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search engine optimization

It's not enough to create your site and host it...

You've designed the perfect website, but unless you know how to market your site using the search engines and other online resources, no one's ever going to find it. It's like building your home but not telling anyone your address, then throwing a party and wondering why no one comes to visit.

We Specialize in SEO Web Design

We have been in the Asheville web design business since 1997, and we knew from the start that search engine optimization was going to be important. So it has proven to be. But unlike those early days, getting found in search engines is no longer such an easy task. What we often find, however, is that the sites designed by many firms, at least those local to us, are often not designed with SEO in mind even when the designers claim that they are. We have had the opportunity to work on a number of such sites, and all too often it becomes a major issue to do what needs to be done in order to make a site truly "search engine friendly."

You must "market" your website

Marketing your site is one of the most important things you do after its initial completion. Traditional advertising methods don't work on the Internet. Putting your URL in your ad in the newspaper or the yellow pages of your phone directory will get a few visitors, but what about all the people out there who are looking for your kind of business on the Internet? More than half of all customers use a search engine to find you.

You don't just want lots of traffic, which is all that many companies will sell you when they charge you to increase traffic to your website. You want targeted traffic. What's the difference? Targeted traffic is composed of users who are looking for what you have to offer. They are already pre-qualified. You also want to connect with users who are using keyphrases that gets lots of traffic, but these same keyphrases have been largely overlooked by your competitors. We research those keyphrases for you, helping you to find the users who are looking for your products and services.

Registering your site with search engines is only the beginning....

Unless your site is registered with search engines and shows up within the first 3 pages on a search engine, chances are excellent that prospective customers aren't going to find you. You'll find that designing your home page  takes a lot longer than designing any other page on your site for this very reason—this is the key page to optimize for search engine submission, and you want it to show up as high up in the listings as you can get it. It's preferable to optimize every page in your website, even your contact page,

What does "search engine optimization" mean?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a process by which a webpage increases visibility (shows up higher in search engine searches) in Internet search engines. "Natural" or "organic" search engine results refer to the free results offered by search engines.

Our goal is to improve the organic results for your website. We get to know about your business first--your products, services, goals, etc.--and then research a keyword list.  The keyword (or keyphrase) list must come first, as all the other search engine marketing tools and processes we use revolve around it. Your input is necessary for this research, but once it is complete the rest of the optimization process falls into place.

We work with you to make sure your pages are technically correct, or "validate", as this requirement is stated in many search engine guidelines, including Google which is the most-used search engine by far, and then optimize each page for a set list of keyphrases, drawn from the master list, that works with that page. Piece by piece, we make sure all the elements on each page we optimize are working together for best results. And this effort pays off in increased TARGETED traffic for you, normally bringing increased sales and orders.

How long will it take till my site shows up in the search engines?

Did you know it can take as long as 9 months to get your site to show up in Google if you don't pay for adwords or some other search engine's pay-per-click advertising? This is known as the "Google Sandbox" on that particular search engine, and it can really hurt a fledgling Internet business. This is why we work with you to build alternate ways to get your site showing up in search engines faster and start building the traffic and links that will help you to achieve better rankings in Google and other major search engines.

In general , some search engines will list your site in as little as 2-3 days, but some of the biggest search engines take upwards of 3 months until a new domain begins to show up in them. With good marketing techniques, however, you can get your site to show up a lot sooner, and that's our aim.

What do you do in the meantime?

If we've designed your site we've made suggestions about optimizing it for search engine placement, and we include search engine optimization for the home page as part of the design package. However, search engines are always changing, and this means your web pages also need to change periodically to remain optimized for search engines. Once a website has been submitted to the major search engines you really don't need to resubmit it, but you do need to keep making changes to it, even minor changes, so that search engines see your site as an active and evolving website. This is the first part of what helps your page ranking to increase or continue to maintain ranking.

Ideally, you should optimize every page on your site. You should re-optimize your pages from time to time to help keep them fresh, adding new content if necessary, in order to continue to maintain your site's ranking and increase it. If your web site starts to slip down in the search engines, you'll definitely want to review your pages and re-optimize them, preferably adding some fresh content. This also has the added benefit of giving users more reasons to visit to your site. The more users who visit your site and link to it, the better your ranking will be.

Get your site up and running....

It is important to note that your website must be up and running before you submit it to the search engines or the search engines might find a "page not found" reference when they attempt to "spider" your site, which automatically takes you out of their database.

Give search engines something to search

With search engines these days content is "king"--the more quality content you have on your site, the better. Quality is the operative word. Having a lot of repetitive content is not going to do much for you, any more than it will do much for your visitors.

Build up incoming links to your site

Another key factor with search engines is "backlinks", i.e., those links on other sites  that are pointing TO your site, not those that are on your site pointing to other sites. You will want to build quality backlinks and continue to build them over time.

If we have designed or redesigned your site, we will submit your site to the 3 major search engines--Google, Yahoo and Bing (formerly MSN)--for FREE following the initial completion of your site. Three months later we will review your site with you to see how it's doing in the search engines, and make any needed changes at that time to help improve your rankings. If you wish to continue to review and improve the search engine optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for your site, we can assist you in this process. We offer maintenance packages for continuing optimization, as required.

What about exchange links?

Exchanging links with other sites can be used to help improve your search engine ranking, but exchange links do not carry much benefit other than as additional vectors by which users find your site. Nonetheless, every quality link to your site will help you one way or another. Affiliate programs and the links they create to and from your site may no longer help your ranking--Links from affiliate sites have been downgraded substantially and can even hurt you. This may change--search engines are always evolving, trying to find the best way to provide pertinent links to your searches--so it's important to keep an eye on your site and where it's showing up for your chosen keyword phrases.

How important are keywords and other meta tags?

In general search engines give no weight to the meta tags of keywords and description, and have not done so for a long time. However... and this is very important... these meta tags help increase a webpage's Keyword Density, and add those keywords close to the top of the web page, and this helps you.

The exercise of researching keywords and finding key phrases that will help promote your site is a good one since it helps you to find the phrases that users are actually using to search as well as eliminate those that are not working for you. Plus there are still search engines that will not list you unless these meta tags are present. Meta tags also have the effect of raising keyword frequency in a web page, and that can work to your advantage.

What IS important for search engines?

The most important items on your web page are page title (you can see it in the bar at the very top of your browser screen) and the actual written content of your page that is viewable to your visitors. These need to have value for the user and be written in a human-friendly manner, not stuffed with key phrases for search engines. The important thing to remember is that your site is ultimately for your users, not just for search engines. Give enough value on your site with the articles and information that you offer, and you're going to have others sites want to link to yours. This will help your site to do well in search engines as long as you take the time to figure out who your users are, and narrow down the niche of users you are really trying to reach.

We will work with you on this and many other issues that will help to get your site listed higher in the search engines when we design, redesign, or simply work with you on the SEO and SEM for your site.

Call us at 828.891.2563 and ask how we can help you improve your site's visibility!