Web Design and Search Engine Optimization are two fields that are extremely different in the set of skills you need to do them.
However while Online Marketing professionals can get away with only a minimal understanding of Web Design, web developers are increasingly coming under scrutiny for producing attractive well designed websites that unfortunately do not do well on search engine sites.
Every website needs the essential SEO included, such as basic HTML title tags and relevant keywords to make sure search engine sites consider the website relevant to different search terms.
Unfortunately many web developers are producing websites that look great but hold no substance on search engine sites meaning customers are getting a website that no one will see!
This is a problem that needs addressing, although it's not in the job description web developers do have a duty to make sure the customer is getting a website that is both user-friendly and SEO friendly.
Technically web designers should not have to create SEO friendly websites as long as they have made one! but morally many feel they should and if presented with the question should web designers have a basic knowledge of SEO? I believe there is only one answer …. of course they should.
Anyone looking to have a website designed for them will no very little about both fields so if there is not ranking well they will immediately blame the web developer.
Web designers need to avoid this potential scenario by grasping a basic understanding of search engine optimization. There is plenty of material on the internet and in books to learn the essentials and if a developer gains a good understanding they will not only create a great looking website but also a site that fulfills as expected on search engine sites.
Another benefit to web designers learning the in's and out of Search Engine Optimization is you can add it as one of your services! It's a growing market and offering a website as well as some SEO on the side can prove lucrative if you know what you're doing.
In conclusion should the web designers have an understanding of SEO? I believe that yes is the only answer, not only is it another skill to add to the CV, the websites you create will be attractive and do well on search engine sites which can only bode well on a personal level as well as on your business .