Search Engine Optimization and Design

Building an attractive even beautiful is the goal of most website designers. In the process, sometimes the effectiveness of the website is diminished. We need to keep in mind that our goal is not only to have a beautiful website that will make people want to stay and look around and enjoy, but also a website that will be helpful to the engines in determining what our website is about or what it is relevant to.

Udi Manber, Google vice president overseeing search quality, in response to a question about webpage content evolving to be more search engine friendly explained, “It’s definitely still lacking. I wish people would put more effort into thinking about how other people will find them and putting the right keywords onto their pages.” Popular Mechanics – April 16, 2008

Search engine optimization or SEO is arguably the most essential way to drive targeted traffic to your website because it leads to improved search engine placement. Optimizing the benefits of a well-designed web site will result in much more traffic coming to the website thereby generating income for the company publishing the website. With this fact in mind however, optimizing your website might cost you thousands of dollars if you are not skilled in this area. Good search engine optimization that leads to improved search engine placement will, on the other hand, bring you a much higher return on the investment of either time or money you put into it.

My goal in this article is to give you the basics of search engine optimization so that you can understand it and incorporate it to help you accomplish your task. This will help you to improve your relevancy and search engines rankings for the best results possible through proven search engine optimization techniques.

What are the major mistakes in design

First is is important to remember that search engines are machines and read words they don’t see images or pictures. The most common mistakes form a search engine optimization standpoint are:

  • Making a website totally in Flash(TM)
  • Images without alt tags
  • Minimal or nonexistent meta title or title tag

Flash(TM) to the search engines is just like an image it is invisible although the Flash(TM) may capture the intrigue of the viewer it won’t help the search engine to know what your website is about. While the text display as a part of the Flash(TM) my be rich in keywords and information it will be lost completely to the search engines and you will go unnoticed. Flash(TM) and pictures can be used to enhance a website but the site must have text in order to build relevance for the search engines.

In the same sense images are also invisible, however we can include alt tags that will give the search engines an idea of what the viewer will see. In fact the alt tags can be very helpful since the search engines will place a little more emphasis on the text in alt tags. Don’t go overboard using keyword phrases in the alt tags but use some to help where appropriate.

The title tag as well discuss later is an important place to tell the search engines what your webpage is all about.

Where do we start?

Why is search engine optimization (SEO) so important? SEO is important because this will make your website relevant to your keywords during the search engine ranking process and will lead to improved search engine ranking. This is the reason why some businesses hire an SEO company to do this task.

You can get information on low cost related services anywhere on the internet. However, few are really showing you how to work out an inexpensive plan for improved search engine placement. Some companies will even use antiquated techniques that may slow the process down. Good search engine optimization should help you to start improving the search engine ranking of your website and start driving traffic to it in a matter of days or weeks with expensive processes.

Search engine optimization begins optimally on your website, as you plan and build it. If it was not done at first you are not too late, you can do it after you have it built and go back and revise it to improve the exposure to the search engines and still lead to improved search engine placement. It consists of the following elements referred to as “onsite optimization”.

  • Keyword Research – choosing the primary and secondary keywords you will use on your website or webpage
  • Implementing the keywords naturally into important elements in the website header and body.

Keyword Research and Usage

Let’s start first with keyword research. Why is keyword research important? The keyword research helps us to find the keywords that connect us with our targeted audience. They are the words that we want to use on our website in a variety of ways to build relevancy on our webpage so when search engines find our website and view / crawl our pages, they will then index us for those keywords. Once that happens, then when those keywords are typed into the search engine by potential customers, the search engine will then display our site in the search results, which is how they tie us to our targeted audience.

Ideally you will use a reverse search tool that will enable you to type in words you think are keywords people would search for and which will tell you the number of times those keywords were searched for over a given period of time. Depending on the tool you are using and the databases and the search engines they have access to for their search results you will get different numbers in your reverse search results. Your search engine optimization professional will know and have access to these tools and which ones are appropriate for specific uses. These tools can significantly speed up the process of onsite optimization lead to quicker improved search engine placement.

One tool you can use for manual research is Keyword Discovery’s Free Search Term Suggestion Tool. It will limit your results to 100 keywords for any given search. Another manual search tool is’s Suggestion tool. Both of these manual reverse search tools will allow you to find the keywords that people type into the search engines and how many times they were searched for. Remember keywords are how we connect with our targeted audience.

How Do I Use My Keywords Once we have identified the keywords, next we need to know where and how to use them for improved search engine placement. The first and arguably the most important place to use our keywords would be the title tag for your website. The title tag appears in the header of the page and is the first opportunity we have to tell the search engine what our page is about.

The title tag should be 60 – 80 characters in length and use one or two of the most important and/or relevant keywords for that page and possibly your website domain name, especially if your domain name includes keywords in it. The title tag information appears in the blue header bar at the top of the window and is also used as the title of your listing when your website is displayed in the natural or organic search results.

The meta description should be about 2 – 3 sentences or up to about 200 characters that describe for the customer and the search engine what the webpage is about. In the natural or organic search engine results, this description will be the first choice for the text the search engine displays beneath the title. This description does not appear on the website page when the website is displayed for the visitor but is readable by the search engine and used in the search results primarily.

A third meta tag is the keywords meta tag which is also not displayed to the visitor of the website. The keywords meta tag is a hold over from early methods of search engine optimization, but because it was abused by website developers, it is seldom use by search engines. We still use the keywords meta tag, but most search engines ignore it due to those previous abuses. Some search engines may still evaluate it and you never know when search engines may start to use it again. The Keywords meta tag is simply a list of up to 12 keyword phrases separated by commas.

The example below exclude the angle brackets due to this article being written in HTML but the angle brackets are the less than and greater than signs.

meta content=”Basic search engine optimizations concepts presented to give business owners and website developers and understanding of good SEO techniques…” name=”description” /” enclosed in angle brackets.

meta content=”keyword phrase 1,keyword phrase 2,keyword phrase 3,…” name=”keywords” /” enclosed in angle brackets

Your keywords used in the title, description and keywords tags now need to be used on the page to validate to the search engine that your page is actually about what you told the search engine that your page is relevant to. If the search engine doesn’t see any of the keywords on your page, then it can only assume that your page is not relevant to the words you used in the title, description and keywords tags in the header area of the web site.

Now that we know that we need text on the page how can we use that text to help emphasize the relevancy of the keywords on the page? Mechanisms such as header tags for headings using keywords will give more emphasis to keywords. Hyperlinks where the anchor text is a keyword phrase will add relevance to the keyword phrase and since the anchor text and the associated hyperlink reference are indexed by the search engines, using a keyword phrase as the anchor text both on the website and in offsite marketing will increase your ranking for that keyword phrase. Bolding and italics also draw some attention to the keywords for the search engine. Each page needs to have enough text on it to allow that page to demonstrate the relevance of the keywords it displays in the header of the page to the search engine, if true search engine optimization is to be achieved.

Lets take a look at some of the other tags mentioned in the previous paragraph. Header tags alert the search engine to more important text on the page, much like the headline on the page of newspaper does to the reader. A header tag is a tag that contain a “H” and a number between 1 and 7. The lower the number the larger the text and the more important it is to the search engine. H1 tags can be formatted using font tags to control the size or .css files to control the formatting.

Hyperlinks consist of at least two components. The first component is the link destination represented by the term “href” referring to the hyperlink reference and the anchor text located between the beginning and ending anchor tags. An anchor tag is an “a” in angle brackets and ending with “/a” in angle brackets. The beginning tag also include the destination reference. Remember that you you could use a keyword phrase in place of the word home to designate your home page. That keyword phrase would be a link and would help to build relevance for your website for that keyword phrase.

As we use these structures in combination in a natural way we then are able to help the search engine to know what our page is about and also create a page that is functional for the user.

To optimize your website well for the search engines you should use unique meta tags on each page on your website. The keywords should be used in:

  • The title tag – big three
  • Meta description
  • Meta keywords
  • Header tag – big three
  • Opening paragraph – about 4% density
  • Alt tags on all images and using keywords on about 3 images per page
  • Link / anchor text or hyperlinks – big three
  • Body of the page – about 4% density (visible text)
  • Closing paragraph – about 4% density

They should be used in such a way as to feel natural on the page. If the page feels awkward, then look for ways to reword the information on the page and make sure you are not forcing the keywords in too many times. This in combination with other activities to build your page rank are the best ways to get your page listed on page one of the search engines.

These strategies are what we call onsite page optimization. Each page needs to have its own unique page optimization for the content on that page. Don’t make the mistake of using the same title, description and keywords meta tags for every page on your site.

Using these strategies in conjunction with the design of your website will vastly improve your search engine placement.

What Most Search Engine Optimization “Experts” Won’t Tell You

I’ve talked to hundreds, if not thousands of clients about their websites, their visitors and the vital link between their websites’ traffic and increased profitability. During these discussions, I’ve been privy to many insider stories about past experiences with previously hired search engine optimization experts and I can only wish that I documented the feedback that I’ve received over the last dozen+ years, but I had no clue that these particular conversations would have been so surprising, so revealing and so frightening that I never thought to do so. Sure would have made for a spooky and spine-chilling Halloween story… but because it wouldn’t have been fiction, it would have bordered on the line of witnessing a real-life Horror and since I haven’t bought the “Halloween chills” binder on my liability insurance I’ll save that story for another day…

Instead today I aim to teach you a thing or two about search engine optimization, and about what search engine optimization experts especially don’t want you to know. I’ll empower you so that in turn you can help yourself to succeed. If you’ve got the time to learn and to execute, you will be able to take these steps to help increase your targeted traffic and of course your revenue as a result. You may not be able to do it as fast or as effectively as a search engine optimization expert that has years of experience, but at least it’ll start increasing your revenue so that you can start to realize the value of search engine optimization services and make the decision as to when you want to invest in an experts skillset and at the same time have a better understanding of what they will be delivering.

Why am I doing this? Why reveal what SEO experts won’t tell you? Because I can! Because I am 100% confident in my abilities and because I know that it takes years to gain the skills and experience that I have, and while you are perfectly capable of performing the steps that I’ll outline, you’ll invariably spend more time and lose significantly more money than you ever thought possible. I can hear you all now “But how can I be losing money if I’m not spending?” The answer is simple, you’re losing money because your competitors continue to grow and reap the rewards while you experiment and tweak your SEO efforts in an attempt to gain higher search engine ranking.

So then… now let’s get down to the details. Please note that my article will not cover the technical instructions, if you are unfamiliar with them, you should likely seek a professional because what could be a day or two of work, is more likely to exponentiate into a week or two of work and if done wrong could do more harm than good.

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization (commonly referred to as SEO) is the optimization of your website’s layout, content and connections to increase it’s ranking within search engines. Each one serves a specific purpose:


Most companies offer more than one product or service and target many different types of clients. In order to reap optimal rewards from SEO, it’s critical to market each product or service distinctly. It’s also critical to consider the motivations for purchase from each of your target demographics at the same time.


After carefully considering and determining your website’s optimal layout, it’s important to ensure that each page targets the most relevant keywords based upon what that demographic is likely to use when searching for your products or services.


Connections refers to how many websites link to you. These links must be one-way links (not reciprocal) and must be of moderate to high quality (or at the very least not a website known for being a link farm or a spam haven). Consider the networking world, it’s who you know, and the same applies to websites. If a high-traffic, reputable company links to your website, it increases your “value” to search engines just like when you’re at a networking event and are introduced to a colleague by someone that holds authority and respect in the community.

Where do I start?

While I could never teach you everything in one article, here’s a quick little exercise to get you thinking, to whet your appetite and to help you determine if you want to go through the motions and try to increase your own search engine rank, or if you’d rather hire someone else to do it. There are 4 steps to do. For this example, I’ll use a local farm:

Step 1: Identify supporting information

– What are my products/services?

o Days

§ Jumping pillows

§ Pumpkin patch hayride

§ Children’s discovery barn

§ Cedar mazes


o Nights

§ Haunted hayride

§ Barn of terror

§ Stalkers

§ Gathering of the Ghouls


– What are my target demographics and what are their main motivations?

o Teenagers/young adults

§ Thrills, fear, dates

o Children/parents*

§ Entertainment, group activities, shows, togetherness

o Weddings

§ Unique and memorable experience, unforgettable photos, romance of the country setting

o Corporate

§ Team building, showing appreciation, marketing

* To get children to sign up, you must captivate their interest but at the same time you also must convince the parents that it’s a good idea. Marketing to children is always a two-dimensional challenge; both the child and the parent must be considered.

Step 2: Plan layout

– Determine the association of products/services to their target demographics

– Determine if you will layout your website primarily based upon products/services or target demographics.

Step 3: Plan content

– Research most searched keywords (try using Google Analytics, it’ll take some learning but it’s worth it)

– Start optimizing your content (both visible and hidden)

o Review content and revise according to target(s) based upon researched keywords (Please note: this can be challenging because you will want to retain the appeal of your copy, but at the same time will want to reap the rewards of search engine optimized text. Take your time and tread carefully, rushing this can be disastrous to the marketing value of your copy).

o Ensure that “hidden” content is optimized based upon optimal search keywords (e.g. page titles, image “alts”, link “titles”, etc.)

o Ensure that your meta tags are optimized for users (the wording used in your META tags are typically used as the description in search results, more enticing text can easily triple or quadruple targeted traffic!)

o Determine if you want to separate your content by product/service or by target audience. Outline cross-sell opportunities and ensure that they are linked together

Step 4: Plan connections

– One of the most important aspects of your search result ranking is calculated based upon who (and how) websites link to yours in order to determine your rank in search engines. One-way (non reciprocal links) are important and ensuring that the keywords used within the links are chosen carefully to help increase your rank can go a long way. On the other hand, being linked to from websites that carry negative reputations can penalize you and possibly even blacklist you from search results. Don’t hire SEO “experts” that cannot provide testimonials that you can actually verify; if they use techniques not sanctioned by search engines they can do more harm than good! Mybest advice here is to take your time, write some quality articles (that include a link or two back to your site) and post it on relevant article websites; communicate and provide value to individuals in forums that are relevant to your industry, ensuring that your forum signature always links back to your website and add your company to industry listing sites that are geographically and/or industry relevant. If you only add 5-6 links a week you’ll quickly see this exercise alone resulting in your rank increasing methodologically and as your momentum picks up you’ll be unstoppable!

So, what’s the big secret that most search engine optimization “experts” don’t want me to know?

It’s all of the above. Once you know how truly complex and how much work there is to do when optimizing a website for higher ranks in search engines, you will realize that there’s no easy way to automate this as a service. Most SEO “experts” will simply target a few keywords based upon the content that’s already on your site, the layout of your site won’t be optimized and if they offer any of the services identified in the 4th step above, they’ll post to the same websites, directories and forums each and every time they offer the service to a client. They’ve automated it to optimize their profits while keeping your cost down, at the expense of providing you a search engine optimization service that may increase your traffic but not your profits because they are not targeting your demographics appropriately.

What’s the use of that you say? Well you’re no different than the hundreds or possibly thousands of clients who’ve said that to me already. High quality search engine optimization that delivers lasting results takes time, patience and ongoing dedication but if your customers cannot find you, or they find your competitor first – what is the true cost to your business? Only you can answer this, only you can change the future of your company, be proactive and do something about your search engine ranking today. Invest a bit of time each day, believe me, it’ll pay off in rewards that are faster compounding and more consistent than investing in stocks, real estate or any other asset in the world.


I hope that you find this article informative and useful. While I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg, my goal is to give you an overall understanding so that you can choose your next steps. If you choose to attempt your own search engine optimization, then I strongly recommend you check out Amazon (or your favorite online bookstore) and pick up a book or two that is highly rated and has been published within the last 6 months to ensure that the techniques taught are still current. Most of all, my goal is to ensure that you don’t do anything to hurt your search engine positioning by making a mistake in your efforts. So many important lessons apply here but the most important one is to take your time and do it right.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization From a Beginners Point of View

So it happened that we received a query from a new client who has been following our company for sometime and has been thinking of using our search engine optimization and marketing services. He became very keen after we redid the website completely and focused all our attention towards on-line marketing. He finally decided to contact us and enquire about our services. We talked on the phone and had discussed in essence most of the things when the client started to ask some very simple and basic questions. It turned out that the questions actually covered almost all aspects of SEO and the small sales pitch call turned into an on-call Wiki lecture. So after the call I gave it some thought and decided to put in this article together for those of our visitors who know what search engine optimization is but have a need to understand it. In this article I plan to put in the very basic aspects of search engine optimization and search engine marketing for our clients who would like to have a better understanding of what is being done to their websites when they hand over their websites to us. I will not be explaining the process but will be explaining the elementary basics of what is what and what SEO curtails.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website or a web page to increase its visibility or ranking on a search engines result page (also known as SERP’s). The visibility or ranking is increased in the search engines natural results or organic results, hence the term Organic SEO. This is usually the first and foremost step that an experienced SEO SEM company will recommend a client as part of its on-line marketing strategy. This part includes On-page and Off-page aspects of search engine optimization and are explained below. Search Engine Optimization or SEO follows how search engines work with actual search terms also known as keywords that are put into the search boxes and how the results are portrayed. Depending on a clients requirements SEO can be offered as a separate service or as a part of a complete on-line marketing strategy.

What is On Page Optimization?

On Page Optimization as the phrase suggests is the adjustment of the website or the webpage to optimize it in the best possible way to make it easily accessible by search engines for particular keywords or search terms without any hindrance and to remove any parameter that may prevent a search engine from ignoring that website or webpage. This is achieved by optimization of content, HTML and other coding as per the business related keywords of the website or webpage to be optimized so that search bots find it relevant to the search terms entered by a visitor. So no matter what you do, search engine optimization and on-line marketing strategy as a whole will not give you the desired results if your website or webpage are not correctly optimized as per the search engine guidelines. In all on-page optimization has to do everything related to your website directly.

What is Off Page Optimization?

Off page optimization is the exact opposite of on page optimization. This process is related to all the tasks done outside of your website and optimization of external aspects that effect the factors of how your website is found on the internet. This involves of placing your website information on external sources so that they make your website accessible from various locations on the internet. By placing your website on reliable and relevant resources on the internet your website gains popularity and makes it for search engines to easily relate to your website for relevant search terms and hence place you higher on search engine rankings There are several ways of putting your website on the internet:

Link Building
Directory Submission
Article Writing
Article Submission
Press Releases

The above are not all but some very important ways to place your website on the internet and need to be done with great care as they can make or break your websites popularity. Search engine algorithms are pretty smart these days to define if the resources displaying content is relevant to the search terms and if they are to give relevance in terms of search results.

What is SEM?

A very common misconception is that Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are the same things since a client has to pay for both of these services to an internet marketing company and if a company’s Sales Manager is not able to explain this in a clear manner it can be a deal breaker and the potential client may chose to go with another SEO SEM company. So to put it into simple words SEM is a process of promoting your website through paid aspects like advertising, AdWords, paid placements in results etc. To explain this in simple words we can compare SEO as advertising your website in the free section of the classifieds of a newspaper and SEM as advertising your website in the paid section of the same newspaper where your advertisement is highlighted and put on top of all other advertisements. An experienced Internet Marketing company balances SEO and SEM while planning your on-line marketing strategy to get the optimum results while keeping in mind your budgets, although if you have a very competitive business niche and if you are looking for faster results be ready to spend a major chunk of your SEO SEM budget on advertising/paid results.

As I had mentioned earlier that I will not be writing about the process but about the very basics if SEO SEM. Please feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section and of-course feel free to contact us at Felix Labs to get a free website analysis and a free quote for your website. Happy Reading!!!