Prospective clients often ask me what SEO techniques I practice as a web designer. Over the years I have seen a lot of gimmicks come and go. However, the basic structure and coding practices that Google and other search engines like the best have stayed the same:
- write clean, efficient code (following W3C standards)
- incorporate your most important keywords into your page titles and text
- aim for 300-700 words of text per page
- update content on a frequent basis
- include concise, descriptive text on image alt tags
- use Flash and other multimedia as a garnish, not the main dish
- avoid tricks and gimmicks that can get your site penalized by Google
The above strategies are those I practice on behalf of clients when developing web sites. There is also the strategy of cultivating incoming links, which is typically more of an ongoing process carried out by the site owner. Entire books could be (and have been) written about incoming links, which are said to account for about a third of your site’s search engine rank.
Developing social media profiles (Facebook and Twitter especially) and starting a blog on your own site are highly recommended, although these tasks can be overwhelming for busy entrepreneurs. Consider outsourcing this task to a copywriter or social media specialist.
The video below is a clip of Matt Cutts, Google engineer, describing effective methods for gaining incoming links:
Google provides a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide which is an easy, informative read. Their guide underscores an important point; while site development should be done with search engines in mind, ultimately people view websites and decide whether or not to buy your product, visit again, or recommend your site to others. SEO techniques and web standards are important goals, but shouldn’t get in the way of effectively communicating your message.