A little while back I did a post titled: SEOs Must Work Closely with Development. The basic thesis of the post was that neither of these parties can work without close communication with each other. Ultimately, this is critical to the success of the site. One reader (named “alla”) wrote in suggesting that this is a 2 way street, and that there are other parties involved.
The reader was right. There are other parties involved. For example web designers or marketing people may specify an all Flash site, without any provisions made for giving the search engines anything that they can read to understand about the site. This puts any SEO efforts into a deep, deep hole.
Sometimes you run into clients that obsess about the ranking of a single search term, too. When you focus all your efforts on ranking for one term it becomes a bit like getting all your revenue from one customer. Great while it lasts, but if that customer ever stops working with you your business dissappears. Or, in our example, when you lose position for that one term, you are just as hosed.
In this latter case, you are much better off focusing SEO efforts on growing the relevant traffic to the site from search engines across an array of search terms. This is easily measurable, and provides a solid basis for obtaining a return on your search engine optimization efforts. Not only that, fluctuation on a single term will not dismember your business.
Note that I do not mean to suggest that you shouldn’t have major terms you look to win on with your site. It’s just a mistake to approach one term with a singular focus. There is so much other traffic out there that can be easily obtained. In addition, in my experience, the bigger volume terms are often poorer converting because they tend to the ones used by people who are in an earlier stage of the buying process.
Leaving the designer (and marketing) out of the process is also a mistake. There are broader business and branding goals for many web sites. These deserve careful consideration. Left to themselves, SEO and development might develop an easily maintained web site that is beautifully structured to get traffic from search engines, but, that does not meet the broader objectives of the company (and that may not convert well).
So the marketing people and the designer need to be a part of the process too. The bottom line is that nothing can happen in a vaccuum. There is a lot of interaction between the various disciplines that are involved in the web site. Each of these groups has a duty to educate the others about their concerns, and why various factors are important to them.