The many facets of search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is the sixth in the series by DuVall Designs in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides a look at the details of web design that all business owners must face.  Search engine optimization means setting up your website to maximize the chances that your web address will return highly when anyone searches for your product or service by typing keywords into a search engine.

SEO Keywords
Earlier in this series, in installment #3 Choosing Key Words, we looked at how appropriate choice of keywords and keyword placement would help boost overall SEO efforts.  As your website is being designed and constructed, it is time to discuss SEO with your website designer or website developer.  There are more types of SEO than can be covered in this article, with more techniques being developed every day.  But there is a reliable set of basics that should be addressed.

SEO Inside the Website
For SEO on the website itself, you will want to make sure that areas of metadata are making full use of the keywords you have decided to focus on, plus any others that your web developer may recommend through experience or research.  Metadata is information that search engines use to help catalog the website content, information that may or may not be visible to human visitors.  The text or content in these areas is considered “searchable,” and therefore provides the search engines with information about your website.  There are many types of metadata, and your website programmer should be able to assist you in taking full advantage of these searchable areas.

SEO Outside the Website
To help boost SEO from outside the site, it is helpful to have other sites, blogs or people link back to your website.  Caution is necessary here, though.  There are many services for hire that claim to build links back to your site for a fee.  The effectiveness of these services is dubious at best, as most search engine companies have learned to recognize the type and quality of these links as inferior and they may count against your page ranking.  A more successful approach is to genuinely cultivate relationships with others in related fields and to add your website information to related directories as appropriate.

Use Good Judgment for SEO
Search engine optimization is not an exact science and there can be many different approaches.  The only wrong choices are doing nothing at all, or trying to cheat by using shortcut techniques or paying others to use them, known as “black hat” services.  Legitimate, well-done SEO can also take a little bit of time to start showing an effect, perhaps as long as 45 days.  The goal is a steady increase in traffic that can be sustained with additional attention over time.  A professional website developer with a good reputation and strong references should be able to guide you in the right direction.