Design and SEO go hand in hand, like teenage girls and vampires, copy and paste, or mustaches and creepers. Design without SEO is just a bunch of hipsters putting pretty pictures on a website that no one will see while SEO without design is just a bunch of people optimizing a 1970’s website that no one wants to look at. Why not join forces and have designers work closer with SEO’s? When they come together to form a relationship almost as perfect as Brangelina there ends up being a better end product, which then turns around to be a better search user experience or SUX. We all know that the user is our main purpose for all of this. When they are happy we are happy because they use our services, which then turns into the almighty dollar.
Currently I’m attending a great school by the name of College of Southern Idaho (go Golden Eagles?). I’m doing my generals here, before I go to BSU to get my IT degree, so I took some coding classes to make my time here a bit more exciting. I have coded before and know a thing or two. I have also worked at Nifty for 1 year, 3 months, 28 days, 6 hours, 41 minutes, and 39 seconds as an SEO, which seems awesome (and it is), but it can get me in trouble in class from time to time. The reason? I tell the teacher she is wrong. Yes, this woman knows more about coding than I do, but one thing she knows nothing about is SEO. This blew my mind! How could someone know all about design and how a page should look and know how to perfectly code it, but not know the first thing about SEO? How does she think anyone would see her website without it ranking in Google? The other surprising thing that I learned in my class was that none of my classmates even knew what SEO was, except me. WHAT?!
All of this happened on the first day of class so you can only imagine how this semester has been and the things I might have said in class. I might not be her favorite student, but she is a role model to me for being in this male dominant industry. Now let me tell you about a couple things she thought were okay to tell future designers and my smart remarks that haven’t gotten me in trouble just yet.
Disclaimer: Words said by each person may not be exactly what they said. Names were also changed for the purpose of this blog.
Example 1. H1’s:
Carlton: Hey professor, so I want to add some rad headings to my page. Can I just make them all H1’s and style them different?
Professor: Of course! H1’s are a great thing to use. That’s a great idea to just change the styles in the CSS. Add as many as you want.
Taylor (That’s me, btw): Use as many H1’s as you want, but don’t ever expect to rank and have anyone see your site.
Professor:…Well I guess I would listen to her.
Example 2. Title Tags:
Sherman: What should all of our title tags look like?
Professor: Doesn’t really matter how long it is just as long as it’s a little blurb to remind you what page it is.
Taylor: It does need to say what the page is, but it has to be no more than 55 characters. It should also be the most important keyword you want to rank for. If it’s a business you should put the business name after your keyword.
Example 3. Keywords
Professor: When you are doing title tags and Meta descriptions don’t forget to add a lot of keywords so that search engines can see what your page is all about.
Taylor: Sorry to keep saying something, but actually no one really uses meta-keywords anymore. It just ends up looking like spam and you’ll get penalized for it.
By this point I’m sure she just wishes I would keep my mouth shut as we are only half way done with the semester. Who knows what will come out of my mouth next. Either way, designers, programmers, and SEOs need to start working together on every step of the process. I’ve noticed that designers will design an eye-pleasing site, but it isn’t optimized like it needs to be. SEO’s ends up going in and making a bunch of changes. Why not save ourselves some work and just work closer together? Everyone always seems to wish for more time in his or her day, and this could help with that. Plus when we work together the end product always seems to be better and better for the user, which should be our purpose. So let’s make life easy and start teaching SEO and design together, because it SUX!