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You've Got Your Search Engine Marketing in my Web Design!  

:: Monday, December 06, 2004 ::

Is search engine optimization part of good web design?

Ben (aka "Scratch") Hunt, owner of Web Design From Scratch boldly asked this question in an SEO forums.

In SEO has gone too far, web designers need to fix the balance, Ben writes,

     "Following some recent experiences, I've come to the decision that SEO has become a golden calf that's given undue weight in the web design process - so much so that I'm worried it can actually compromise the overall success of a web site."

There's more to it. What bothers Ben is "spammy" SEO, which is the practice of adding all sorts of additional so-called optimization boosters to pages, in the hopes of outwitting search engine robots and mysterious algorithms. (Much of this disasterous page onslaught is due to desperate folks taking advice from misinformed sources.) These SEO trash elements can make a page look stupid and ugly. Agreed, Ben. What type of web site presentation would permit this?

Plenty. Some are the kind of folk, many in management roles, who design for self- serving objectives and not with the end user in mind, let alone customer satisfaction.

The business of forgetting who is intended to use and find a web site has spawned an entire industry. It's generally called Usability (a close cousin to Human Factors and User Centered Design).

Which is great for SEO/SEM companies who are hired to repair the damage and repoint a web site back to a solid, authentic starting point, and usability consultants (like me) who are hired to figure out why nobody is buying anything from those yucky forced rank pages.

The discussion raised a few hairs and voices:

     "I'm sorry that you're having trouble, but I'm also not quite sure what you're asking us to do here. Are you suggesting that we simply all agree, and then perhaps launch an anti-SEO campaign?"

     "Any SEO worth their salt knows that a site needs to do more than rank highly in search engines. It needs to sell and in order to do this the SEO needs to drive targeted traffic to a site that is able to convert. Hence requiring good design, usability, copy, CTA's etc. All these elements should be taken into account when working on a site."

     "What's bothering me is people with a bit of information taking it as gospel that they need to force their content to fit a certain shape, without thinking what's best for the end user."

     "I'm genuinely surprised to hear so much support for SEO practices actually strengthening the user experience!" (Well, once being an SEO Consultant, before switching over to Usability, I've been on this personal bandwagon for years now!)

Related topic: SES slammed by designers


Design for Designers

These are way cool. Design Directory, an International Design Database

and a place to self-submit your design passions - Designer World Design Portal

Mrs. Berg is Back

Last Friday, Dec. 3, I was married to my long-time friend (over 14 yrs) and live-in "life partner", Eric Berg. Was the fastest wedding in history! And a funny day.

Eric's mom and step-dad flew in from Florida. They, and my two kids (Eric's young son will come to the larger reception/ceremony in the summer), joined Eric and I.

We drove the 5 minutes to the District Justice office in the little town where we live. Signed a form, and at 9:45 am were led into the little courtroom area (my son loved that. Got to sit in the judges chair), and about 5 minutes later the ceremony was done. It was a civil ceremony, and the shortest one I've ever witnessed. The kids gave us our rings.

We all went out to breakfast, and then the kids, Eric and I went home and proceeded to put up a ton of Christmas lights on the house, detached garage, trees and stuff.

That was my wedding day.

As simple and casual as it was, we're so relieved to finally be able to call each other "husband and wife" rather than "boyfriend", "significant other", "mate", "life partner" and all the other weird words that never felt right for the 2 years we were living together.

Plans are in the works already for a more unique event, likely in June. We're talking about inviting family and friends who want to renew their vows, write a poem, do a family bonding/blending ceremony, etc. and turning the event into a "Celebration of Love" thing.

I've never been able to do anything in a traditional way.

My new name is Kimberly Krause Berg. To everyone who has sent well wishes, thank you! I'm very happy (for a gal who swore she'd never marry again.) Never say never, right?

Related: The Forums Logo Toast


Meet Eric


:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 12/06/2004 01:56:11 PM

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