I agree with RossH - he says that SEO should come first and then the site design.
I believe he is on the money here - even if the field is not competitive SEO should come first, it is much easier for a designer to work to SEO requirements than an SEO to work to designer requirements.
I would suggest that you do something like ...
1. Determine how competitive the industry is (you could look at the distribution of link to's for the first 20 search responses for keywords it is likely your client would use
2. Talk to a few SEO businesses about how much they would be charging you (with your knowledge of the competitiveness of the nidustry you are looking at).
4. get that side of it sorted out and then get the designer in partway through this process and make sure that he is able to collaborate to some extent with the SEO group.
Looking at your budget I would imagine the client you have requires quite an involved site. So make sure that you don't get talked into an unreasonable spend on the SEO -
[edited by: tedster at 6:25 pm (utc) on Nov. 20, 2003]
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