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Home » SEO, Web Design

What is SEO and Why Should I Care?

Submitted by on February 18, 2011 – 4:28 pm5 Comments

I often get clients who want a website built and when I start talking to them about SEO, they glaze over. They just want a website. And from it, more business.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and simply put, it’s what gets your website found on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like. If you want your customers to find you online, you need it.

SEO is part art, part science. Search engines are continuously cataloging the internet. Each has its own unique algorithm that places emphasis on different parts of your website to best serve up what their users are looking for. Knowing what’s important to search engines, what’s important to your potential clients and the language to express it is key to good SEO.

Building in SEO

There are many elements that go into creating good SEO. This is by no means a complete list, but the basics include:

  • Your URL
  • Site title
  • Page title
  • Headings, used in descending order
  • Links in and out
  • Image titles, descriptions and alternate text
  • Size of your website
  • Unique content
  • Content freshness
  • Keywords and meta data

Some of your SEO is buried in your code, but most of it is visible to the viewer. When creating good SEO you need to think like your potential customer.

For example, if your company is called Persnickety Painters and someone keys Persnickety Painters into Google, your website is going to come up on top. But what if someone who’s never heard of you wants to find a top quality painter in San Francisco, CA? They’re going to key in ‘house painter in San Francisco, CA’ or some such phrase. Your job is to anticipate what your customer is going to key in, and have a page ready that meets their search requirements.

That means your site title might be San Francisco’s Top Quality House Painter: Persnickety Painters. And your home page might include a testimony by a client stating that Persnickety Painters offered the best quality house painting for the price on their home in San Francisco.

Next, as the owner of Persnickety Painters, you would create a Facebook page and a Twitter account for the business with links to that page.

To keep content fresh, you’d include a blog and post regularly about the latest homes you painted in San Francisco, CA.

And so on…

Choosing the right language and expressing it throughout your site is key to creating good SEO. It’s what brings you new business. And isn’t that what every business owner wants?


Need SEO help? Shimmin Design offers basic SEO with your website design and partners with SEO experts when in-depth SEO is required.

Written by Melissa Shimmin
Melissa Shim­min is an award-winning designer who has been help­ing com­pa­nies both big and small cre­ate, evolve and strengthen their iden­ti­ties, brand­ing and mar­ket­ing col­lat­eral for more than 15 years. And yet, Melissa is more than just a designer: she takes a big pic­ture per­spec­tive, com­bin­ing marketing strat­egy and copy­writ­ing with design to cre­ate stronger, more impact­ful brand­ing and iden­tity for the com­pa­nies she part­ners with. Check out her work at Shimmin Design.

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