SEO is great but not at the expense of the Brand?

Okay, to cut a long story short I’m a designer, I specialise in design predominantly branding but also over the years now code, build content managed websites along with the more traditional marketing. I also offer full SEO solutions.

In a conversation the other day with an SEO ‘specialist’ I was interested by his approach? To gloss over a situation he works in-house for a web company who predominantly run in-house projects but he does get involved with the odd customer but never delves into any other form of marketing but online.

The opinion was that the only thing that should be considered at the start of a web project is the SEO and all other elements should fit that.

My argument being that if that were so we would end up with a design industry comparable to a template era as there would be a finite design layout that Google liked the most, that be the layout that has the largest SEO footprint, the result being the one that everyone would use.

I then brought up the what about design question to which it was simple you just make that fit the SEO, okay I can see his thinking but that’s okay if you work inside a bubble of a brand that has been built that way from its conception?

So I broached the question … A large corporate comes along with a strong internationally recognised brand accompanied by it strict brand bible wanting a new website, good accessibility, and of course great SEO, me being a designer sees this as simple, I produce the design to the best of my ability within the brief taking into account elements of Optimisation with the SEO being added to its upmost once the design is signed off.

His opinion was no, start with the SEO and do the design as best you can within the optimisation framework as that’s what’s important?

Brand > Design > Optimisation

Optimisation > Design > Brand

Just a quick summary of an interesting chat which I’m sure happens a lot these day but it does raise interesting questions?

Who is right? I would argue myself but in a rapidly changing online landscape is the SEO Guru the man to lead?

Walking down the high street now seeing empty shops in still busy towns I agree with some is a sign of e commerce and online savings, I know shop owners who have closed down as they could not compete online or off with web wholesalers.

Getting you products online is key to success now, getting found is a fundamental part of this, but once there the design has to engage, and is a brand that in the past stuck so rigidly to its brand bible now okay to be forced to be flexible?

John Whalvin
Creative Director

http://www.designvent.co.uk

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Design Industry shift?

It’s only after a lot of years 10+ in a business (and im not that old) that you start to truly see the changing face of an industry and it’s effect on career paths. I always remember being told that “there are twice as many designers out of work than in work and every job you apply for you will be up against at least 100 others etc”, this was back in 1995 but I for one have never been out of work since leaving university, be it luck, talent or just a bit of blag I’ve been working.

Fast forward to present day I’m running my own agency, it’s small but busy and suits my life setup but I did this on the back of years of experience in a number of different industries from large corporate blue-chip in-house design to advertising agencies to working for local web design agencies, even a stint as a marketing manager but the one thing that was always constant was that when design was needed clients looked to the design industry which you found through a number of sources.

With so many online services the question I now ponder is from a clients point of view who is the design industry? I obviously consider myself part of it but so many potential clients are posting work online and accepting bids based on price rather than on quality, don’t get me wrong there is a lot of talent out there but the Internet gives everyone the ability to be a designer just because they own
photoshop.

I’m busy, I have a great core of customers and a constant workload so there are no sour grapes from me I just worry about the changing face of design based in an economic downturn. A lot of people are trying to start small home businesses and are keeping the purse strings tight so I understand why they are price governed and students are looking to boost grants so a bit of extra design work on the side is great, I get that too not to mention overseas trying to grab lots hence I see a lot of bids include the phrase “UK bids only”.

I just worry that anyone can get a hooky copy of creative suite from their mate Dave or Colin, nick a bunch of logos and design off the web to pass off as their own and bid on work with no regard for quality just a quick few quid in the pocket.

There is an amazing industry out there and I love looking at the daily feeds via Twitter etc and I dont see that changing but a lot of let’s call it interesting design is and will be produced at the lower end of the Market and not all of it that good!

John Whalvin

http://www.Designvent.co.uk