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Business owners have long considered SEO and web design to be separate entities, but they are tied together so closely that a site’s ranking problems is often due to poor site organization and construction. That doesn’t mean that site layout is the only factor to consider for ranking purposes, and it might not even be the most important one, as some experts believe content trumps all, but it should be a primary focus for a company. Over the years, search engines have become more and more particular about the kind of sites they will rank highly, and many of their current demands involve layout, responsive design and site organization and navigation. It’s a complicated process and there are definitely a few things to look for in a web design firm, but a talented firm will quickly prove its worth to a company.

What should a company owner consider when looking for an SEO and web design firm?

Most reputable firms offer marketing, layout, and development as separate services. With the increasing unification between site layout and ranking optimization, it makes sense to pick a firm that can integrate its SEO methods into a site it has helped produce. This benefits the client because it reduces execution time and cost, and generally promises better results.

One of the unfortunate learning moments a lot of company owners go through is selecting a firm that can produce beautiful sites, but doesn’t know the first thing about adapting it for marketing purposes. Company owners occasionally get lured in with an especially sleek or bold portfolio, only to find that they are getting no return on their investment, no boost in traffic, and the company may not even have the tools to track site performance. In fact, sites that trade on nothing but quirky layouts and unusual concepts may lose traffic, as people are generally impatient when online. They want what’s comfortable, they want the site to be easy to use, they want relevant content presented upfront, and they want all of their questions answered right away. That’s what a successful SEO and web design blend looks like.

By now, though, most business owners understand the impact of intuitive navigation and easy to read layouts. What they may not realize is that how the site is approached may have a huge impact on search engine rankings.

There are multiple approaches to building a site, though the most popular are responsive versus adaptive. Responsive Web Design (RWD) treats content like a liquid that must fill the page no matter how it is resized and no matter what device it is presented on. Adaptive design relies on multiple iterations of a site, each with its own URL, to adapt to different screen sizes. RWD is strongly favored by Google, and because it only uses a single URL to present multiple looks, a business gets to keep all of the link equity it earns, instead of losing ground with multiple sites, each producing its own link penetration metrics.

A site is an investment and business owners should expect a return from the work they put into the site. Make sure that investment is well-managed and it will become one of the company’s most valuable assets.

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