2016 seems to be the year that website owners have finally become aware of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and what it means for their organization, as evidenced by the increasing number of web development clients asking us whether we “include SEO” with our WordPress websites.
The question makes our blood boil, but not because clients show a lack of understanding around SEO. For years, website owners have been bamboozled by disreputable firms that tried to shroud SEO in mystery and no one can blame the client for not understanding how SEO works. It’s the web developers that claim to include SEO in the price of their website products that enrage us. What, exactly, are they selling and will it really have any impact on your site’s SEO health and search engine rankings?
In researching the issue of how many web shops offer SEO with their websites, we came across two older but still relevant articles: this one in particular makes it clear that you probably shouldn’t be asking your web designer to do your SEO as your web designer knows more about the flight patterns of African swallows. And this article gets to the heart of the matter: should a web designer/developer offer SEO as part of a website package?
Tadpole Collective decided to include what we call “SEO Readiness” with every website we deliver. We have to deliver something — too many potential clients expect SEO with their website — even when they don’t know what that means. Because we want to be honest and up front with our clients, we don’t feel right nor would we go so far as to call this SEO — but it is better than what most web designers/developers are giving their clients and passing off as SEO!
The Tadpole SEO Readiness Package includes:
- Installation and configuration of All in One SEO Pack
- Home page meta tagging (client to provide preferred Title and Description)
- Webmaster verification tools (client to provide Google, Bing and/or Pinterest verification codes)
- Google settings (client to provide Analytics ID, G+ Profile ID)
- Installation of XML Sitemap Add-On
- Overview of SEO best practices and tutorial on using plugin to tag pages/posts going forward
You notice that half of these settings require input from the client. That’s because real SEO cannot be outsourced completely; rather, it requires the business or organization stakeholder to partner closely with the SEO to identify goals, outline a strategy for achieving them and continually measure outcomes and refine tactics. In other words, SEO is a long-term undertaking and not something that can be rolled into your web design.
The skill sets and capabilities of the web designer, developer and SEO are very different. Here’s an analogy — you wouldn’t expect the architect that designed your skyscraper to include the structural engineering work, right? Clients should remember what it is they are paying for when hiring a web designer or developer — or when shopping for an SEO vendor — and not confuse the two.