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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Improvements

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Improving Way Cool Web Design's SEO

This post concerns a little experiment on my search engine optimization efforts. I've had good success with my client efforts and what few pages I had on the old version of this site. But now it's time to kick it into gear and see what I can pull off for myself in this new version of the Way Cool Web Design site, launched @ beginning of March 2009.

I suppose I should just list some rankings, try to improve my SEO and then see if it helped. Not very scientific but gosh darn it, it works for me! I do best with my CSS articles but I'd like to improve in regional phrases. As of March 12, 2009:

  • Alexa rank: 1,263,949
  • Google: "cool web design" #5 (I can't see doing better than this and i could easily do worse since it is based on my old site!)
  • Google: "web design" (not in top 50, this is a tough one!)
  • Google: "maryland web design" (not in top 50, i should be able to get in top 50 for this)
  • Google: "frederick web design" (not in top 50, i should be able to get in top 50 for this)
  • Google: "sticky footer" #8 (i don't know that i'm concerned about doing better than this. the traffic is nice but not quality)
  • Google: "css sticky footer" #3 (i don't know that i'm concerned about doing better than this. the traffic is nice but not quality)
  • Google: "cool band logo" #2 (not concerned about improving.)
  • Google: "web design techniques" #3 (i have a bad feeling this one's going to slip...)

Ok, let's give it some time and effort and I will update this page with progress, or regress as the case may be. Isn't this exciting?

SEO Update: March 16, 2009

OK so i noticed some changes since this was posted a few days ago:

  • Alexa traffic rank is 1,166,219 -- up 100,000 in a few days.
  • I went from not appearing at all, up to #7 in Google for "frederick web design". Huge jump! I don't actually have a page targeted to this phrase yet so I think I can improve this.
  • I did move up one notch to #7 for "sticky footer" but I didn't do anything to try to affect this...
  • I should add Thurmont into the mix since it is the town where Way Cool Web Design exists.
  • As I was concerned about, "web design techniques" fell like a stone to #15. Since I'm my own client, this is fine for me for now since it's not a very helpful phrase. If I want to go after it again I can probably get this up again. But I don't like losing. We'll see if it gets under my skin! :)

On with the original post...

SEO Update: March 27, 2009

  • "frederick web design" is up to #6.
  • Not sure why I'm not top 50 for "maryland web design". Suppose I'll have to take a closer look at it. I did sign up for Google's "local" listings and it said it could be 4-6 weeks before i began showing there but that shouldn't stop us from appearing organically.
  • "thurmont web design" is perplexing as well. That phrase should be fairly easy to get. Am wondering if maybe I haven't been crawled lately...

SEO Update: May 8, 2009

  • "maryland web design" is #41 now
  • "thurmont web design" is #2 now
  • Alexa rank is 1,094,320, improved by @70,000

OK, so after these improvements as of May 8, 2009, I guess I should share the best part of all this with you: how did I do it? It's pretty simple, really. Well, it's simple in that what you need to do is straight-forward. The not-so-simple part is that you really can't control the outcome, so taking these simple steps may still not help your site.

In any case, here's all I had to do to improve my ranking:

  • Create a page based on the phrase I wanted. Example: "maryland web design"
  • Use the phrase occasionally on that page, including in some <h2> headings
  • Do some research on related phrases and use those phrases on the page as well. Example: "maryland web site design"

It may have helped that I entered my site into Google's local business finder program. And with phrases like "thurmont web design" I really didn't have to do much of anything since that phrase is not high traffic.

I believe the way my site is coded has an impact as well. I use HTML tags appropriately with key phrases in heading tags. If you "view source" on this web site you will also see that my main heading (the <h1> tag) and content are very close to the top of the page. Even though the logo, phone, search and navigation are near the top of the page visually, from a coding perspective they are at the bottom. This means less distraction for a search engine to find the "real" content of my page.

You see, there's no magic. Just a little research and creating content. It certainly helps I have a highly respected incoming link due to my CSSZenGarden design, and that my blog articles are linked to and show up well in the engines. All of those things help any page on this domain become "more respected" in the eyes of a Search Engine because my domain overall has a "higher respect value" than if I did not have those incoming links.

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