Does an SEO redesign have to suck?
March 23, 2008 8:02 AM Subscribe
Does a website that has had the full SEO treatment have to suck?
posted by Thorzdad to computers & internet (20 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry if this goes long...
I have a small client for whom I do all their print collateral. They have a nice, smallish website. It's not a cutting-edge site, by any means, but it's nicely designed and seems to get a lot of compliments from their clients, who find it very easy to navigate and find what they are looking for. The design nicely reflects the company image the owner wants to reflect...soft, friendly and personal.
In the past couple of months, the owner has gotten involved with a local marketing shop that touts their SEO expertise. They studied the website and gave the owner a page-by-page detailing of all the changes they want to make to the website. The owner, in turn, asked me to look it over for her and give her my opinions. This is causing me a lot of grief.
After reading through the recommendations, it seems to me that, at least for this particular SEO firm, the ideal they are shooting for is some circa-1998, text-only website. I understand the whole "repeat key words over and over and over" concept of SEO, but at what point do you say "no" in order to retain some semblance of uniqueness and personality?
This client's website uses images for page titles, incorporating typography that reinforces the company personality. Each image does include quite good alt tags for the images and it's my understanding that these should suffice in lieu of a text-only approach. The SEO firm, however, wants to get rid of these title images and do everything in plain text. This is one of the bigger issues I am having with my evaluation as this will really kill the personality of the site.
Browsing through some of the SEO firm's "successful" website remakes, they all seem to be built on the same standard template with absolutely no individuality or identity save for different color combinations and a company logo slapped in the upper left corner. IMHO, they suck. I fear that this is what my client will end up with if they accept all the SEO firm's changes.
This is putting me in an odd position. I've been working with this small firm for many years and have worked hard to project their image through my print work. My fear this SEO re-make will sacrifice their online image in the search for the holy grail of a higher Google position.
So, I guess my question is...Have any of you been in this position? At what point do you say "no" to optimization and opt to retain personality? How comfortable are you at providing feedback for another firm's proposal when you really have no idea just how much of this stuff is actually critical to the goal? Does a website that has had the full SEO treatment have to visually suck?
Obviously, I want to retain the print work. I don't want to be in the position of offering opinions that might torpedo what they are trying to accomplish and piss everyone off. And, in general, I don't like being in the position of criticizing another shop's work in a project I am not a part of. But, the overall tone from the SEO firm seems to be an "all or nothing" position. Make all the changes or you will epic-fail. I guess I feel I need to be able to suggest alternatives to the full-text redesign that will still improve the site's visibility. I mean...she is asking for my opinion.