As an SEO, I can say that in theory website design should include a good bit of input from SEO people. SEO should be part of the entire design process, included along side items like database design, UI design, and architecture choice.
I’d say that in the majority of new websites, especially for companies of any size, this is the case. SEO has earned a spot at the table now that the business drivers realize the days of “if you build it they will come” never really existed. For smaller businesses and business owners who really don’t “get” the web, the sad fact is that usually they will be sold a bill of goods that does not deliver on their wildest imagination.
I can say with great certainty, that as an SEO company in Richmond Virginia, we see more clients who have a website and absolutely no SEO plan than vice-versa. Usually by the time we get the call, the business owner has read about this stuff called search engine optimization and knows that people call it SEO, but other than that they have no clue what to do.
We also get a fair number of client contacts with business owners who have heard of pay per click, and might even know it as search engine marketing or SEM, but again, are at a loss for how to really utilize it.
As a company who also provides website design and development,Three Stone Media LLC obviously includes SEO in our most initial of conversations. Almost all of our competition in the Richmond market does as well. If you are looking in to building a website for your business, or even are looking to do a site redesign, make sure that your development company includes SEO as a topic of discussion from day one and as a major factor in the design.
Retrofitting code and UI for SEO after the fact is costly and can be an arduous process. Of course, we always welcome work like this! 🙂