What Is SEO?


When is the best point in the web design and development process to implement SEO?

Alpha and omega. The moment you start designing your site, you want to think "SEO," and you want to keep it in mind throughout the web design & development process.



What tells search engines which keywords are relevant?

The search engine companies send out data collectors called "spiders" or "robots" that jump from site to site, gathering all of the content and going to links to see the rest of the site as well as other sites. There are millions of spiders and robots, all doing their work at the same time.



What does SEO consist of?

There are a lot of things to consider when optimizing your site for search engines. Here are some of the most important Do’s and Don’ts:

 

  • Keyword Density - Really, keywords are more like key phrases. Make a list of words and phrases that your target audience would be most likely type into Yahoo or Google when trying to find a business like yours. If you own a fine dining restaurant in Memphis, some keywords for you might be: “Memphis fine dining”, “restaurants Memphis”, “where to eat Memphis”, etc. Think like the average mom out there planning a trip to Memphis with the family. She's looking for a nice restaurant, hotel and things to do in Memphis. What would she most likely type into that search bar to find those things? Those are your keywords.
  • Ranking Tools - The use of ranking tools, such as Web CEO, allows you to find the best keywords to use in your SEO work. Both Yahoo and Google have free keyword search tools.
  • Clean Code - If you don’t understand the next few sentences, you need to read up on this a bit first. Find a beginner’s book or online articles on building websites to get a basic understanding. I recommend “Sam’s Teach Yourself Web Publishing: HTML in 21 Days” There are many, many books available on this subject. Just pick one and start learning. That’s what I did. If you don’t want to invest all of the time to do this yourself and you want help, contact us.
  • Back to Clean Code - It’s best to use CSS to help you lay out your website and images rather than extravagant HTML like tables. Code your fonts into CSS as well. The font tag in HTML is essentially a hack that adds markup to your HTML file. The more HTML tags or markup you can eliminate, the more the keywords that are recognized by search engines.
  • Minimize Javascript - Some search engines don’t recognize links and text with Javascript. CSS has a way to create fancy rollover effects to create an SEO-compatible link.
  • Minimize Image Links - Search engines give more emphasis to text links than to image links.
  • Don’t use Flash for Important Links or Text - Search engines currently don’t see any of the text or links inside Flash. To search engines, Flash is nothing but a graphic element that takes up a big chunk of space.
  • List Menus - Text and links inside lists are seen with great emphasis in the eyes of search engines. It&rsquos best to use lists for menus to ensure that the search engine gives more emphasis to the main pages of your site.
  • Heading Tags - Search engines put an emphasis on the HTML heading tags such as h1.
  • ALT Text - In the few images that you actually decide to put into your HTML, assign them ALT (alternative) text. Search engines also look for this as well. Here’s how it’s displayed: {img src="http://www.yoursite.com/image.jpg" alt="alternative text including keywords" /}.
  • Meta Keywords/Description - Although search engines are backing away from using these, it’s still a good idea to include them for the ones that still use them.
  • Bold and Italics - Search engines see bold and italic text as slightly more important than regular text, so use this on keywords inside your text.
  • Rich Titles - The title of your page is one of the important places to put your keywords. This takes a lot of thinking and planning. You need to do an Uncovery first then second develop a good Strategy for your domain name and titles.