Everyone wants to be ranked on the first page of Google. I can’t count the number of times a prospective client thinks that it can be so easily bundled into product development and see visible results almost immediately. However, achieving said result is done through research, writing rich content and staying up to date with search engines’ systematic search processes.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

As defined by Wikipedia –

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.

SEO Diagram
Egochi Search Engine Optimization

By no means am I an expert in this discipline. I do believe, however, that as a web designer SEO has an important part to play in any person’s role during the product development build since it deals with information architecture. Moz has a great guide on getting started with the basics that I believe everybody interested in obtaining a foundation on the subject should read before diving into deeper material.

More than two-thirds of searches are done through the Internet as opposed to the Yellow Pages nowadays. Obviously Google is the top search engine users perform their searches on. Bing has slowly become second and Yahoo is a close #3. To be clear though percentage-wise it is %90, 4% and 3% in that same order. I don’t believe you have to ask yourself if you need SEO. You just do. It’s not just about showing up on the top of search engines. It’s about making your site better for users as well. Not only placing top on rankings improve visibility and traffic to your site, it also builds trust with your customers.

Search Engines are machines.

So they have no way to gauge the quality of content on the web which is why it relies on relevance and popularity. You can’t just write great content you have to market it and get people to discover, react, share, comment and link back to it, a.k.a. Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Advertising (SEA) or whatever you want to call it – but we’ll save that conversion for a different time.

Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing Chalk illustration on dark background.

 

What are some things I can do to improve my SEO?

ON PAGE OPTIMIZATION

Avoid:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Links in unparsable JavaScript
  • Links pointed to pages blocked by robots.txt or Meta Robots Tag
  • Frames or iframes
  • Links in Flash, Java or other plugins
  • Links on pages with hundreds of other links
  • Using links in anchor text pointing to other pages on site (keyword cannibalization)

Use the keyword phrase:

  • In the title tag
  • Once prominently in the top of the page
  • At least two or three times in the body text
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image
  • Once in the URL
  • At least once in the Meta Description Tag (so users can see it on results page)

Use canonical links or 301 redirects for duplicate content

Use absolute links as opposed to relative ones to defend against scraping

Try long tail keywords as opposed to broad terms