The Essentials of SEO

Search Engine Optimization for Dummies (part 1)

December 2006

To what extent should a website take SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into account when it is designed? There are three aspects that are important: (1) having good content, (2) making sure its coded in a way that search engine spiders can crawl, (3) getting links to it. 

1. Great content

Make content that works for people, but also contains the type of text that people will use when searching in a search-engine. That is: look at relevant key-words, look at statistics on what terms are used to find your website etc. The content part is essential. Looking at keywords is less important then the next two points:

2. Clean code with spiderable menu

Coding a website should be done in mainly HTML and CSS. Adding content like video's, pictures and flash is fine for thrills, but start with text in HTML. Make sure that any Javascript that is used doesn't prevent the site from being crawled by the search engines.

3. Getting the word out: branding and links

Good old fashioned PR (public relations). In the case of websites this means:

Whatever is relevant to your niche and fits your budget. The power of the 'old media' should not be underestimated. Anything that spikes an interest in the old media is likely to spill over in blogs and websites. Old fashioned ideas about ' branding ' are relevant online as much as off. If a name is new, it is less likely to get a link. If a name is known, and content is good, free links will come your way. 

The aim of all this is getting links, but asking for links or buying links are only the most obvious ways. Link-exchange is only going to work if the sites you link to are ones you would recommend your visitors to go to. A links page is essential for the 'image' of a website: a bad links-page makes your site look bad to visitors and search-engines like google. More on link building. Also see my article on how often google will crawl your site.