Website Designer or SEO Company?

One question I get from a lot of business owners is do I hire a website designer or do I hire an SEO company?

This comes from business owners who have a website and they are not getting the calls, inquiries, or performance that they want from the site.  They are looking to see how they can improve. Do they need a better converting design or do they need an SEO company?  Depending on the business and goals the answer could be one or the other or both. I know that is not helpful!

What is the difference between a web designer and an SEO person?

They are really two different skill sets. An SEO person should know a lot of technical, behind-the-scenes stuff that will get your website to rank better.  They should also keep up on all of the changes that happen with the search engines. They should know what works today and what no longer works.  It is an entirely different job than a web designer.

However, they are somewhat interconnected. If you are going to hire a website designer to improve your results on your website, whether that being:

  • more inquiries
  • less bounce rate
  • people staying on your site longer
  • people finding your site for the right set of keywords

All of these things fall under the umbrella of both a web designer and an SEO person. It is really a grey area.

I personally stay up on the SEO changes that affect all business owners.  I use Yoast for an SEO plugin on all the websites I create and I follow what they have to say about the changes happening in the world of Search.

What is a ranking factor?

Yoast recently had a webinar on ranking factors – and there are thousands of ranking factors on a website.  A ranking factor is something that indicates to a search engine how to rank the web page.  Some ranking factors are minute and only help a little while others are huge and will help a great deal. There are also some that are interconnected.

The biggest one they kept coming back to is User Experience. Many of the other ranking factors played into the user experience bucket. If your site provides a bad user experience then it will not rank well. According to Yoast, there is no actual ranking factor of user experience – but a good user experience will affect many of the true ranking factors like:

  • decrease your bounce rate
  • user clicks will increase your rankings
  • easy to navigate sites will rank better
  • better organized sites will rank better

If you have a bad user experience on your website, the results you get by hiring a website designer to fix the issues will out way the results you would get by hiring an SEO expert. An SEO expert is not going to fix the user experience – they are going to fix all the technical problems with the website. User experience is usually a design or layout issue.

Fix the poor user experience first and if you are still not getting the results you want then hire the SEO person to fix all the technical issues with the site.

What falls under User Experience?

  • A bad user experience is something that does not work on a laptop. Example – a drop-down menu that has too many items and drops below the viewport.
  • Websites that have pop-ups that cannot be closed
  • Pop up does not work well on mobile
  • Content – break up the sentences to easily consume the content – use headers, lists, small paragraphs, etc.
  • Having pages that are 3 clicks in is a poor experience. Consider a one-page design for sections of your website.

Which do I need? Web Designer or SEO Expert?

Web designers need to work with SEO experts. For the best result, you will need both. Let your website designer handle the layout, user experience, and content. Once your website is launched, or for existing websites wait about 1 month after a website upgrade, then look at your results. If you are still not happy go to an SEO expert for additional technical fixes.