advertising, design, web design


Notes on creating a search engine friendly web site from scratch

Optimising your web site for search engine placement

There are many search engines on the Internet that ‘surfers’ use to find the information and the web pages that they are looking for. Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask Jeeves and Lycos are the major players.

However, it is true to say that Google is currently the most popular. This hasn't always been the case, Yahoo was top of the popularity list before Google, (Yahoo didn't start out strictly as search engine but as a web directory) and before Yahoo, Alta Vista held the top spot. Things do change in the search engine world, but so far Google has proved to be the bench mark that all others compare themselves to. However, the most recent entry into the arena is Microsoft with their MSN search and they hate the fact that they are not number one. How did they miss offering this utility at the beginning we wonder? Why wasn't it part of Internet Explorer from the start? Questions they must be asking themselves.

There are web sites that specialize in watching and discussing search engines and their ratings. being one of the best known.

Why is it so important to take notice of how search engines work?

By far the greater percentage of your web sites visitors have been sent there as a result of a search in a search engine, so it goes without saying that if your site can’t be found in the search engines you will be suffering a loss of traffic. As human beings tend to be inherently lazy and it has been recognized that most people only look at the sites featured on the first few pages of the search results, it is therefore important that your details come as high up the list as possible.

You can try the search engines out for yourself

You can go to MsnSearch, Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Lycos, and put in your main ‘search term’ and see where you site features in the lists and who's site is placed at the top of the list. If your site doesn't feature in the first four pages of each of the main search engines then there is work that needs doing to optimise your site.

What can I do for you and your site to help your search engine placement?

1. Registration
The first thing that I can do for you is ensure that your site is actually registered with the major search engines and directories by going to each of them and checking them to see if your site is included. If your site doesn’t feature then I would fill in the search engine’s forms in their proscribed manner. This is a boring and tedious process, but it has to be done, there is nothing worse that putting your URL into a search engine and not being able to find your site in the results (again you can try this out for yourself just put your www....your domain name. etc. into any of the search engines and see what happens). If your site doesn't feature you can fill in the forms so that it will in the future.

2. Your search terms
I will help you focus on your search terms. How and where you describe your services in you web site is important although its not straightforward. However, there are some basic first principles that have to be followed in order to get effective results. Basically your sites need to be written for the search engines to read as well as for your visitors to read.

3. Meta tags
I will make sure that your meta tags are written effectively. You may have heard of ‘meta tags’ these are words placed in your web pages only for the search engine ‘crawlers’ to read. They need particular care and attention because they instruct and feed the search engines with the information that your pages provide. The words that you want found have to be there.

4. Links
The links to your site from other web sites are important. Google in particular takes special notice of where your links are placed and uses this information as part of it’s ranking system. To be fair, there is a limit as to what I can do to help you with cross site linking unless I’m working for you for some considerable time. Given time, I can help you with setting up a links page (if you don’t have one) and ensure that you have quality links pointing into your site. I will of course put a link to your site in and my other sites. I can in some cases set up a link swap with some of my clients that have relevant sites. Links with other sites just for the sake of swapping links are useful, but are increasingly being downgraded by Google and are not as good as relevant contextual links.

Getting the right sites to link to your site is an important and constant job that someone has to do if your site is to feature well in Google.

5. Paid for search engine placement
I don't see this as strictly SEO but it is a service that I offer so please email me if wish further details.

My rates

In the list above, numbers 1 to 3 are absolute requirements in the process of search engine optimisation and form my first basic fee of £250

My full service is a more comprehensive approach and includes all of the four stages above. It involves a continual process of adding submissions and links to your site and other sites over the months.

My full SEO service costs £700 and is completed over a one year time frame. It is charged in three stages. The first payment being of £250 for completing the steps 1,2,3 as above. A second payment of £250 will be due after six months.The final £200 payment will be due two months later.

I can also offer advice and help on ‘paid for’ search engine promotion and help with general web site promotion, advertising and PR if required.

A further monthly ‘watching brief’ will also offered after the first year for subsequent years for those who want me to keep their site on top of the changes in the search world.

If you don't yet have a site, or have a site that doesn't work at all, you may be best advised to start from scratch - click here for more details on starting from scratch.

Please email me: for further discussion on SEO and your web site design requirements.