Whats The Difference Between Website Design & SEO?

Over 140,000 websites get launched every day and to be able to judge such an influx, search engines are constantly updating their algorithm to make the call which land a spot on the 1st page.

The more complex Google's algorithm gets every few months, the more heated the feud is between a web designer and an SEO (the person performing Search Engine Optimization).

In reality, you cannot have one without the other to achieve online success in 2018, so it's vital they both get along. Otherwise, you might end up with a good looking website that nobody ever sees or an ugly 1st place site that's incapable of converting visitors into clients.

That's a bit of an extreme way of putting it, that's how it used to be in 2006. Now you simply cannot rank 1st place for any keywords without delivering an aesthetically pleasing experience to viewers. User experience is a major ranking factor these days. Refer to my guide on Ranking Signals in 2018 to see what Google is looking for when judging websites.

So What's The Actual Difference?

Website designers make things look good; they concentrate strictly on aesthetics and do everything possible to please the visitor.

Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs) find ways to get visitors to your website by pleasing the search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

SEO is an ongoing process that should be continuously performed as search engines never stop evaluating who deserves to be on 1st page. Its pretty much a bidding auction house for keywords. SEO is seen to be a long-term ranking strategy. An average campaign goes for no less than six months as it takes at least three to see the needle move.

Website design, on the other hand, is generally a one-off cost for the main part of it aside from any maintenance agreements set in place.

SEO actually entails web design, its SEO web design, only with Google in mind instead of the end user.

It involves a process which is essentially made up of two parts:

1 - On-Site SEO - visible changes made on the website.

Which is properly structuring and programming a website through a series of changes and optimization techniques. These are changes made to the website itself visible by visitors. Things like:
- Page Titles, Keyword & Content Optimization
- Page Speed & Responsiveness Across Mobile Devices
- Page Hierarchies & Interlinking

2 - Off-Site SEO - external changes that happen in the background.

Off-Site SEO is all about external factors which help increase rank such as building backlinks. Off-site activities are not visible on the website; they are purely back-end factors that move the ranking needle up. Common places to start building backlinks would be:
- Directory Websites
- Social Media
- Authority Websites in Your Niche
- Forum Posts

What's the fuss all about?

The issue is that web designers (or developers) argue that rankings are not everything. And its true, a poor looking high ranking website that gets lots of traffic won't convert those visitors into customers.

The issue SEOs have with web designers is sites are built in ways that make it hard for Google read and understand your page. Often tools and code are used that looks good but does not serve any purpose in helping the search engines better understand the website.

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