Are seo rules getting in the way of creative web design? I think so. You have got so many (a ridiculous amount really) rules that you must conform to if you are wanting your website to rank even though google and others do not conform to their own rules, for example very little homepage text… too many ads above the fold, scraped content ect…
Web designers are being limited on what they can do with their sites because they fear if they do something different they maybe penalized for trying to game the search engines even thought they have no intention to. People rely so much on the search engines (too much at times) that it is really effecting what they can do with websites and how they can make their website stand out. SEO friendly websites usually mean that a website is built in such a way that it is fast and plenty of text on it so search engines can index this content another good thing is a responsive website so anybody can look at the website form any device.. SEO friendly website will also be optimized so that their are no uses of technique deemed to be trying to trick the search engines and are built so everything can be read easily by search engine bots, flash sites that can create some of the best interactive websites simply cannot be read by the search engine bots so just simply do not get indexed even though they maybe the best webs.
Some of these SEO friendly features to a website design can be really good for your site but some really can hinder your site design like the avoidance of hidden text.. hidden text maybe used to better organize your site and make it less cluttered and create a better design but if the search engines think you are trying to manipulate the search results with hidden text you maybe penalized.
Also it is said to be bad to have no text on your homepage but what if text is not relevant to your site and your site serves a different purpose just like google’s homepage what then….? As you can see SEO can effect the way we build websites.