SEO and Web Development:

Part One of a Three Part Series on Comprehensive Web Development

We’ve been talking a lot at our 435 Digital Meetings about the overlap between various departments of our Digital Marketing team. One of the things that became apparent in these meetings is that it can be hard to describe under what circumstances your particular discipline, be it web development, SEO,PPC or Social Media, shines brightest.

Since I work as an SEO, my viewpoints are oriented accordingly.

As I’m also a nerd I feel that the most entertaining way to describe the interplay between SEO, Social Media, and PPC is via an uber-nerdy analogy.

I have also been re-reading the Hobbit and anxiously awaiting the November release of the Peter Jackson film adaption, so we will use a Tolkien-esque analogy to break down the interactions that should occur during the initial stages of website development.

Our story begins….

Let’s imagine that Bilbo Baggins, a stout hobbit fellow, is preparing for a long, arduous web marketing campaign.

In our campaign, Bilbo wishes to set up a website whose primary function is selling large quantities of Lembas, or Elvish Waybread.

In a perfect world, Bilbo would have access to a skilled web development team that is well prepared. to use search engine friendly practices when helping him design his site. Since this is a hypothetical, we will assume that the Shire has such a firm and Bilbo has a great relationship with them. Let’s call this company “Underhill Design and Development”.

Initial Web-Dev Meeting

Bilbo visits with the owner of Underhill Design, Mr. Underhill at the Prancing Pony in Bree to discuss Bilbo’s wants and needs. Through the course of the meeting it becomes clear that Mr. Underhill and Mr. Baggins get along splendidly and the two agree to work together.

Mr. Underhill suggests that Bilbo first carry out a consultation with local search engine expert Optimizus the White for SEO, at least for preliminary keyword research to help Bilbo decide which key phrases most represent his business. Mr. Underhill believes that this consultation will help Bilbo understand what his goals should be with the new site, and Bilbo recognizes that some honing of his focus would be very helpful indeed.

SEO Consultation Stage

Optimizus meets with Bilbo and the pair become fast friends. Optimizus educates Bilbo on the basics of SEO, and provides a brief summary of how a typical individual browses the web, and inevitably ends up at a site from a specific keyword search.

Bilbo grasps the concepts rather quickly and the two conjure up a list of words that Bilbo feels represent his business. They also divine the specific markets and demographics that Bilbo would be most successful targeting.  At the end of their efforts, numerous reports have been generated by various software and web apps, and the research is complete.

Armed with this new keyword research, Bilbo revisits Underhill Design to begin the process of creating the website.



At this stage there are some important exchanges that should have happened or are happening between Web Dev and SEO:

  • The SEO team or consultant should provide the web development team with a solid list of terms to build the site around. In this hypothetical,Bilbo and Optimizus have done so.
  • The SEO input provided will help influence the naming of files, the internal navigation elements, etc.
  • SEO will also want to provide the Web Dev team with some advice on current best practices to make sure that they are up to date. Often different elements within the site code will become more or less valuable to search engines overnight, so a close relationship between SEO and web development is a major boon.
  • Web Dev will take this time to make absorb the research data and incorporate it into a plan that will satisfy the goals and time constraints of the client.

Once the Underhill Design team has a great looking mock up, and have decided upon a logical search engine friendly framework, they will begin their site creation process.

The Underhill team works day and night.  The Web Dev staff stays up late consuming copious flagons of invigorating Entwash and Miruvor to fuel their efforts and aid their creativity.

When the toil is over, Underhill Design has crafted a website that portrays the beauty of a freshly prepared Lembas Wafer, while at the same time conveying to search engines that Lembas Cakes are the central focus of the site.

Important Interplay Between SEO and Web Development Teams

Tactics used by the web dev team here are geared towards making Bilbo’s life easier later on down the road when he needs to update site files and appearance, so the site has more than likely been created using a content management system like WordPress.

Specific Keys to Web Dev that is Conducive to SEO and Social Media Efforts:

  • Files like images, banners, navigation buttons etc worded with keywords relating to what they are representative of rather than random numbers and letters. EXAMPLE Lembas-Banner.jpg rather than bnr102.jpg
  • Links within the site between pages should be named in a logical fashion. Use rather than GoldenLembas.Com/9/21/ This allows for navigation that is more easily navigable for site viewers. It also allows Google Bot and other crawlers to scan the words used in the links to determine what the focus of the site is.

These changes will positively increase the amount of keyword density within a sites crawlable text. For Social Media Efforts, it is helpful to have site url’s to tweet, like, or post that are easily identifiable to readers.

Summary of Site Creation Process

Bilbo now has a website and should be able to attract some solid business through word of mouth, branded terms, and long tail searches. This being said, he can easily reach outside the borders of the Shire for new business should he focus some time and effort on marketing his site via Social Media representation, and PPC Advertising.

Alas this post is becoming long winded.

In order to show more of the interplay between the various disciplines of Web Marketing we will need to further delve into the mysteries of PPC and Social Media.

We will visit these topics and more in future posts.