"Web designers must design for search engines, not just for browsers. But the absolute best way to be listed is to have really good content." -- Danny Sullivan, editor, Search Engine Watch.Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral aspect of all sites that are designed by Rich's Web Design. As I tell all of my potential clients,"It is easy to create a beautiful web site, but if no one can find it, it is almost useless." I build sites so that they are accepted by the search engines and are formatted so that they appear as high in the rankings as possible. Notice how I worded that last phrase,"...so that they appear as high in the rankings as possible." There are plenty of people out there that promise you "Guaranteed Top 10 Placement for only $$ a month." Believe these people and I have some oceanfront property for-sale in Arizona.
Search-Engine Optimization - Mr. Sullivan, the SearchEngineWatch.com editor, defines search-engine optimization as "the act of altering your site so that it may rank well for particular terms" used in Web searches. The ideal is to get your site to the top of the results of a Web search, or at least on the first page of results.
One relatively easy change to make is to use simple terms or words that everyone would understand to describe your products -- and therefore be more likely to use in a search -- instead of industry jargon. Experts suggest doing research on keyword use to find out what terms Internet users are searching for, and then altering the content of your site to make sure it appears as a match for more of those words.
Changes below the surface, in a Web site's software, also can help the site achieve a higher listing in search results.
One important advantage of this approach is that it allows companies to show up, and prominently, in Google's results. Since Google doesn't have a paid-inclusion program, the only options open to companies that want to ensure display in Google's search results are search-engine optimization or paid listings. A word of warning, though: Google will eliminate from its database companies that it believes are using unscrupulous methods to improve their rankings in search results. So familiarize yourself with Google's standards (spelled out at www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html) and be sure your strategy complies with them.
Search-engine optimization also has had to overcome some bad publicity from disgruntled customers who wondered what they got out of it. "It was thought of as more of a black art," acknowledges Jill Whalen, owner of HighRankings.
Search-engine optimizers and marketers advise merchants considering this option to take the same precautions they would with any service provider: Ask for references and interview them. Spend time interviewing the firm you want to hire, to understand what it offers and to communicate what your expectations are.