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Website Design vs SEO… which comes first?

In the recent past I have gotten into a few debates on the topic of which aspect of a website should proceed the other. Many believe that if you don’t design the site well, users won’t use it at all. Others believe that you MUST determine your SEO strategy first before even looking at a website’s design. This is really as the “Chicken or Egg” debate. My answer, raise cows not chickens!

What I mean is that you must do both at exactly the same time. In a previous post we discussed enabling good metatags, page titles, etc. These are all aspects of a site design that affects SEO. And some SEO requirements (like automatically updating sitemaps, or shopping cart integration to Google Shopping results) should drive your design.

So what do we recommend:

  1. If you are planning to increase your site’s rank, prepare for redesigns to your site being needed.
  2. Before you implement new features to your site (like Blogs, or Shopping Carts) think first about the integration to search engines.
  3. Simple designs, that are very attractive to the users are sometimes the worst things for SEO (like java or Flash)
  4. Always consult with both of your experts. If you have separate SEO and Web Design people, force them to develop a joint plan for you. This way everything happens correctly and correctly integrated
  5. Do the simplest things first. Consolidating your websites, your social media presence, etc are some of the most beneficial SEO activities.

Following these rules, you can seamlessly integrate a great web design, and SEO impact!