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

There’s No Rhyme Or Reason To PageRank

Taken from

No, when I use the term PageRank, I’m referring to the algorithm – one of the more than 200 signals Google uses to rank web pages. Personally, I’ve always thought that the importance of PageRank was overrated, and not nearly as important to rankings as it’s perceived to be by many.

Why do I feel that way? Because, whenever I do searches, I constantly see lower-PR URL’s ranked higher than higher-PR URL’s – constantly! Figure that one out. Also, I’ve seen my own PageRank decrease, while my traffic and sales continue to increase. That sealed the deal for me.

Besides, you can’t control your PageRank, so why worry about it? There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. It’s been my experience that the best way to improve your rankings is to play by the rules, and use common sense practices. That includes making sure your content is relevant to your keywords, and your keywords are relevant to the overall theme of your site.

Also, have a fast loading, user-friendly site, continually build up your site’s content, acquire as many quality, relevant backlinks as you possibly can, then let the proverbial chips fall where they may.

Now, let me state for the record, I am NOT an SEO expert, nor do I claim to be one. Unfortunately, neither are a bunch of other folks who write articles discussing PageRank like they know what they’re talking about. I can assure you, many of them DON’T. They’re simply parroting what they’ve heard elsewhere – often dispensing misinformation.

That’s why I decided to write this article – to give you the “true” facts about PageRank – not speculation or hearsay. All of the pertinent information presented in this article was gleaned from highly respected and acknowledged sources, top level SEO professionals and Google insiders – people who know what they’re talking about.

So, what do the experts think about PageRank and its importance – or lack thereof? Continue reading and see for yourself.


What Google Thinks About PageRank

Taken from

Let’s get started by going straight to the horse’s mouth. This is what Google itself says about PageRank:

“Don’t bother thinking about it [PageRank]. We only update the PageRank displayed in Google Toolbar a few times a year; this is our respectful hint for you to worry less about PageRank, which is just one of over 200 signals that can affect how your site is crawled, indexed and ranked. PageRank is an easy metric to focus on, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s useful for you as a site owner. If you’re looking for metrics, we’d encourage you to check out Analytics, think about conversion rates, ROI (return on investment), relevancy, or other metrics that actually correlate to meaningful gains for your website or business.” (Source: Google Webmaster Central FAQ)

Google’s Director of Research, Peter Norvig, said that PageRank is overhyped and probably needs a new name. Norvig went onto say that the public’s focus on PageRank is misguided and it may be time for a new name.

“One thing that I think is still overhyped is PageRank. People think, yeah, you do this computation on the web graph and then you just order all the pages by that [PageRank]. Yes, that computation is important but it’s just one of many things. And people say, “Oh, well you’re stuck if you don’t have that.” We never felt that way. We never felt that it was such a big factor. It’s got the catchy name and the name recognition, but we’ve always looked at all the available data.” (Source: Search Engine Land)

How to Deal With Difficult SEO Clients

A great article on the different SEO client problems and opinions that happen on a day to day basis from those that think it is a dark art to the hostile, amatuer SEO expert and so on, worth a read.

There Is No Duplicate Content Penalty

The Search Engine Optimisation business has always suffered from a lack of consistency within SEO terms and definitions. An inaccurate term heard on a regular basis is “duplication content penalty.” Any duplicate content is something you should try to avoid on your website bt as it stand now there is no search engine penalty for having it.

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