Last night, at a business event, I learned about a local contractor with a very unique product – one that interested me as a homeowner and as a “handy-guy”. So I visited his website today. It offered some information on his product and service, and I noted that the contact information figured prominently on every page. So far, so good.

But of course I brought a critical eye to my review, and I spotted a lot of improvements we could make: lines of text ran to 25 words or more, making them difficult to read; the page was set to a fixed width and might run off the screen on lower-resolution monitors; and the gallery page at first seemed empty – until I noticed sub-links off to the side. All in all, though, it seemed adequate.

As I’m wont to do, I checked out the website designer’s own site, and saw that it touted search engine optimization (SEO) as a benefit of his service – which prompted me to Google the contractor for search terms which should surely bring him up.

Unfortunately, they didn’t.

Another look at the contractor’s website revealed some of the reasons. While page headlines were tagged correctly, many of them said nothing. Titling a page “About us”, “Frequently asked questions”, or “Our services” is simply wasting valuable SEO opportunities. “Learn about our [keyword-optimized-explanation-of-our-business] service” has a lot more value for search engines and visitors. And applying these keywords to the title tag is equally important.

While some of the website’s pages explained the service and used some likely search terms often and effectively, all in all, the site had too few pages and too little content. The list of services was simply that: a list. This wastes the opportunity to have a separate landing page for each service – which allows you to add yet another keyword-rich headline to improve search engine results and draw visitors, as well as explain the actual service in detail and create interest and desire in your visitors.

Which brings me to my point. While the website designer proclaimed his SEO skills, he didn’t offer copywriting services. Quite simply, you can’t have one without the other. Far too many website designers don’t have that skill or that experience – and surprisingly, they don’t even outsource it so they can offer it.

And clearly, far too many businesses are paying the price.