be doing to “optimize” the website. Remember, what they really mean is to make it search engine friendly.
- Get a web marketer involved from the very beginning. Let them do keyword research and navigation optimization so the new site will be built with an eye for marketing later.
- Have the web marketer review the developer’s site structure and coding so fixes can be made before the site rolls out.
- Have your web marketer write customize titles, descriptions and heading tags from the keyword research they performed. They or the developer can implement these before they site rolls out.
- Get working on content. This takes the most time, but you can start right away creating content that can be optimized and implemented when the site goes live.