For anyone who hasn’t yet come to grips with even the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a slightly scary thought: A recent report estimates that 49% of internet users use a search engine on a typical day, up from a third in 2002.
Despite this massive growth in search engine useage, many freelancers, and even design agencies that are building websites have limited awareness of how search engines actually work. When browsing websites of Indian companies, I am constantly amazed at websites that are actually negatively-engineered for SEO. A new company in a competitive industry with an all-flash website? Pages with headings and keywords imbedded into images? There is nothing to search for. How useful is a beautiful website that no one can find unless they remember the exact company name?
Even if the designer does understand SEO, it is easy to place it in the too-hard basket. If the client doesn’t know to ask about SEO then it is a far easier task to design a pretty website and hand it over. Initially the client will be happy, until they realize that they don’t show up in search rankings and someone points out that they have to redesign their website.
Even if you aren’t actively working on a website, you still owe it to yourself to understand how SEO works. When you search for something in google, the pages that appear are not necessarily the best possible results, or the most up-to-date information. Often, they are simply the websites who have best mastered SEO techniques.
By knowing what to look for, you will better appreciate whether a search result is appearing because of its respected content, or because of SEO manipulation.
Here are a couple of resources to get you started: