Web Designers please learn SEO or stop selling SEO services

I am sick to death of clients coming to me with websites built by web designers who do not know the basics of SEO.

Some clients spend thousands of pounds and end up with a site that needs to be re coded, simply because title tags have not been included, or a H1 tag or an effective internal link structure.

Yet go onto the unmentioned Cornwall Web Designer website and “Effective SEO services” are offered.

Do not offer what you cannot deliver.

It is so simple to learn the basics, go to my list of how to learn basic seo and read up. It doesn’t even cost money.

But if you can’t do it, don’t say you can. Get a professional in. Doesn’t have to be me, one of the best SEO companies in the UK live in Cornwall, go see what they say, and then come to me, 😉

There are a few SEO friendly web designers in Cornwall though, Richard Quick Designs, Web Footed Designs and Four Degrees West, to name a few.

I am sure there are others, but this is a blog about Cornish search engine marketing, not Cornish Web Design. Actually if you are a Cornish Web Designer get in touch and lets chat about giving your clients a superb SEO service.

SEO Clueless Web Developers: Evil or Cash Cow?
Should web designers be taught SEO?

30 thoughts on “Web Designers please learn SEO or stop selling SEO services”

  1. Hear hear Lyndon. Or even worse, people coming to you with (shudder) *flash* websites.

    Often companies don’t get it too far wrong if it’s a small-ish site but the bigger the site gets the worse the site build tends to get from an SEO perspective, particularly for e-commerce.

    That’s why I always like to keep the web-build in house as I know that our development team understand SEO and I can always be closely involved in the build of the actual site, from the GROUND UP.

    We’re not Cornwall based but if you’re ever in need of a Web development company to partner with we could help you out and I promise we won’t steal the SEO business from you as well 😉

  2. Amen to that!
    But, on the other hand, it gives more business to companies that DO know about SEO (if you can convince the client that he/she needs it).
    We’re located on a small island in the Caribbean and in a lot of ways time has stood still here. SEO is in its initial phase here so we get to shudder and cry a lot when working on redoing websites….

  3. Hi Lyndon, spot on it is irritating. I had a potential client ring me last minth for an SEO quote. I as tactfully as possible told him that his 14 month old “FLASH” site would need to go in the bin first, wasting multiple ?,000’s. He was not a happy man, he may contact me again once he recovers from his depression but who knows.

    It left me feeling sick, so god knows how he felt.

  4. The real thing that bothers me is trying to get ROI on these sites. If I was just doing SEO to the site it’s usually easy to justify your fee.
    But when you need to take their almost new site and basically rebuild it from scratch because of a bad choice of CMS or whatever, that’s extra expense that needs to be recovered somehow – making your job harder.

    I find it really funny how designers forget to mention that by doing a totally flash website, their rankings will be royally porked. And almost as funny how the client doesn’t think to ask.

  5. I hear that Lyndon!

    It’s piss easy to apply seo principles. Web design companies like the ones you allude to, need to get the arses out of their egos and make stuff that delivers.

    I wonder how much as been wasted in this way…myust run into the millions of ?’s

  6. And they keep getting business by pimiping the anchor text in all their sites so they end up ranking nicely on a lot of seo related keywords!

    Cheeky Beggars

  7. Nice post Lyndon, although web designers are great if you want to rank for the first paragraph of your homepage text as a Google search! As long as the search is in double quotation marks 🙂

  8. Oggie Oggie Oggie

    From a Cornish SEO here in Charlotte North Carolina – thank you for that….

    There are so many web designers here in North Carolina and California that waffle on about SEO it’s unbelievable – the buggers try and hire me for the price of a pasty and charge the poor old customer $7000 and up which really pi$$ses me off – lock ’em in Bodmin Jail – bloody hannoys me it doo…..

    Morval, Cornwall

  9. It doesn’t get any better as you go up north either! The fine county of Shropshire is abound with missing title tags (or even better ‘Untitled Page’), lists in the meta description and pages comprised totaly of images.

    Likewise, they say they can do SEO up here too; even when they only have two incoming links and no title tag themselves.

  10. I am thinking if you provided reasons to learn SEO as a designer, they’d listen. A rant from a SEO may not do any good (though it might strike them as weird – a SEO rooting for others to learn his job).

    And this thing is really world wide. You’d be mortally horrified by checking our local web designers’ websites.

  11. Wow, sounds like I hit a nerve.

    I’m going to be holding SEO seminars for web designers down here in Cornwall. Charging only ?30 for a few hours. Don’t need long to teach the basics.

    Even if it’s just to drill in DIFFERENT TITLE TAGS FOR DIFFERENT PAGES it will be worth it.

    Also, I make connections with the web designers and hopefully they use me as their SEO guy.

    I am having a bit of success networking with web designers and offering services. Some of them like the idea of me offering a white label service, so they can resell it in my name.

    I like the idea of having a bag of web designers who do all the selling and grubbing around and simply call me when there is work.

  12. I love the rant. Couldn’t be truer or more spot on!

    But hey, if the world were pefect, life wouldn’t be as much fun, and clients wouldn’t be as impressed by real SEO when we show them the results as they are after someone else has screwed them over!

    Hahah…. just the cynic in me speaking.

  13. Love the rant too. I can’t stand when people come to us and say – my site was designed by someone who told me they know SEO, and the site is

    a. in flash
    b. has one title tag for the entire site
    c. has messy navigation structure
    d. is one big image

    That situation sucks, quite frankly and it gives a great industry a black eye.

    Thanks for discussing Lyndo

    Jake – New York, NY.

  14. I couldn’t agree more! On-page SEO should be a standard part of web design training. I think off-page SEO (link building) will probably always require SEO specialists (because of the marketing focus), but if more designers knew even basic on-page SEO, the world would be a better place, for both clients, and SEO’s.

  15. 30 pounds for a few hours of solid SEO in simple terms? That’s severely underestimated. I suspect the seminar is to pick more designers to get work from? 😉

  16. Agree to each word of this post. I’ve come across similar situations and at first really didn’t have a clue as to how to convince my clients. But later i took it as a challenge and these days i think thats one thing that i spent more time with – convincing my clients for the mistakes their designers have done.

  17. I don’t mind web designers knowing nothing about SEO, but I do mind web designers saying they know SEO and, even worse, selling “SEO services” or “submission services.” Come on. Admit you don’t know what you are doing and recommend a real SEO!

    10 years ago, web designers commanded high rates. These days it is the SEO that commands high rates. Hence the attractiveness of becoming an SEO poser. Smart web designers will specialize in web design, rather than take on tasks that they are not competent in because they will lose their clients in the long-term if they don’t deliver results.

    There are web designers out there that do know SEO, but they are few and far between. I am constantly amazed how many web designers have SEO services listed on their sites.

  18. Great post and by the comments I read, you definitively struck a nerve. This is not just a UK issue, you’ll be surprise how many U.S. agencies claim to be SEO/SEM experts and not delivering even the basics as you mentioned in your post. I also think that clients need to be coached to ask the right questions from their vendors to make sure they deliver and hold vendors accountable for services promised but not delivered.

  19. I have been quite busy fixing sites that did not take SEO into consideration during the design phase and would be out of a job if many designers learned SEO.

    So Keep them Commin Designers!

  20. Holy Crap! AMEN! I deal with this all the time! I am so happy I found you on Sphinn. I will come back often! I have one client that recently spent $18,000 for a site that has completely gone into supplemental due to keyword stuffing and meta tag stuffing. Additionally, the coding is a nightmare and the web design company argued with me that supplemental is normal for about a year!

    I wrote about this topic and was published on Site Pro News- http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/articles/2007/0704c.html

  21. There are some good design companies out there that do in fact, know SEO enough to at least offer onpage optimization.

    However I run into just as many bad SEO companies as I do design companies that offer bad SEO.

    I really think its an industry problem, people need to figure out more about how it all works so they can pick a good company to provide the service and the guys who know nothing will be filtered out.

  22. Well, you will keep seeing such clients. The thing is that SEO is a constantly changing field and in order to be a good SEO specialist you need to learn constantly. Now, the same is true about web design, and to some extent graphic design too. So what is the possibility of finding a good web/graphic designer being a good SEO specialist at the same time AND providing services at a low price? I’d say close to zero.
    The fact is that if you are that good professional in those three fields, you will certainly cost much. Unfortunately for you though, too many people still believe in fairy tales and choose the cheap offer over the more expensive one counting solely on promises.
    I myself have found the solution for me. I make my own sites by myself and then get mad at my own mistakes but at least I know I haven’t paid anyone else for them 😉

  23. I just had a client who paid thousands for SEO services. One thing they did for my client was stuff keywords as comments in the html pages. And I mean LOTS of comments. More comments than actual markup. It took days to remove them all!

    I’m not really an SEO expert myself but that one isn’t too hard to figure out!

  24. I think web designers should have at least a basic knowledge of SEO. This way when they build there websites they can structure them so they are Search Engine friendly. Even if a company does not sell SEO services, I would say that it is still important for the company to know even just the very basics like; adding in page titles, headings and the way they build the site.

  25. SEOS please learn to design websites and understand code, because otherwise you seem ignorant. seo to me these days is 80% just good writing, and networking/spam

  26. So agree. One thing that makes me frustrated is that almost noone of the branding and marketing companies has 100 % knowledge to SEO. Of course they say so, but the fact can be that they change some tags, but that´s it. Their mission seems to give a website cool webdesign and lay out. But how could they forget thought like; is it easy to find on internet? Does our job generate traffic for the costumer? Does our changes give our clients any 1. page rank in Google?? I don´t wanna disrespect creative souls, but it´s always possible to think creative in a strategical way too?

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