web marketing partners - ok, its a dog and a cat

The SEO Case for Web Designers Partnering with Marketing Agencies

We’ve heard it forever: content is king. Great content helps build an audience and drives engagement. Yes, true! But if you’re counting on organic search traffic, a content-only approach is a slog without backlinks to your website.

That’s because ranking in search results for that amazing blog post you’ve just written is largely dependent on how much domain authority your website has in the first place. And that authority is largely determined by the quality and quantity of backlinks to your site from other websites.


How do I know what my site’s domain authority is?

One of the most relied-upon Domain Authority metrics is provided by Moz. Visit Moz’s Link Explorer Overview, and enter your domain name. Domain Authority will be in the first box of results.

domain authority results from Moz

For web designers and web development firms, it’s pretty likely that you include a footer credit on your client sites. So right there, you’re building backlinks to your site. But, there’s a “but”!

Unless you do a lot of redesigns for sites that have been around a while, you are largely launching brand new sites on brand new domains. And those sites carry very little authority. You know how I mentioned the quality of backlinks above? This is measured in “domain authority” or DA. New sites have virtually no domain authority at all. So you’re stuck with a bunch of low authority websites linking back to you in those footer credits.


What are footer credits?

Footer credits are links placed in the footer of a website, often linking back to a website designer or a theme designer. This is similar to a car dealership providing a branded license plate frame to a car buyer. It can be removed or changed with a little bit of effort.

License Plate Frame on a 1949 Buick
A footer credit is similar to a dealer adding a branded license plate frame to a car. This 1949 Buick photo is courtesy of Don O’Brien / CC2.0

It might look something like the following. All of these are footer credits linking back to a website designer’s site. Note the low Domain Authority of these linking sites.

Website Designer backlinks with low domain authority

If your client is working with a web marketing agency, then over time, a benefit to your client is increased domain authority. And guess what? That gets passed on to you!

So over time, a DA10 site becomes a DA20 site. And then a DA30 site. And so on. Multiply that times an increasing number of client sites the web designer has built, and we’re talking quality and quantity in spades!

Look, we know the “build it and they will come” model no longer works for websites. Putting some effort into web marketing, be it in-house or partnered, is an essential investment. Web designers and developers should feel comfortable referring a web marketing agency they know they can trust, so that the client has a partner to help them grow.

But the secondary benefit is quite real – a web designer can see a very real SEO impact as their portfolio grows and matures. So when you’re building a client’s site, have the web marketing conversation. Get an understanding of goals, budget and audience. Helping them find the right web marketing partner is good for them, and good for the designer!


Tribal Core has a Partner Program tailored for designers, developers and creative agencies. If you’re building on WordPress – even better! We’re optimized for WP.

Our marketing services can help your clients grow. Those footer credits that link back to your site will be increasingly valuable. Your clients’ difficult marketing questions are handled by us. As the client sites grow, increased income can be used to further develop their site, turning your relationship from a one-off site build to a long-term engagement. And we pay a nice referral fee to boot!

If you’re a designer, developer or creative that could benefit from a having a marketing partner in hand for your clients, get in touch. We’re ready roll up our sleeves and get to work.

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