Search Engine Optimisation
I had a phone call recently from someone looking for a web design quote. He told me that he had spoken to several people about web design and specifically Search Engine Optimisation and they all told him a different story.
He wanted to know why that was.
That struck me as being so important I thought it was worth passing on.
SEO is not an Exact Subject
See search engine optimisation (SEO) isn’t an exact science.
The search engines look at various criteria when assessing a site and working out where it should be placed, but no-one outside of the search engines themselves knows everything they look at and how they are all weighted in terms of importance.
And each search engine does it differently.
And just for good measure they all update and revise their criteria and weighting regularly
That makes it very complicated because you have a lot of missing information
And with that much missing information it’s not surprising that a whole bunch on mis-information springs up in its place.
Black hat Seo or White Hat SEO
There are those whose mission is to trick the search engines into giving them a high ranking. These people are one of the reasons that the search engines revise and update their criteria on a regular basis. This is sometimes called black hat SEO. Using questionable techniques black hat SEO can result in spectacular but short term results. Long term it often gets your site banned or demoted to page 100! It is the search engine equivalent to spamming.
White hat SEO tries to help the search engines rather than trick them. It does this by aligning with the purpose and the needs of the search engine. Giving them the data they need about your site in a way that they can use it.
That’s what I do with the SEO services I offer – and I suggest you do it to. Work with the search engine, not against it as much, as you can. It will be to your benefit in the long haul.
What does a search engine want?
A search engine like google wants to give its searchers a list of quality sites that relate to the search phrase they just typed in. It wants to answer their query or question as quickly and easily as it can.
- They don’t want to present the person with sites that claim to be about what they are looking for but aren’t
- They don’t want to present searchers with a site that is all adword ads and very little useful content
- They don’t want to present searchers with a site that makes them jump through hoops before telling them what they want to know. (eg sites with a flash splash pages or complicated navigation)
They don’t want this because the person doing the search sure as hell doesn’t want it
And so we come to the essence of SEO.
SEO is about making your site useful to the searcher.
It’s not about tricking anyone.
Making your site people friendly is making is SEO friendly
Your site will gain favour with the search engines if it is well written, well titled, has a good easy to navigate structure and is based around a well defined central theme or topic ( usually your services or products).
You will also gain favour with the search engines if your site is linked to by other like-minded sites that backup and re-enforce this central theme
That’s not so complicated is it!!
How to SEO your site.
The above is what I do when I optimise a site. It’s not sexy, its not rocket science or magic. Indeed can be rather mundane at times.
How do I do it?
It involves doing proper research into what people are looking for, it involves structural alterations to make the message of the site more obvious to both human and search engine visitors alike. It involved gathering relevant backlinks from respected sources.
And it involves patience and monitoring
I wont go into the specifics or this would be the world’s longest blog post. I use various free online tools like Google Keyword Tool and other commercial software tools that I have bought. I detail the process a bit more thoroughly in the affordable SEO services page on my website
Once you have the basics in THEN looks for advanced strategies
If you do the above then your site will have its basics in place.
Indeed 80% of any SEO is just that – getting the basics in place.
And thankfully these are the things that don’t change much.
But if it’s a very competitive field then you will need the tricky last 20% – advanced SEO techniques. Ironically it’s often much more involved and harder to do this last 20% than the preceding 80%
And this is when you need the people with their finger on the pulse. The top experts who know to the minute details what each search engine is looking for and how to give it to them.
But get your basics in first!
As a web designer getting the fundamental SEO basics in on a site is something I can do easily. As I said it’s not rocket science just structured research and changes made over a period of time.
Often that’s all you need
But if that last 20% is required I am happy to hand it over to those who know better. Of course by that time the site the site should be getting so much targetted traffic that you can afford them.
Anyway that’s it for tip 4: hope it helped