SEO demystified

ever been approached by a company promising top search engine results for your website? before you buy, read on.

Content drives Google search results, and in the words of web expert Mark O’Brien of Newfangled, “If you’re good to Google, Google will be good to you.” It was the very day I heard Mark speak at the Creative Freelancer Conference in Boston that I was on the phone with a client during a break. The client was hiring me for a website redesign, but was looking at other companies to provide search engine optimization (SEO) for the site…at a rate of $3,000 to $5,000 per month.

“Wait a minute!” I said.

I went on to explain what I’d learned from Mark’s presentation…about not stuffing your site’s pages with keywords, or playing any of the other SEO games that might land you on top temporarily, only to constantly require new tricks in order to stay there.

“Tell me more,” the client said.

I obliged. “Mark advises to write authentically with your prospect in mind.Think about what they might be looking for when you want your page to appear, and gear your content accordingly.” In addition, plan to write about 2,000 words of new (and relevant!) content for your site each month (think articles and blog posts). And finally, focus on the tactics below to best position your site for placement that will last longer than that gallon of milk in your fridge:

  • the filenames of your site’s pages (what shows up in the browser’s address bar). They should include content that is relevant to the search you are targeting. So instead of http://www.yourdomain.com/contact.html, consider http://www.yourdomain.com/widget-makers-in-portland.html.
  • the titles of your site’s pages (what shows up in the very top of the browser window). The same approach that applies to filenames applies here…use content in your page titles that is relevant to the search.
  • header tags. You guessed it! Include content in the headers of your pages (the bits of text wrapped in <h> tags) that is relevant to the search.

One of my focus areas is the maritime industry. Here is an example of how Mark’s tactics might be applied to a new page on the site that is dedicated to maritime expertise:

seo

I’ve traditionally implemented some basic, common-sense techniques for search engine optimization (SEO), but avoided promoting SEO as a stand-alone service because I was skeptical of some of the methods, uncertain whether they would produce longterm results, and wary of approaches that required constant tweaking. After hearing Mark’s approach — so simple, so honest and so effective — I totally drank the Kool-Aid. I also bought the book, and made my client read it, too. Being the analytical types that we both are, the book provided all of the logic we needed to change the way we thought about SEO. If you’re a DIY-type and are interested in the nuts and bolts, pick up Mark’s book, A Website that Works. If you’d rather just pretend you read the book and *poof* the work is done, call or e-mail your creative-on-call (Whole Brain Creative, that is) for details: 503.325.4485 or [email protected]

Miss our last post on responsive web design? Check it out here.

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