The only way forward for web development and SEO

The approach of many companies is to separate web development and SEO between two specialised agencies, sometimes even going somewhere different for the design; but what we’ve found here at Branded3, is that this method is deeply ineffective.

We’ve pioneered an approach here which integrates all aspects of web development; and its results speak for themselves. In this post I’m going to explain why the traditional method of so many is flawed, and why an integrated agency can produce seamless, effective results.

Identifying the Problem

So your new site is finally up and running, and you can’t wait to sit back and watch the flow of visitor’s stream in; allowing the site to be one of the centre platforms for all of your commerce activity. But after playing the waiting game and becoming increasingly frustrated that you’ve spent months employing cutting edge designers, developers, and search gurus to create the perfect site; you realise it’s seriously underperforming. So where did it go wrong?

The traditional approach is to send your project to a designer, then to a developer, and then again to an SEO specialist. This typical phased process of design, build, and search is abundant and is adopted by even the most savvy web developers. However you don’t have to look too hard to see why this system is flawed.

Digital agencies often purely focus on the design and development phases, but also rarely consider the SEO strategy that is to follow. When your business is online, it’s essential that visitors are directed to your site. The power encompassed by search engines in making your website found is something often only realised after your site has been completed. As such, you have to spend even more time on development trying to achieve a site that fits with your SEO strategy.

For example, the keywords and phrases you target can drastically impact how the content and architecture of your site should be optimised. However a specialised development agency won’t have taken this into consideration, so when you take your site to an SEO specialist, they’d have to redesign parts of your site to conform to SEO needs, and as such your site will lack all it needs to gain those all-important top rankings. This means that the SEO process becomes more costly than it needs to be, as development work to try and optimise your site is required.

This occurs simply because using separate professionals for your web project means that they will each work towards their own defined goals; not the overall goal that you hold. They don’t focus on how their designs or methods implicate the next stage, and rarely do these experts explore outside of their specialist boundaries, to see their potential impact on other areas.

They may also have contrasting views on how the project should be developed, resulting in inconsistency, where each discipline is conflicting rather than complimenting. As a result, the search optimisation process can encounter many unnecessary obstacles, leaving you to pay the price.

The Solution: Integrating the processes

So what’s the answer? Well, solving this problem is surprisingly simple; involvement of all specialists in every stage of the project, all working to one very clear objective: the user goal.

Having come across so many websites that fall short of the mark; Branded3 pioneered an integrated approach to all aspects of web development. Combining the specialists into each phase project means both the user goals and the SEO objectives are woven into every part of the process; even at an interface design level.

With an integrated approach; SEO expertise supports each phase. Separate professionals won’t take these considerations into account, so when the sections come together, they run the risk of not fitting in with your SEO requirements. Rectifying problems like these cost more time and more money, and could be detrimental to your business.

Web Design

A well designed website is essential for engaging the user whilst encouraging them towards their objectives. If both the design and SEO team are working together, the visuals can be blended with the information hierarchy to create eye-catching but captivating content, which also features the right amount of content in the right density in the right place.

SEO isn’t all about keywords, the layout of information on the page can contribute to how well a site performs. So by allowing the search expert’s input in the design and layout, the site can be planned and created to be SEO friendly and usable the first time around.

With an integrated approach, you can be sure that the people implementing your design know and understand your brand values, and the message you want to get across, as well as create the best visual layouts and navigation to support your business and SEO goals.

Web Development

Looking at the build from an integrated perspective; the design team can consult with the development team to create a site that is both technically robust and SEO friendly. Embracing the most appropriate technologies, a well built and search engine friendly solution can be produced which falls perfectly in line with your SEO requirements.

As the processes merge together; developers can ensure that all aspects of design and SEO requirements are weaved into the structure and any applications through smart use of information architecture, HTML and CSS formatting. Each process of web development is important in its own right; but by overlapping the stages, neither of the phase objectives needs to be compromised.

SEO Strategy

It’s no secret that the power of search engines is hugely significant to the effectiveness of your site; it’s a process which can deliver outstanding results.

The last thing you want to do is take your finished site to an SEO professional to have the engaging content jigged around. Choosing the integrated approach means that SEO isn’t just an after-thought; making sure the quality of your site isn’t compromised when it comes to search efforts.

Through working closely with the designers and developers; the SEO specialists will now have the perfect platform to execute their search strategy. Not only does this allow greater ease in execution, but also should help reduce the costs of SEO efforts.

Case Study: LAFitness.co.uk

Using an integrated approach with all web development; Branded3 have transformed the traditional, ineffective method used by so many, and succeeded in making world-class brands happy. We have delivered outstanding results which have vastly improved the effectiveness of many sites.

One example would be that of LA Fitness; a project that was secured by our integrated approach. As a leading fitness brand, LA Fitness wanted to improve their web presence. The development team worked closely with the SEO team to optimise site build and content.

The results soon became apparent; with an integrated approach built in to the very foundations of the development, the site was user-friendly, robust, and secure, and immediately made an impact on the search engines. As such, within a matter of hours of going live, their site achieved #1 rankings for highly competitive terms such as “Gym” and “Gyms”.

Conclusion

Producing your web presence should be as simple as possible, one team, one site, one goal. Adopting an integrated approach to your new website development, you can be confident that you’ll receive a seamless, effective website that provides success from the start.

If you’re considering taking your business online, or your existing site is under-achieving; get in touch with Branded3 for a free audit, and begin watching the sales roll in.

By Felicity Crouch. at 8:58AM on Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Felicity is Branded3’s Marketing Manager and develops and executes a creative marketing strategy for the agency to encourage new business. With a background in journalism and digital project management, Felicity manages a large number of marketing channels effectively to raise Branded3’s profile and facilitate the growth of the company. Follow Felicity Crouch on Twitter.

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