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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist adesignrsa's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    The Bare Essentials of SEO

    Look at this from a design & development firm's point of view where SEO is not a key focus. This is not intended as a request for a "quick fix" or silver bullet, but more of a query as to what would be the bare essentials of SEO before releasing the site to the client and having it ready for further SEO and promotion.

    I am considering offering a very light (bare essential) SEO service to client's that we have done a website (re)design for. We are capable of offering online marketing and SEO, but the time factor does not justify it to us. We'd prefer to pass the major SEO and online marketing to firms that focus on it more directly.

    By the same token, we have found that not doing any SEO for some clients; their sites have remained dormant and unvisited and just didn't justify the cost that they paid us to design/develop them. We'd like to kick off the smaller clients with at least a submission to some major search engines, the integration of Analytics and setting up an Adwords account for them should they wish.

    To describe one of our more typical projects you'll get an idea for what and how we do what we do for our clients. It goes as follows:

    1. We'll establish a simple and effective Information Architecture
    2. We'll Design a site that is pleasant to look at and offers good focal cues for visitors to take the desired action
    3. We'll code the site semantically (XHTML Strict markup with CSS Layout(s))
    4. We'll have the copy written professionally by our copywriter if the client chooses us to do so... most do; he's very good
    5. We'll create a Google Site Map and submit it when the site is published
    6. We'll integrate Google Analytics for the client to monitor their traffic and we'll set conversion tracking for them too if need be.
    7. We submit them to Google, DMoz, Best of the web and some other local engines if it's a local client.
    8. We'll set up a Google Adwords account and research the keywords/phrases for use in a campaign

    And that's about it...

    With this all done, what else could be added to lay some good groundwork for a professional SEO firm to take over and push further for the client?

    I wonder if some might perceive it as us doing "too much" and feel that we should excuse ourselves following the deployment. In all honesty, I think since we are capable of doing the stages succeeding the deployment, it could be highly beneficial to carry out these tasks... especially for our smaller clients who are not looking at any further SEO. At least they can use Adwords to direct traffic and as their site grows with content, and if they're any good... the links should start building...

    I'm interested to see how my fellow SP'ers feel about this and maybe you could offer some advice on some other (non-time-consuming) bare essential SEO tactics.
    Ross Allchorn
    Web Consultant
    Twitter - @allchornr

  2. #2
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
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    From the Search Engine Optimization FAQ:
    What would be a good SEO strategy?

    Before you write one line of code:
    • Do keyword research to determine what keywords you want to target

    While constructing your website you should do the following:
    • Use markup to indicate the content of your site
      • Optimize your <title> tags on each page to contain 1 - 3 keywords
      • Create unique Meta Tags for each page
      • Use header tags appropriately (H1 > H2 > H3)
      • Use <strong> and <em> tags if appropriate
    • Optimize your URLs
    • Optimize your content
      • Use keywords liberally yet appropriately throughout each page
      • Have unique content
      • Have quality content
    • Use search engine friendly design
      • Create a human sitemap
      • Do not use inaccessible site navigation (JavaScript menus)
      • Minimized outbound links
      • Kept your pages under 100K in size
    • Design the navigational structure of the site to channel PR to main pages (especially the homepage)
    • Create a page that encourages webmasters to link to your site
      • Provide them the relevant HTML to create their link to you
      • Provide them with any images you may want them to use (although text links are better)
    • Make sure your website is complete before launching it

    Immediately after launching your site you should do the following:
    • Submit your site to all major search engines
    • Submit your site to all free directories
    • Submit your site to relevant directories
    • Begin a link building campaign (attempting to get keywords in the link anchor text)
      • Put a link to your website in your forum signatures
      • Reply to relevant blog posts (Don't spam please)
      • Submit articles to relevant websites

    If you will pay to promote your website:
    • Submit your site to pay directories
    • Purchase text links from high PR (Pagerank) sites related to your site

    Finally, as part of an ongoing strategy:
    • Continually update your website will quality, unique content
    • Continually seek free links preferably from sites in your genre

    Do NOT do the following:
    • Make an all Flash website (without an HTML alternative)
    • Use JavaScript for navigation
    • Spam other websites for incomming links
    • Launch your site before it is done
    • Use duplicate content
      • Point several domains to one site without using a 301 redirect
    • Use markup inappropiately
      • Style <H>eader tags to look like regular text
      • Hide content using 'display: hidden' (for the sake of hiding text)
    • Use other "black hat" techniques (unless you accept the risk - Banning)
      • Doorway/Landing pages
      • Cloaking
      • Hidden text
      • Keyword stuffing

    Additional Tips:
    • Usable and accessible sites tend to be search engine friendly by their very nature
    • Be patient! High rankings don't happen overnight
    • Don't obsess with any one search engine. They are all worth your attention.

    In other words you have SEO in mind before you start your website. And only submit once you have a complete website.

  3. #3
    Non-Member thetafferboy83's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    Although they look good on paper, doing things like submitting to search engines, really do nothing at all.. There is really no "half way" house when it comes to SEO, but I absolutely understand your requirement for having a site "SEO ready" so to speak.

    Rather than focus on these internal factors, such as submitting to DMOZ etc, I would look inward to your design and offer these features:

    1) All websites you make automatically pull titles from database to generate individual, relevant <title> attrib for each page.

    2) If for instance you are making an e-commerce site, have the CMS so new created page titles (and existing ones) are done with an <h1> tag and further sections/paragraphs with <h2> - give the client guidelines of importance of using correct titles

    3) Do not, ever use graphics for menus, if you must have it look really pretty, use something like Scalable Inman Flash Replacement, so you get the nice AA finish on text, it appears as flash but is still readable text links to SEs

    4) Make sure all your sites are crawable by search engines (no javascript links, frames etc).

    5) Try and make your URL structure search engine friendly, so no huge query strings or fluff in the URL.

    If you would like it, I actually wrote a 5,000 word document for a company who was building a website which gave them guidelines on how to make the site SEO friendly for us. If you pm me, I would be more than happy to send this to you.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist adesignrsa's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    Hi Guys,

    Yeah, that stuff is all good. Thanks.

    99&#37; of that stuff we do do already, but the remaining % we don't; thanks for the advice.

    Stymiee: while it is all good solid advice from a brilliant source, I think a majority of that post-launch advice is over and above what we want to do for the client. Maybe I should do one or 2 sites using that sequence of tasks and monitor the amount of time it takes.

    Maybe we could come up with an "included" package which involves minimal work, but still a good start (what my initial question was relating to) and then a "optional-extra" package that is comprehensive(ish) but does not include ongoing work (something I'm trying to avoid and would rather outsource or refer on).

    I'll have a look over both of your's [sic] advice and draft what I'm talking about... not tonight though... time for bed.

    Thanks again...
    Ross Allchorn
    Web Consultant
    Twitter - @allchornr


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