I want to start by saying I do not believe in onsite SEO or believe that it will still exist five years from now.
SEO is about things like; optimizing a keyword in the H1 tag, enhancing the title tag, keyword density, keyword proximity, internal linking with proper anchor text, validating your code, using CSS over tables, optimal use of flash and Java, we know the search engines like certain standards, so we use them.
However, if your web designer is on top of his/her game then they should be developing quality websites that go by the book.
Your site should validate!
They should reduce the size of your images!
They should design the site without tables!
Flash should be a movie or used sparingly and not be the entire website!
If your web designer builds a quality, well built website, by the book then it is optimized for the search engines.
Now, as the website owner, if you want people to come back to your site then you need to have fresh content. And you also need to understand the jargon people use when searching for your product or service and implement that into the text.
You do this for your website visitors however, the search engines will love you for it and it’s the final step in onsite optimization.
Onsite optimization is about the design and common sense.
But What about Off-Site Optimization, which carries more weight than on-site optimization?
If you have a local business then common sense says handout flyers, business cards, run ads on the local cable channel, put signs on your car, attend trade shows, chamber meetings and speak at local events as well as get involved in school, sports and church.
If you have an internet business then common sense should say post on forums, blogs, and directories, write articles, create profiles on social media sites and do videos. Those things will also build back links and increase the visibility and ranking of your website.
Social media is a part of online marketing just like schools, sporting events and church is part of offline marketing, rather we like it or now.
Google understands more then we think or want to give them credit for, the best way to rank in Google is too ignore them.
Just My Two Cents