Is this a trick question from a Belfast pub quiz for the IT industry? No, but it could be and one likely to inspire lengthy debate if you have Belfast web designers and SEO experts in Belfast round the table.

It actually requires serious consideration, particularly if you are planning a new website or a site re-design. A website designer may tell you that the design must come first, and then the SEO marketers can get on with the search engine optimisation, but this has never been true.

SEO is an integral part of the site design because it affects everything from page titles through to file and image names, through to navigation, and deep into the copy (starting at the headlines), and on to the on-page optimisation elements such as the META and alt tags.

When beginning to design a site, you must be aware of all the SEO elements which will go into the website. Then you need to build these in so that you are sure you have done the maximum amount of SEO before starting to populate your site with regular, fresh, quality content over the coming months and years.

Now, more than ever before, the search engines assume that the site designer has got the basics right. The focus is on not just the quality of the content, but also factors such as co-citations and co-concurrences to exhibit the expertise of your site and staff over your competitors.

Social signals are being taken very seriously by the search engines, so marketing your content (including articles, white papers, video, audio and images) is paramount. In order to generate social signals, you need to include all the essential elements for sharing, commenting and conversing within your website design. Being social needs to become second nature within your SEO plan, and within your company.

Talk to us at WSI Digital Web about the latest web design trends and SEO strategies.

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