I've been working in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) at various levels for around 7 years and things have changed a lot in that time.
When I first started few designers understood or cared about SEO. At that time it was possible to be presented with a new website from a newly formed company and achieve a number 1 ranking on Google within a few weeks by adding a few meta tags and changing the page titles.
Things have moved on a lot since then and search engine optimisation is now an element, albeit a very important one, in the whole process of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). New companies and new websites have to become established and show some degree of longevity before being 100% accepted by major search engines. Good, relevant content is essential as is site structure and navigation. The search engines have become far more sophisticated and so have we, the end users.
But although attitudes amongst designers have changed SEO is still something that is often tacked on at the end of the design process - " OK we've finished the site, can you optimise it now?" Usually the answer to this is 'Yes', but it isn't the best way of going about it.
Optimising a site is all about the end user so SEO should be part of the site's design process rather than an 'add-on'. It's the end user that we have the website for isn't it?
Being totally focused on design some designers still don't think too much about the end user - but design can do that, it's very easy to become so involved with the design that the end purpose gets somehow lost along the way.
Over the next few weeks I'll be looking at some basic pitfalls of design and how they can derail your website.