Clients often ask us, “After you are done building our web site, will it be number one on Google”? We get this question with almost every website proposal we complete. More often then not, we don’t have the answer. Only Google knows!
First off, we do not claim to be Search Engine Optimization experts, nor do we bill ourselves out at such. The advice you will receive here comes only from the years of experience I have as a project manager, designer, and developer. What we do as a design and development firm is create websites that are search engine friendly, content driven, which have light HTML pages that will only increase your odds of ranking higher.
Website design should not be categorized in the same field as Search Engine Optimization. I often equate it to my clients as the difference between an a automotive repair shop, and a automotive body shop. Yes, they are both in the automotive industry, but different fields of expertise.
Let’s get started!
What is Search Engine Optimization or SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the “science” so to speak, of rankings and indexing websites via Internet search engines. There are an infinite number of attributes and algorithms that make up where your site is indexed in search engine results. Starting with your content, to the number of inbound links, page popularity, and so on. The bottom line is there is no answer on how to become number one, just theories.
You may have heard of this term before. Meta data, in its simplest definition, is information about particular content. Every page of your website can have Meta data. In theory, search engines crawl or spider each page of your site and view your Meta data, which if set up properly to describe the content, will give the search engines a better understanding of what resides on the page.
Meta keywords are a list of keywords or keyword phrases separated by a comma. The theory behind Meta keywords is that the terms selected may be associated with that particular page on your site. When giving Chico Web Design your keywords, we always prefer 30-40 keywords or keyword phrases that you believe people may type in to reach your site. In general, we tell our clients to think geographically. The more specified these terms are, the better chance you have at receiving the rankings you want.
For example, if you owned an Italian restaurant in Chico California, you may want to specify that geographically in your Meta keywords.
Ie, Chico Italian Bistro, Chico Italian Restaurant, North Valley Restaurant, etc.
Why? Because what good will it do your business if someone from Texas views your web site looking for a great restaurant to to go to that evening?
Meta description, just like Meta keywords is placed in the source of the HTML document and is hidden to the viewer. The description often gets placed in search engine results under the link to your site. A good description will be 3-4 sentences and entice the viewer looking at search engine results to click on the link. If this is not defined on your page, they will often grab whatever they please so it’s best to define them.
Again, geographically targeting your description in my opinion is helpful.
For example, using the Italian restaurant in Chico California.
Locally owned and operated, the Chico Italian Bistro is quaint place to enjoy great Italian American food. With a variety of dishes to choose from, the Chico Italian Bistro has been serving customers in Chico California for nearly 20 years. Locally owned and operated, on the corner of 5th street and Main.
Search Engine Friendly URL’s
All URL’s are safe to the browser. You will often notice on some sites that the URL in the address bar has miscellaneous strings of characters that mean nothing to you. Well, they also mean nothing to search engines. That’s why we choose to use Search engine friendly URL’s when developing a website for a client. For example, a search engine safe URL would look something like this
To the viewer and search engines it’s very explanatory and descriptive of the page. Just by looking at this you may think that you are looking at a web design portfolio.
Content is King
One of the most important things you can do with your website is create resourceful, keyword driven content. There are many theories on how many keywords should be placed into the content and quite frankly I don’t know the answer. What I do know, is that planning your content around your keywords will only help you. What I typically do is create a list of keywords I want to use throughout the page and then begin writing my content.
As with anything related to SEO, you can use too much. Placing too many keywords thoughtout your content is not a good idea, but a nice lean balance between will help you get the results you are looking forl
Many of the most popular search engines place heavy weight upon, along with many other attributes, inbound links. An inbound link is a link from another website to your website. In general, you want to have as many links as you can from related websites. For example, having links from your manufactures, vendors, and even competitors.
There are many free website directories related to your field online. A quick Google search with your industry + free directory will yield results.
Flash, when used correctly, is a great tool to keep viewers interested. When used inappropriately it can take all of the search engine capabilities away from your website. Flash is image driven, and therefore the content cannot be spidered by search engines. There are alternatives, such as creating an identical site in HTML, but now you must manage two different websites.
Basic flash elements, (ie, www.4researchsolutions.com) when used correctly, in key areas of interest make it a nice pleasurable experience for the user and do not take a way from your search engine spiderablility*.
How long until my site is searched or spidered by search engines?
More often than not, it takes 2 to 3 weeks. We cannot speak for all of the search engines, but typically we notice results in about the 2 to 3 week range. There are a few things you can do to speed up the process. The best thing to do is to have us create a splash page or a coming soon page. This will let the search engines know that there is something here, even if it’s nothing but a logo and it will begin to be spidered.
Also, since Chico Web Design gets spidered almost daily, having a link in our portfolio section, as all clients do, will help speed up the process as well.
What will Chico Web Design do to help my brand new site?
As we stated above, we do not consider ourselves SEO experts, but feel we have enough web experience to understand the basic concepts that will only help your site get the traffic it needs.
When developing a website, Chico Web Design uses W3C standard HTML helping to keep our pages as “light” as possible. Producing “light” pages allows the search engines to focus on the content and ignore a lot of the useless code that was once used to create layouts. We also use search engine friendly URL’s and will apply any Meta data that you would like into your site, all you have to do is give us the copy.
In conclusion, SEO is a very complex science that no one person knows the answer too. What Chico Web Design does as a web design and development firm is implements the most up to date techniques used to help start your optimization. If you want a professional to help you optimize your site to it’s fullest potential, please contact us and we will be glad to put you in contact with a professional. But remember, someone who is good at SEO can cost up to $300 p/hour.
*yes, I made this word up!