SEO Methodologies for New Websites


Okay, so your business has been around for a few years now, but you never had an online presence. You finally decide that having a website might be an excellent way of reaching a much larger customer base and so you hire a Web Designer to design a brand new site for you. But you remember a conversation that you had recently with a fellow business colleague where he shared that when his company launched a brand new website, how his site never obtained any kind of rankings on the search engines. Your friend shared how the site had all kinds of fancy JavaScript links, and slideshows and all the bells & whistles and he just couldn’t understand why the site wasn’t ranking better.

Unfortunately, the story above happens all too often. Companies hire a Web designer to come in and do their site design with no thought whatsoever to making the website search engine friendly. If your company is starting the process of having your first website or if you are purchasing a new domain to launch, then you need to hire a Web designer that knows SEO and how to design a site that will be able to rank well on the major search engines.

First, you should select a domain name that has the name of your company’s product or service in it. So if your company sold Widgets, then the word widgets should be in the domain name. Now obviously the domain most likely would already be taken. You can always use another extension besides dot com. Also, you can have other words in the name such as Just so long as the name widgets is in the domain name. If your company has it in their marketing budget, you might want to consider to go out and buy an older domain name that is related to your niche market. Perhaps you could even buy; but be prepared to lay out a large sum of money for such an established domain.

Next, you’ll need to hire a Web designer that is experienced in search engine optimization and who knows how to design websites for BOTH people and search engines. You won’t have to sacrifice having a beautiful looking site for a search friendly website. It is possible to have your cake and eat it too. A main thing that your SEO savvy Webmaster will want to do is make sure that the navigation of your site is friendly to the search engine spiders that will be crawling your Web pages. So he or she will not want to use any hidden links that the search ‘bots can’t read. So he will have to use regular a href links that the search spiders will have no difficulty in crawling and indexing. Your Webmaster will also be aware of linking to external JavaScript files and not placing a lot of JavaScript directly on your Web pages. Some search ‘bots, including Google’s Googlebot have difficulty in reading JavaScript. Next, your SEO Web designer will know the importance of using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to handle the styling of your Web content. He or she should also know how to link to an external style sheet thus reducing the file size of your various Web pages. In designing a search friendly site, your designer will also want to ensure that your Web pages load as quickly as possible. This would include having them optimize all of the images on your Web pages so that the images load as quickly as possible and using width & height attributes and also using ALT tags with your images describing the images using keyword rich text in the ALT tag.

Your SEO Web designer will also know the importance of optimizing each and every page’s Title, Meta Description and Meta Keyword tags. They’ll make sure that each page has unique & relevant Title and Meta tags for that particular page. Next, they will make sure to use Header tags and include your main keywords/keyphrases in the Header tags. They’ll also know that it is a good idea to include links on your pages to other pages of your site using your main keywords in the anchor text of the links. They will also make sure to validate all of the pages of your site making sure that there are no coding errors. If they find any they will be able to fix them. A good SEO Web designer will know the importance also of running a cross-browser check to ensure that all of your pages render the same way on the various browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and so on.

Once the website has been completed (websites are never done) then your Webmaster/SEO will need to start the process of promoting your website to the search engines. A good Search Engine Optimizer will know the importance of obtaining backlinks for your website pages *slowly*. He or she will also know the importance of using the various social networks out there such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many others to promote your site. They should also know to steer clear of getting links from link farms and not to link to any link farms. They should also be selective in what Web pages that they get links from to your Web pages. They will want to get your domain listed into all of the really important Web directories, such as DMOZ, Yahoo! Directory, BOTW, and so on. If they do any free Web directory submissions for your domain, they will know to make sure and not get links from “directories” that the search engines might just classify as link farms. One man’s web directory is another’s link farm. As part of promoting your new domain/website, your SEO might recommend that you include a company blog as part of your website. A blog is great for keeping your website updated on a regular basis with fresh content and search engines love fresh content. A good SEO will know that when it comes to a new domain and promoting it, that nice and easy is better than going out and renting a ton of site wide links which will almost always raise a red flag with the search engines. Working closely with your Webmaster/SEO you will also want to ensure that the content to your site pages are original and that there is no duplicate content on your web pages. Lastly, you should have your SEO do a permanent 301 redirect of the non-www version of your site to the www version of your site to avoid Googlebot confusing the two as mirror sites and to ensure that you get all the link juice love that your pages deserve.

It would take too long in this blog to mention all of the SEO parameters involved in designing, building and promoting a brand new domain/website. But if you hire a competent SEO Web designer to design and build your site and then later to promote it, you will have taken a huge step towards having a website that someday will rank really well on the major search engines. But if you go the other route and give no thought whatsoever to search engine optimization (SEO) and making sure that your Web pages are search engine friendly, then you are going to end up with a great looking website that nobody knows about. Save yourself and your company a lot of time & money, not to mention blood, sweat and tears by ensuring that your new domain/website while primarily designed for people, also has been designed in such a way that it will eventually rank high on the search engines. The bottom line is that a great looking site that isn’t search engine friendly and conversely a site that ranks high but has very poor sales ability to it will both be bad for your ROI. Your website needs to have *BOTH*. It needs to look great, have outstanding sales ability to it, great navigation AND needs to be search engine friendly.

by G Alan Davis