What’s better? – A gorgeous, usable but poorly optimised website, or a great URL structure text-heavy website designed to perform well for search engines?

Years ago when web designers would be less familiar with basic SEO principles, it was easier to create poorly search engine optimised websites with uncrawlable media like Flash.

Today however, the lines between design and SEO are blurring and converging into one.

A well-designed website that offers a positive user experience, will in turn provide positive user metrics that can influence SEO and rankings. An optimised URL structure for instance will not only provide search engines a greater understanding of site structure, but offer a logical guideline for users to navigate and reference where they are on the website.

Likewise, clients are becoming increasingly aware of the concept of SEO. They are slowly beginning to realise that in competitive industries, a great website will not automatically build a search engine presence without a sound online marketing campaign to back it.

We believe modern websites needs mutual understanding from both ends to be successful. Having a designer develop a website without consideration to search engines can lead to painful structure that can severely limit search engine potential down the road. Likewise, a search marketer may be too inclined to focus heavily on text, use templates and not have the technical capability to create a customised website. This will harm the user experience which will have a negative impact on SEO.

How have you noticed the walls breaking down between Web Design and SEO?