Many Web Design Agencies Don’t Understand SEO

Many Web Design Agencies Don’t Understand SEO


Hello everyone, this is John Locke form Lockedown
Design and this might be my most controversial video yet. I think a lot of people might agree with some
of the things I’m saying here, but I think a lot of people might end up resenting what
I’m about to say, but I think it really needs to be said. Today what I want to talk to you about is
the misconception that most design agencies have SEO and why your web developer might
not know jack about SEO. This video was really inspired by a conversation
that I happen to see on social media. The summary of the conversation was something
like this: The web developer was saying, “If you create good content, and you have a well-designed
site that’s accessible, then that’s pretty much all you can do for SEO and anything more
than that is just trying to trick Google.” Here’s where I completely disagree with that. Is the content and accessibility and the design
of a site important to SEO? You bet it is. But if you’re not building a brand or building
links back to your site in places where you’re ideal customers hangout, you’re more than
likely going to get destroyed in SEO. SEO takes a lot of different forms and sometimes
we do go in, and we create content for a site, or improve the design, but a lot of times
what we must do is not only create content and improve the URL structure and make it
accessible, but also do link building and brand building. Now when I come to you, this is not just an
opinion, but this is actually through experience. For those that don’t know my background, I’ve
been working full-time for myself since 2012. A lot of that time was spend as a web developer,
subcontracting to a lot of design agencies, where people were very, very talented and
they made some really sharp designs, and I’ve built out suits small business, medium businesses,
large businesses and even international businesses. That’s not an embellishment, it’s a fact. One thing that I continue to see as a pattern,
and especially with the small and medium size businesses is a lot of design agencies, they
push the fact that they want to invest in a brand new site, but they don’t do anything
else to build their brand. Perhaps they had a URL before that had a couple
links going back to it, but then for whatever reason they started with a brand new domain
name, maybe they didn’t do any link building. What happens in cases like that is you can
have a brand new website that has brand new content, looks modern, where your old site
looked terrible now you have a good looking site, but the traffic doesn’t go up at all. The reason why is you’re not doing the other
parts of the marketing that you need to be doing, and specifically creating content that’s
targeted at your ideal customer and promoting it in other places, and building links in
places where customers would expect to see your site. SEO is multifaceted, it’s not just on page,
it’s not just off page, it’s both of these things at once. Where I believe part of the root of the problem
lies is a lot of design and development agencies don’t understand SEO, and so they look at
it as sort of some black magic or fairy dust or special sauce that you can just sprinkle
on the site once you’re done with it. They don’t coordinate a strategy with a SEO
agency from the beginning of the project. I feel very strongly that this is something
that should be happening. I’ll link it up below, but there’s an article
I wrote about the end of agency siloing and why it’s so important to your clients. But essentially, you can build a beautiful,
minimalistic, cutting edge design site, but if you’ve only got 50 words on a page, a SEO
agency is going to have to make changes to that anyway in order to make it rank. I’m sorry, but in most cases you’re going
to have to tailor the content on the page to what the customer’s intention is and not
just what you think looks good, or what other people are doing over here and over there. That’s why it’s so important for design agencies
to coordinate with SEO agencies from the start of the project. Now, part of the problem might be that people
go to design school, or they learn how to develop, and they think that their discipline
is the most important. Now, as someone who studied a lot of graphic
design … I never went to school, I did go to school to learn how to develop, you really
have to integrate all three from the beginning of a projects. I think a lot of agencies, they think that
what they’re selling is the most important thing. There’s a reluctance to partner up or tag
team with another agency that might have expertise in something that they don’t. SEO is not the devil’s work, it’s not snake
oil. If you have a company that’s doing it right,
it’s really about brand building, identifying ideal customers and creating everything, from
the design of the site to the content of the site, to the promotion of the site around
that fact. I think that it’s also a real possibility
that a lot of designer branding agencies that they just don’t want to split the budget with
another agency. Something that’s very true is design is the
rendering of intent. When it comes to the purpose, any purpose
of spending money to redesign the site or build out content or promote it or whatever
it is, redesign a logo, invest in your brand, whatever you’re doing, the whole goal is to
drive traffic to your site with qualified customers and then get them to spend money. The whole idea is to get back that revenue
and ROI. My plea to you is this: If your design agency
is really just a specialist in design or branding, and they’re not going to be measuring the
effects of that design later on down the road, ask them for a referral to someone who knows
SEO, someone who is in SEO agency that can partner with them on this project. Because here’s the truth and the fact, a lot
of designs are made just from what the designer thinks is going to look good. They’re not actually looking at what you’re
trying to rank for, what keywords you’re actually trying to rank for and what are the top 10
pages that are actually ranking for those terms. Are they informational, are they sales pages,
what do the pages actually look like, how are the pages laid out and what sort of actions
are they prompting the customers, or the visitors to take. These are important things that you need to
know. They’re just as much a part of SEO as they
are design. That’s what I’m saying, it’s all very interlace. If you’re going to have something to begin
with, I would say figure out what keywords you’re trying to rank for and get the content
together. If the top 10 pages that are ranking for a
keyword all have 2,000 words on them, and the home page that your designer comes back
with only has space for 400 words on it, you’re probably not going to end up ranking. Take a look at what’s actually ranking. My exhortation to design agencies is: If you
need help with SEO, if your client is actually trying to rank, and you’re not going to do
SEO later, work with a SEO agency from the start. Maybe you have to give up a little bit of
the budget, maybe the client has to come up with a little bit extra budget, maybe you
hire someone as an outside SEO consultant to help guide that process, then you can tag
them back in at the end of the project. But I think it’s very, very important, for
both clients and design agencies and developers to realize the limitations of what they do
know, and they don’t know and hand that off to a specialist. Work with someone for your client’s benefit,
that is what we’re all here for, is to see our client succeed, so let’s do what’s best
for them. If you have any thoughts on this video, if
you have any feedback, if you think I’m talking out my rear end please let me know in the
comments below and let me know what types of videos you’d like to see. This is John Locke form Lockedown Design signing
of.

1 Comment

  1. Many web agencies that specialize in branding, design, or coding may not understand SEO. Many of them think it is snake oil. SEO is not fairy dust sprinkled on at the end. It is a multi-faceted thing that permeates the entire process. Content, brand building, link building, design, matching searcher intent, URL structure, 301 redirects, etc…all these go into building up organic Google traffic. Have a SEO question? Leave it in the comments below, and we will answer it in a future video. Peace.

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