Can You Mix Web Development and SEO Into a Money Maker?
Which is more important: a website that makes human visitors happy or one that makes the search engines happy?
If you’re like most business people, you don’t really care. You just want a website that supports your business and makes you money.
Unfortunately, if this is the objective you’ve given your web designer for your new site or site redesign, your website may not do a great job at either supporting you or making you money.
The problem is that web development and SEO objectives can sometimes be at odds with one another. One team wants to just please people, while the other sees that many of these efforts to please people hurt your efforts to be found in the search engines.
Let’s take a look at where and why these conflicts occur. Then let’s talk about how you can get web dev and SEO teams working together to give you a truly “best at everything” website.
Web Design and Development Teams
Web design and development efforts are all aimed at making your site look and act a certain way. The web design team handles the front-end work that your visitors see.
Designers want your site to lure people in with a fresh and interactive look and feel. They want that smooth scrolling, single page site that looks great on a mobile device and cuts down on (or eliminates) all the clicking and page loading that can slow a visitor down.
Web Developers work in the backend code that supports these front end objectives. They make sure that all the functions of your site, like collecting email addresses from prospects and playing videos to handling sales orders all work perfectly. In addition, they make sure these functions all work perfectly with each other and with that nifty layout with the hidden, then exposed content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Team
Years ago, search engine optimization experts referred to Google as a “blind five year old.” The search engine spiders could not see still images or video and navigated the web by touching and following links from one page to another.
Googlebot has progressed some with the growth of the Internet, but the spider still has trouble seeing and understanding some images, videos and codes. Textural content cues have become more important as the use of different media has grown.
Along the way, Google and BIng have made other adaptations to keep up with changing design trends that sometimes put SEO in direct conflict with designers.
For example, John Mueller, spokesperson for Google, said in January of 2018 that Google does see and index text that is “hidden” on a page and only revealed when a visitor clicks a tab or “read more” text. He also said that Google discounts the importance of this text because it is initially hidden.
Web Development and SEO Can Work Together
In order to avoid as many conflicts as possible, you want to get your web development and SEO teams talking with one another as early in the process of designing your new site as possible. Both these experts can then look at ways code and content can work together to please both audiences.
In our hidden text example above, this could mean changes are made to both code and content. The code could be rewritten to display the first three lines of the content on the page before a “read more” link needs to be triggered. The content can also be rewritten to ensure the most important keywords and thoughts appear in those first three lines.
Page load speeds, site structures, and url structures are just a few of the other areas where web dev and SEO compromises can have big benefits for your website’s performance. Here are even more ideas of how you can push your site to peak performance when these two work in harmony.