Search Engine Optimization
We incorporate SEO when building new websites and we also take on clients who have a website already, but need it reviewed, updated and changed to optimize the site’s search ranking.
You can think of this like a home building project. The building professional or homeowner can construct ‘to code’ watching some or all of the local regulations (or not…). Similarly, the web developer can build a site that honors some or all of the ways to optimize search results (or not…). Unlike general contractors, who are required to implement local building codes, to get inspection sign-off and to keep their licenses, there is no such regulation or overview of website designers and developers.
What is Search Engine Indexing?
Search engines read through the whole internet, indexing keyword phrases like an electronic librarian. They visit each site about once every 6-9 weeks and display the results when search engine users run a search against those keywords.
Of course we all want to be ‘at the top’ of the free listings. Site indexing leads to your ranking on the free list. These rankings determine how high up your site appears. They are secret and complex algorithms that belong to Google, Yahoo! and the other search companies. If you meet someone who claims to know the ‘whole formula’ they are either breaching confidentiality or stretching reality a bit. But we can all agree that some factors include:
How often the keyword phrase appears on the page
How important the keyword phrase is on the page – large, titles, top of the page, page names, picture names
How often the site is linked to from other well-ranked sites, implying value, popularity and respect.
The relative weight of these factors on competitive sites.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an overall term for the collection of many small changes and decisions that a website developer takes when building or updating each page on a website.
Compare the website developer to a home builder striving to maintain city code: It’s not just the quality of the framing [keyword density] or the grade of the wiring [page titles] or the diameter of the in-pipes. [file names] or the capacity of the HVAC [picture naming] or the location of the hot water tank [page text]. The home builder or the web designer need to be implementing all of these components and more all of the time. There is no silver bullet.
Consider what happens when a site is not optimized: we see sites that are full of words like ‘excellent, quality, stellar, best, reliable’, but with not one occurrence of the words ‘San Rafael, Marin, Sonoma, Bay Area, San Francisco’. What do you think – do people search for ‘excellent acupuncture’ or do they search for ‘acupuncture Marin’? You probably guessed right; they search for ‘acupuncture Marin’.
Optimize your site for the ‘free’ or ‘organic’ listings