This is Part 2 of the post “Beyond PSD to HTML Conversion – Simple SEO for Web Designers.” In this part we continue to consider the typical SEO problems of web designers’ sites and give some tips on how to avoid them in the light of SEO trends 2011.
2. Following Famous Designers
“The best designers don’t promote their websites, so neither do I.” OK, it may be true. But what is permitted to the famous web design sites is not permitted to young ones.
This truth is well known in show business. Actors and singers are good aware that at the beginning of their career they have to work hard for their image but then the image will work for them. For example, it is reported that Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles, visited London shops and bought about 10 thousand copies of the Beatles’ first single in order to attract additional attention to it. Of course, when The Beatles became a world-known group there was no need to resort to such “marketing” methods.
The same takes place on the Web – if your site name is “Smith101″ it needs some help to be visible and noticeable, but when your website is Facebook, you can omit some steps in the promotion.
Nevertheless, often websites and blogs written by outstanding designers are utterly useful to explore. The point is that the seasoned designers do some things automatically and simply don’t consider them as SEO or promotion actions. So next time, when reading your favorite blogs, analyze them from the SEO viewpoint too:
- Post URLs – are they like
titleand meta description tags are built
- How a headline is organized – its length, keywords presence and density, where keywords are placed (at the beginning or not)
- How posts are formatted – subheading, lists, illustrations, utilization of
<h1-4>and other semantic tags, as well as text written in bold or italic
- How long posts are (the number of words)
- The post language – a lot of jargon or a reasonable number of relevant technical terms and keywords
- Whether they link to other their posts; it is done from words inside the main text or only from the section “Related posts”
- How they build their links – from words like
click hereor from
some keyworded text
- Whether an author strives to stimulate a discussion or not (posts with relevant comments are valued higher)
and so forth. Such an analysis may be very inspiring and informative.
One more thing to learn from gurus is link building. Some people perceive these words as a synonym for spam but it is not true. The search engines turn to the web “public opinion” when evaluating web pages. One of the main quantitative measures here is a number of inbound links, especially from the trusted resources. If a lot of other websites are linked to your page then likely it is interesting to people, so it deserves to be ranked high – agree, it is quite a natural algorithm.
On the famous web design blogs link building is performed through two main channels:
- Direct links due to mentioning in roundups, other blog posts, blogrolls, etc. and
- Indirectly – through social networks and design communities.
“Indirectly” means that links in such social networks as Twitter or Facebook are nofollowed – they have the attribute
rel="nofollow" which informs the search engines that this link should not to be taken into account (in fact, such links are accounted but with much less weight). Nevertheless, these links are quite useful. SEO experts have pointed out that in 2011 the signals from social networks have been playing an increasingly growing role in a website ranking. Another benefit of being active on social media is attraction of prospects’ and community attention to your content and website.
The popular web design blogs have a lot of fans and followers who instantly spread news about new posts all around the Web. During one or two hours the number of retweets may come to thousands. Such fans are one of the main assets of a blog because they do a lot of promotion work and increase the website perceived value to users (the latter is one more very important ranking factor according to the SEO trends 2011).
So, the takeaway here is:
- Build your website image. And one day the image will work for you.
- Write interesting and useful content (it sounds trite but it is still true). Encourage discussion.
- Use social networks, design communities, portfolio and design project websites (Dribbble, Lovedsgn, Forrst, Sortfolio, just to name a few), as well as main local business and design directories to spread the word about your website.
- Make fans, friends, and followers who can promote and support your content and link to it.
3. Too High Expectations or Wrong Goals
Website promotion requires efforts, time and money. Often you need as much those resources as your ranking competitors have spent plus a bit more to overrank them. Also, take into account that some of your rivals may use “grey” SEO (see, for example, the article “How Shady Web Design Sites Get High Search Engine Results” by Mathew Carpenter) and SMO (for example, buying “followers”, “Likes”, retweets and so forth) methods.
Therefore it is very important to set right goals (e.g., keywords which you not only want to rank high for but also can reach) and expectations (time milestones and planned results vs. available resources). For example, the keywords
"web design" are competitive and require a lot of resources to get rank 1-3, but
"logo design Brookline" may be much more achievable.
Website promotion and SEO is like bicycling: your place in the race strongly depends on your efforts. If you stop treadling, you’ll stop moving forward and other websites will outrun you. If you have a supportive team who helps you to win, you are much more stronger. And if you do it regularly and persistently, you eventually start enjoying the process and results.