Let’s face it—it’s no good having a website if no one can find your page.
That’s why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a hot topic. Everyone wants to be on the first page of any search engine result screen. But SEO is complex, involving many factors, including the site domain name, the page features, the text, and much more. Your designer and your copywriter should do everything possible to maximize the SEO, but you should understand that there are limits to what can be done in the design phase.
SEO should begin when you are planning your site, ideally before you register the domain. The more distinct or specific your site is, the better chance it will be found. If there are 307,452 other websites offering what you are offering, it will not be easy to reach the first page or two. Research what words and phrases people looking for your type of business search on (keywords). Make use of Google’s keyword tool (www.googlekeywordtool.com). If you aren’t sure how to do this research, or if you don’t understand keywords and long-tail keywords, make sure designer can assist you. (If the web designer just handles the layout, you’ll need other team members—especially a copywriter.)
Your designer, whether The Word & Web Smith or someone else, should make sure of the following:
▸ Your site is submitted for indexing at all the major sites.
▸ The metadata on your site is completed and accurate.
▸ The content is properly formatted (such as use of a heading style) to attract search engine attention.
▸ The page URLs incorporate keywords as much as possible.
Your copywriter needs to ensure:
▸ The page is focused on one or two terms people will search with (keywords).
▸ The content includes liberal but reasonable use (4-10% per page) of the keywords.
▸ Headings feature common search terms as much as possible.
Some of the biggest factors in SEO, however, are up to you. Reciprocal links, links to your website from another one, are a factor of high search engine rankings. One effective way to get such links is to participate in forums and comment on others’ blogs. Also, have an interesting site with interesting and changing content that brings people back for more.
Remember that SEO results take time. Also, be reasonable in your search expectations. A generic search on your type of business will not likely turn up your site. Add a location or a complete search phrase for a more accurate test. If your site is your name, however, it should definitely be ranking high.
SEO is a big buzzword these days. Companies exist just to provide that service. Unfortunately, some SEO techniques are just tricks. One service has, right in its instructions on how to set up a certain SEO technique, the comment, “the purpose is to deceive Google.” Two things to note here. One, the Word & Web Smith will not deal in deception, so do not expect such tricks if WWS is your designer or copywriter. Two, Google is not easily deceived. Every time folks come up with some way to fool the search engines, the search engines wise up and stop doing the thing the SEO folks are exploiting.
Make sure you have a distinct site with great content and high usability that employs standard SEO techniques. Then keep it interesting with new content that people want to read, arrange for links, and it will be found and enjoyed.
For more on SEO, read the blog post “What Is the Truth about SEO?”.
To download a copy of About Search Engine Optimization, right-click that link and select “Save target as.”
How is your website’s SEO? Find out through our comprehensive website analysis.
You may want to read our other articles:
Why You Need a Website
Beware the High Costs of Free Website Services
Choosing a Host for Your Website
Page Content and Usability — More Vital than SEO
What You Should Know About Using Images
The Website Workout Collection
You might also like to check out The Smithery, the Word & Web Smith blog.