Web Design & Local SEO for Small Businesses

SEO – A Personal Observation

18months ago the idea of SEO (Search engine optimisation) was something I didn’t have a clue about. I’d seen it mentioned on some sites but to me it was something that techie geeks did and Google just found sites and put them up randomly. Little did I know.

I’ve been designing web sites on and off for 10yrs, but did them purely for either personal use or small groups of people like cricket clubs to use, not needing to be found by many people so it wasn’t something I needed to know about anyway. I had two main sites I had designed and was maintaining for their owners, one for a hypnotherapist and one for a local youth theatre group. I was happy with their design, but I wanted to be able to prove to others how good they were. So I braved the techie world and started to read about SEO. I found some blogs, and articles, then my first purchase of Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day. It arrived and even then I was thinking OMG. No wonder there are so many companies out there offering to do this for you. But the I started reading the book, reading more and more blogs. Fiddling round with the sites a bit to try out new things. Gradually things started moving. I realised that I was working on sites wanting viewers from a relatively small catchment areas, but I saw both sites on the first page of Google for the chosen main keyword for each of them, so I and the site owners were happy. I then took the skills I practiced on these two sites and use them on the sites I design

I’ve even now joined some forums where I am confident enough to offer my opinion on what can be done. And here are some things that I have learnt about SEO.

  1. Only the people who work for the the big search engines know how they work, everyone else is just guessing.
  2. Everyone has found that different things work, so think that their way is right.
  3. SEO is not something that will give instant results, the search engines have a lot of pages and sites to check through, so it can take awhile for them to check if you changed the title on your page, or a keyword.
  4. There is an phenomenal number of free directories that allow you to submit your website to get a backlink. I would love to know if “normal” people ever use these to find businesses, or is it just people advertising their sites???
  5. It’s easier to optimise sites with more text. But make sure it’s relevant to what the page is about. Don’t just add it for the sake of it, use your keywords and keep it all focused.
  6. Anyone can do it! The only difference between you and the person who phoned to offer SEO services, they’ve done it before so it’ll be quicker and smoother for them, however if you’re starting out and are on a budget, why not do your own SEO. Read around the topic there’s plenty of info out there, find out about different things you can do, to improve what Google thinks of your site, article writing, forum and blog contribution, link building etc.

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