I now propose to go right out on a limb and say that design has very little to do with search engine optimization. This is a sweeping generalization, I admit, and one to which my designer friends will take instant umbrage. But it is true to all intents and purposes. Design can certainly assist in achieving good optimization. By that I mean it will assist if it doesn’t hinder the process with acres of code that the robots need to wade through in order to find the potatoes and gravy. Or if the navigation throughout the site is logical and easy to achieve. Or if the pages are designed to load quickly.
Other than that, optimization is all in the writing.
Optimization is mostly in the text. But you do need to think about layout and graphic design. Your web copywriter and your designer need to work together, not against each other. If you are building a website, you should have one person oversee the project and have the copywriter and designer both answer to that person. Here’s what you need to look at for the best optimization:
1) Good body copy that is rich in keywords
2) Meta tags that contain your keywords
3) Page titles all need to be different, each containing keywords
4) Graphic elements that support the body copy
6) Use alt tags and descriptions for all photo and artwork
These are the essential elements of optimization. You can do more but you should do these as a minimum. The key is in the writing, not the graphics. Keep that in mind.