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Web Design & SEO: You Can’t Have One Without the Other

Web Design and SEO Together - Planet 8 Digital Marketing

SEO and web design are the tag team of the century

Your Philadelphia web design firm has a well-established reputation as a skilled architect of the type of design symmetry they have created for your website.  They utilized a bold color scheme to enhance your brand’s image, even giving your website an elegant image gallery featuring seamless transitions.

In addition to building you an appealing website, your designer likely offered you an inexpensive SEO package, which you quickly agreed to because it seemed like a good deal.  As a paying customer with a limited knowledge of the online world, you now believe that everything is in order and are ready to launch your website, right? WRONG!

What is good web design

While your web design firm has posted all of your written and photographic content, a good web design job should not end there.  Good design is so much more than well-crafted content, beautiful photos and the Rule of Thirds. Here’s what else you really need:

Internal and external linking

Internal linking is crucial to disseminate page authority evenly across your website.  It is not enough to simply have every page listed in the navigation bar, although that is important, of course. You must also have links in the text to other pages, using appropriate anchor text.  These links allow search engines to create a hierarchy for your site and assign authority to your pages accordingly.

External links give search engines a better idea of what is on your website.  If you own a brick-and-mortar sporting goods store with external links to a sponsored little league team, a friend’s sports blog, or even to the manufacturers of the brands you sell, keep at it!  Such links indicate to search engines that you have content on your site similar to what you are linking to. 

Quick load time

47% of users give a website less than 2 seconds to load before giving up and trying another one.  Compressing your CSS, HTML, image sizes, javascript, and everything else on your site is a crucial step in keeping potential customers from going to your competitor’s page. 

NAP in header

NAP stands for “Name, Address, and Phone Number” and is one of the first things your users check on.  Your NAP should be displayed in the header of the page and easy to spot.  If any web design agency tells you otherwise, you should be wary.

Keyword-focused content

The thin paragraph or two written by your web designers for each service may be quality content, but not from a web developer’s standpoint.  While it is a benefit that you, an expert in your field, write coherent content for your web designers to put on the site, I doubt you did any appropriate keyword research to go with your content. 

If your team does not provide you with a list of the three best keywords, you should rethink if you want to continue with your current team. Your site’s content must be keyword-rich (but not spam) if you want to higher SEO rankings.  Additionally, your landing pages need to be a mix of great user experience and content catered specifically for search engines.

Original and unique content

Simply put, everything (yes, everything) on your site needs to be original and unique, including content displayed across multiple pages of your site.  Search engines have been cracking down on duplicate content so prevent them from penalizing you for minor content issues.


All of the previous points are borderline useless if the site itself is not aesthetically pleasing.  When in doubt, keep it simple instead of cluttering your site with visual noise that doesn’t fit the theme. Color scheme, shapes, patterns, typography, images, and other visual cues are important for reducing your bounce rate and helping customers along the conversion path.

What is good SEO

Knowing the difference between affordable SEO and valuable SEO is a strength for any business owner.  That $200/month bargain with an endless list of promises from your web design company seems good on paper, but you should know that good SEO does not come cheap.  At Planet 8 Digital, we strive to keep our customers at the top of their respective industries by providing the best SEO possible: there are no cookie-cutter SEO packages.  Planet 8 creates a detailed strategy geared for your unique situation.  Here’s what makes good SEO:

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the belle of the ball as we reach 2017.  Users nowadays want answers and help for their unique situation and search engines filter out websites that don’t utilize content marketing.  Blogs, video tutorials, FAQ’s, podcasts are all helping brands reach their potential online and if your web design team isn’t developing user-friendly content, find someone who will.

Inbound links

Building upon the section that previously discussed linking, inbound links are crucial for increasing your domain authority.  When trying to get more inbound links, competitor analysis is a great tool to find out how they’re getting additional links.  If those are relevant to your industry and can help, by all means, reach out to them and ask for a link back.  If websites with high domain authority are linking back to you, search engines will more than likely take notice and reward you with a higher domain authority in return!

Social media

There’s a reason why social media has become a potent marketing tool; it’s because there are billions of users. This ties back to content marketing because social media is a great platform to reach large numbers of people.  Your industry generally dictates which platforms to use, but a great start is a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yelp.

Local SEO

Local SEO services are so important because, in order to dominate your market, you need to start in your area and then expand outward.  For example, if you’re running a construction business in Bucks County and want to expand into Philadelphia, your best bet is to establish a solid basis in Bucks, then gradually expand to Philadelphia.

Meta tags and headers

Meta tags exist for a reason: to help search engines efficiently and accurately determine what is on your page.  If you search your top online competitors, you will find they all use meta title and description tags, so consumers can determine the contents of their website without even having to visit it.

Header tags are another simple and efficient method of good SEO, but if used improperly, they can be detrimental.  Each page should have one <h1>, one or two <h2>’s, and one or two <h3>’s to establish a clear hierarchy.  But don’t forget, your keywords need to be present so that search engines can clearly read them!

Why they need to go together

I didn’t want to go into too much detail about each topic, and I didn’t want to bore you with dozens of points about each one (believe me, I easily could have).  Think of it like building a house where the foundation and walls of the house are the websites itself, and the ductwork, electricity, and plumbing are the SEO responsibilities.  When building a house, you keep in mind those future installments, just like when designing a website it’s important to bear in mind the SEO side of the job.

Without the utilities, the house isn’t a functioning entity, nor would people want to be there.  Without SEO, your website will be unattractive from a search engine’s standpoint, and you don’t give the user an incentive to stay.  

If that inexpensive web design firm offers you SEO services for an incredibly low price, odds are you’ll be wasting your money.  Good SEO cannot get accomplished in only a few hours every month, which is how they can get by with offering such low prices.  Furthermore, they might build you a great looking website and hound you to sign up for an SEO package month after month.  After six months you agree to it in hopes of attracting customers, but if that’s the case, I can guarantee they did not lay the proper foundation upon which the SEO services could be done, and I doubt they use the latest tips and techniques.

At Planet 8 Digital, our goal is to get you more money, and that means more customers.  We focus primarily on SEO and digital marketing but are professional and local web designers too.  Other firms offer SEO as a “cherry on top” service, however that’s our bread and butter.  We know that all pieces of your online presence go hand in hand and they all play an equal part.  So understanding the differences between SEO and web design and knowing why they’re so valuable together is good for any business owner.  

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