Search Engine Optimization
1. Web Design
Many website designers produce eye-catching designs with animations and clever rollover buttons hoping to lure people onto their sites. This is a big mistake; using designs like these will actually decrease your chances of a high Google rating. Yes, that's right; all that money you paid for the website design could be wasted because no-one will ever find your site.
The reason for this is that before you get people to your site you need to get the spiderbots to like your site. Spiderbots are pieces of software used by the search engine companies to trawl the Internet looking at all the websites, and then, having reviewed the sites, they use complex algorithms to rank the sites. Some of the complex techniques used by web designers cannot be trawled by spiderbots. They come to your site, look at the HTML code and exit stage right, without even bothering to rank your site, leaving you on page 10 of any given search result. Other websites are simply a waste of money. The trouble is that both the web designers and the companies that paid them just don’t want to accept this. So, optimizing a website to be Google friendly becomes a compromise between aesthetics and SEO. It doesn’t have to be!
2. HTML Coding
It’s important to optimize the actual HTML code to be spiderbot friendly. This is separate from web design because you really do need to be down in the guts of the code rather than using an editor like Frontpage, which is OK for website design but not coding. This takes a great deal of time and experience to develop any level of proficiency, and even when you think you have it down, the search engine companies change the algorithms used to calculate how high your site will appear in the search results.
Results need to be constantly monitored, pieces of code added or removed, and the competition kept track of. Many people who design their own website think they will get searched because it looks good, and totally miss this step. Without a strong technical understanding of how spiderbots work, you will always struggle to get your company on the first results page in Google.
Copywriting is a skill in its own right! This is the writing of the actual text that people coming to your site will read. The Googlebot and other spiderbots like Inktomi, love text – but only when written well in proper English. Some people try to stuff their site with keywords, while others put white writing on white space (so spiderbots can see it but humans cannot).
Spiderbots are very sophisticated and won’t simply ignore these tactics, but may actively penalize your site for them – in Google terms, this is sand boxing. Google takes new sites and “naughty” sites and effectively sin-bins them for 3-6 months. Your still in the results, just 14 or 15 pages back. In addition to good English, the spiderbots are also reading the HTML code. It is important for the copywriter to have a level of understanding when it comes to the interplay of copy and HTML code. Stimulus writes well-constructed, English sentences that can be read by both humans and machines.
Marketing is the final piece of the puzzle. After all, this is what we are doing – marketing your site and ultimately, your company and its products/services on the Web. The key here is to set the site up to be accessible to the searches that will provide most business to you. So the marketing skill requires knowledge of a company's business, what they are really trying to sell and an understanding of what actual searches may pay dividends.