Tips

Exploring SEO – Part 2: Create something worth finding

Any successful SEO strategy starts with a key premise: that your website/blog/page has something of value to offer to your the people you want to motivate. Applying SEO techniques to a site that simply doesn’t meet their needs (or worse, a strategy that lacks an understanding of who they are) won’t really make a lot of difference.

Whether it be a blog or a web application that you’re building, knowing what value you provide (and what that means to the participants of your site) is a critical piece to the puzzle. While with a blog you may be able to get away with not going to great lengths to analyse your audience and traffic sources etc. some of these principles outlined over the jump can be useful.

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Tips

Exploring SEO – Part 1: Many facets

I’ve had a couple of conversations with friends and clients over the past few months looking at Seach Engine Optimsation (SEO) and what that involves.

It probably doesn’t need to be stated, but search engines are the “first port of call” for many internet users, and usually represents a significant proportion of traffic to websites (in my experience anywhere between 30% and 80% of site referrals come from search engines).

Therefore it’s important to make your site as search engine friendly as possible.

Bad rap

SEO has received a bit of a bad rap because of some vendors’ attempts to “game” the system – that is use nefarious techniques to try to “trick” search engines into giving their sites higher ratings. However, there are a lot of things that we as practitioners (developers, producers, designers, content writers etc.) can do to help our clients achieve better rankings.

While I’m no SEO expert, I have picked up a lot of tips and techniques over time that I thought would be useful to jot down here in a series across the next week or so. The notes will take the form of a series, and will be tagged SEO to make them easier to find for future reference.

(Note: I’m going to focus on organic search results, not targeted search advertising such as Google AdWords)

Many facets to SEO

The first thing I think worth mentioning is that SEO is not something that you can just “bolt on” at the end of a project. Aspects of SEO permeate many levels of a project – everything from information architecture (how a site is structured and information presented), search term and site analytics data analysis, copywriting (the content of your site), web publishing system choice, HTML coding, and more.

To my mind, the various facets of SEO can be broadly split into three categories:

  1. Site strategy
  2. Copywriting/content
  3. Information architecture
  4. Technical

Each is interelated – without certain technical capabilities, information architecture related SEO methods may not be possible. Similarly, without strong site architecture, copywriting methods are less effective.

Therefore a wholistic approach is required, from the beginning of a project to the end execution, to facilitate a strong SEO strategy.

In the coming posts I’ll expand on each of these and delve a little deeper into some of the techniques that can be employed.

In the next installment I’ll touch on what I think is the most critical aspect of SEO: creating something worth finding.

Links

del.icio.us links (28-Jan-2008 to 04-Feb-2008)

  • Stockvault.net – Another free stock photo site and community. A potentially useful addition to iStockphoto and Stockexchange.
  • Sprout Builder – “Sprouts” are widgets that you can add to your site and share with others, created from your own media. Although I’ve not looked deeply into them, they seem a handy and quick way to build promotional widgets for your organisation or cause.
  • Is the Tipping Point Toast? – This article has been spreading like wildfire through blogland. A rebuttal, of sorts, to “The Tipping Point” concept where a few “influentials” take trends viral. Thought provoking, and I would say essential reading for anyone in the marketing biz.

(These links were posted to my del.icio.us feed between 28-Jan-2008 and 04-Feb-2008.)