Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and the science of getting a website to appear prominently in organic search engine results when a search submits a query relevant to that website.

When people see an ad on TV and they want to learn more, what do they do? They go online and search. And when someone types a keyword into Google and clicks the search button, there are only two possible outcomes:

1. They will find you.
2. They will find your competitor.

When it comes to website design, or to redesigning an existing site, the time to bring in SEO expertise is now. SEO concerns and considerations must be raised before a site is speced out, during the development, design, and build processes, as well as after the launch. Minnesota Design Studio’s Search Engine Optimization Friendly (SEO) sites are designed to increase search engine ranks, drive more qualified traffic and increase quality and quantity of internet leads. SEO campaign results are tracked with Google Analytics and keyword ranking reports.

Search Engine Optimization

Following these simple guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your web site.

All of the below items and more, influence what appears on an organic results page. We are aware of these variables, and aware that much of what determines number one resides well outside our control. Number one is never a realistic search optimization goal because rankings can, do, and always change. That’s why SEO is an ongoing process that aims to position a site or page high in organic search results for relevant searches over a long period of time.

Where should you submit your site?

Google: http://www.google.com/submityourcontent/
Bing: https://ssl.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx
Yahoo: The organic search results on Yahoo! Search are now powered by Bing.

Create A Sitemap

One basic way to help out the search engines like Google is by creating a sitemap. A sitemap is usually an XML file that provides the crawler with a listing of all URLs on the website. Additional information about individual URLs can also be contained in a sitemap, such as when a given page was most recently updated, how often it changes, and how important each URL on the site is relative to the other URLs.

Submit a Sitemap using Google Webmaster Tools. Google uses your Sitemap to learn about the structure of your site and to increase our coverage of your webpages.

1. Click Here To Create A Free Sitemap
2. Click Here To Create A Google Webmaster Tools Account

Choosing Keywords and Phrases

A well optimized website will not only be found, but will also rank high in organic search results for relevant keywords and phrases. These keywords and phrases should be fine tuned to reflect the language searchers use when they’re looking for you.

The best keywords contain:

  • Strong relevance to your site (terms which you have content to support)
  • Relatively high search volume (terms people are actually searching for)
  • Relatively low competition (terms with a small number of search results)

Keywords should be used in Title Tags, Description Tags, Meta keyword Tag, Headings, Alt Text and Anchor Text.

Some useful Tools for Researching Keywords and Phrases:

  • Google’s Keyword Tool – primarily intended to help Google’s paid search advertisers, but anyone optimizing a site for organic search should use this. It also displays the advertiser competition and relative search volumes for both the past month and year.
  • Wordtracker’s – free tool that collects search terms on a weekly basis from the major metacrawlers

Meta Tags

For search engine optimization, only three meta tags really matter.

Meta robots tag – This tag is used only if you do not want pages indexed by search engines.

Meta keywords tag – This tag contains the major keywords and key phrases on which a person wants a page to be found when they’re used in a search query, as well as rank highly in organic search results. However, years ago, people started to abuse meta keyword tags by filling them with useless or irrelevant words to achieve a higher rank. Thanks to the abusers, most search engines (Google) place little to no importance on the meta keywords tag.

Meta description tag – This is the tag that matters most, and it’s well worth taking the time to craft a good page description. That’s because the text that comprises the description is displayed in search results just under the clickable title.

Page Titles

The text in each page’s title tag is what appears in the clickable link on search engine results page. So, fixing and adjusting the words that are used in a page’s title tag is one of the quickest and most effective adjustments you can make to influence not only that page’s ranking, but also the number of people who actually click on the link.

  • Keep your title tags less than the 65 character maximum
  • Don’t limit your tags to the company name

Provide Good Content That Users Are Looking For

Providing high quality content on your website that’s users are looking for is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.

  • Good content is well-written. It contains few spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Its updated frequently in short, easy to digest paragraphs.
  • Keywords or Phrases searchers use to find you should be included in the writing, ideally higher up on the page.

Create a Solid Link Strategy

This is not only about linking out to other places on the web, its also about getting as many relevant sites to link to yours as possible. Links are critical not only to how search engines find your site, but also in terms of how highly a site is ranked by search engines.

How Does Google Search Work?

Read More Information About How Google Search Works

Blogs Are Highly Effective Tools That Can Enhance SEO

Blog platforms are built for searching. Although content, names, tags, links are great, blog platforms have plenty of optimization advantages baked into them from the start.

  • Blog platforms make it easy to add new pages, while at the same time integrating those pages into a site’s navigational structure.
  • Blogs and blog posts are naturally search-friendly because they’re text-rich and link-rich.
  • Blogs and blog posts also logically structure and categorize content.
  • Frequently Updated
  • SEO Friendly Structure
  • Blogs tend to include far more outbound links in their content

Design and Content Guidelines

When writing copy for your site, use the following pointers to help you create copy that both speaks to your intended audience, as well as pays homage to the search engines:

  • Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map has an extremely large number of links, you may want to break the site map into multiple pages.
  • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.
  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
  • Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the “ALT” attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
  • Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML.
  • If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.

Quality Guidelines

Use good judgment, and conduct usability tests to ensure that the design and structural element of the website are at least as pleasing to users as they are to search engines. Here are some rules:

  • Avoid Splash Pages
  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Avoid Frames and IFrames
  • Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don’t send automated queries to Google.
  • Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
  • If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

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Ross did an outstanding job designing my company website for Jenmar Translations. Ross was great to work with, extremely attentive, and he always went out of his way to make sure I was happy with his work. It was never an inconvenience to call him if I needed anything and he always made me a priority. Even more important, Ross is extremely talented and dedicated to his profession.

I wholeheartedly recommend Ross Lund and Minnesota Design Studio for all your website and designing needs.

Tom Garden
Edina, MN

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A: 224 Crocus Place, Mankato, MN 56001

P: (507)340-5577

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