One aspect of webdesign I’m often asked for is Search Engine Optimization. I don’t do SEO as a standalone project, but I can build your website with SEO in mind and modify your site without compromising searchability. So, this page is more an explanation of what it is and how far along your site will be when I’m finished. SEO, I’ve found, is one of the most misunderstood aspects of web-building. Here’s a brief explanation:

 The first thing you should realize about SEO is that it does not tell Google how high to place your website for certain seach terms. Instead, SEO is simply making sure that Google can tell exactly what you website is all about.

For example, if you had a webpage dedicated to fairy-tales, and it was just plain text with no regard to SEO, then it would be a lot of text full of cottages, knights, dragons, horses, and magic. Now imagine trying to take individual words out of that and, without context, decide whether it should be relevant to searches about on how to build a cottage, or taking care of horses, or so on.

That’s Google’s problem with websites without SEO. In those cases, your website will show up low on Google just so they can avoid the embarrassment of giving such a wrong result. Search Engine Optimization is where you put the words “Fairy Tales” in all the right places so Google can tell exactly what your page is about. Ergo, if “Fairy Tales” is in your header, title, and address, and you have a first paragraph where the words “Fairy Tale” shows up a few times, Google can confidently display your website to any who search for it.

That’s what SEO is, just telling Google what it’s looking at. And, that’s the sort of solution I can provide. On the other hand, let me explain what I can’t help with. I’ve seen clients asking to be put first on a Google search result. This brings me to what SEO isn’t.

 SEO isn’t trying to tell Google how high on the search results it should be. That’s really up to Google. There are ways to show up higher by being more popular, but that’s marketing, not SEO. You see, SEO means Google can display your webpage for the relevant searches. However, Google wants more than that; they want to display the most popular results. It determines that by how many links back to your page there are. See, the way Google works is they start from websites they already have indexed, and they crawl all of the links on those sites, branching out to more and more websites. If it stumbles across a whole bunch of links from legitimate sources to your page, they make the assumption that your page is popular, and thus should show up higher.

 It boils down to this: Everything you do to make your website get more views from people will also make Google show it higher.

So, links from directories, public social media, partnering with similar sites, etc.

In short: I can improve your SEO only insofar as I can edit your content to be easily read by Google.

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