A short story illustrating how to recognise the push and pull of competing interests in your web design, and how to get the best of both worlds!

Sometime late on an unremarkable Tuesday, under harsh florescent glare, grey faces stare out bleakly over a flat expanse of beech laminate. Deep into Nuvvotekk’s online marketing strategy meeting, an SEO Manager suddenly find his new website structure and navigation proposals under attack from Brand Manager.

Search Engine Optimisation Manager Main Nav bar proposal: App Development/ Database Design/ Platform Porting/ Mobile Software Blog/ Contact Nuvvotekk

Marketing Brand Manager Main Nav bar proposal: Who We Are/ What We Do/ How We Can Help/ What We Say/ Contact Us

The SEO Manager clicks into gear and trots out the usual one-liners: Why waste your time with unspecific menu headers and lose out on all that SEO opportunities eh? Not to mention that surely visitors are not getting what they want on clickthrough!

At this point in the discussion the Brand Manager steals keyboard and mouse, fires up Analytics and reveals that ‘Nuvvotekk’ have an inflow from organic search that is 70% brand keywords, and of these %85 are first time visitors. This changes things slightly – has Mr Brand Manager got it right? That’s a lot of people curious in a new brand they have picked up on, and the ‘what/why/who’ questions are going to be on their lips.

Brand Manager shuffles chair closer to MD. SEO Manager suddenly wants a holiday very badly.

But – digging deep into reserves – SEO manager reclaims stolen peripherals, heads to sources/keywords/goals in Analytics and unleashes stats that speak of low conversions on brand terms and high bounce rates. As Brand Manager struggles with the sucker punch, SEO manager casually asks if perchance the Social Media program is suffering from similar on-brand bias. Dagger looks returned, Victory achieved.

Moral of the story – don’t tell the Brand Manager, but he came extremely close to having a point. If your strategy and traffic is all ”on-brand’ then how the website services your visitors needs to reflect this. But check that it is your brand that they want, and more, that it’s the services of your brand in demand, not job hunting, email address harvesting or worse, a mixup with another brand or trending topic. The real solution here of course is a talented designer that allows both approaches to sit well on the page, with the SEO Manager sorting out the link priorities underneath. The end?