Just how much SEO optimisation should be assumed as part of a website delivery? Well, no assumptions should really be made at all, but in our world where everyone seems to be a web expert, SEO has tendency to creep in, unannounced. Usually as the panic sets in for client, as they realise they are about to have a website they are not familiar with. They is actually no reason for concern – part of website development is a clean handover at the end of the project, of completed working website.
SEO is a huge area, that has specialists, and companies built on providing services. At a fundamental, SEO can easily be implemented at code level, applied in the course of development. But this is only half the story. A prevalent attitude of clients is that somehow, increased visibility on the web comes from simply waiting for it to happen. It’s a proactive process, that needs either money (to pay to push your website up the ranks), frequent social networking activity, and building up your web presence by connecting with other similar websites (for mutual back-links and ads). These SEO activities are not an assumed part of a website development remit, unless specified as such.
Once the website is created and deployed, it must included (indexed) in the major search engines.There are several ways of doing this but the easiest way is to get other websites to link to you. The search engines find new websites by following links from sites that are already in their index. If you can get a a few “inbound links” then you site will be indexed automatically. This takes work, and there are shortcuts, but not free.
Though I do not expect my clients to be expert, I do not expect them to act like experts in something they are not. Firstly, they are in grave risk of saying silly things, based on loose knowledge. Secondly, they can make catastrophic decisions, based on a momentary illusion that they know what they are talking about. The most you can do, as a freelance website developer, is to ensure your code is of good standard, because coding standards negate a lot of potential SEO coding issues (as well as Web Accessibility coding standards). The rest must be included in the website contract, if only to make it clear what the client is NOT getting.