Well Ladies and Gents, you are now in for a real treat. We've invited the brilliant Wayne Barker from the SEO Experts Hallam Communications to write a guest post for us. Attitude Design have been working with Hallam for years looking to them to consult and help our clients with their search engine optimisation. Wayne has written this post for us web designers to help us all get ahead in the wonderful and mysterious world of SEO. Enjoy:
Wayne's Top SEO Tips
For those of you in the web design and developer industry you are well aware of how competitive it is nowadays. Unless you only want to rank for location specific phrases (such as “web design +your home city” you may think there is no way you can compete with the big boys.
Working as an SEO I know this to be not strictly true – it may not be scalable that you will compete with in an instant, but with some hard work and patience (and the following tips) you can look at getting the SEO and backlink profile that will help you succeed. You will also find that some of these tips can be applied to your client’s sites as well.
- 1. Content is crucial - but you should never subscribe to the Kevin Costner theory of "If you build it they will come". Google loves great content and tells us so (every day – all the time), so don’t be afraid to add some great text to your site. Yes you are a designer by trade and you want to show of the great aesthetics of the design you create, but you need to think of the spiders as well – help them understand what each and every page of your site is about. Great content leads to natural links
- 2. Create niche content - Do you specialise in certain aspects of web design? Are your designs great for a certain demographic or sector. Don’t be afraid to separate your portfolio up into different sections. Have an ecommerce website design page, have a charity website design page. Group your portfolio together in sections and then use basic SEO to target that niche (title tags, Meta descriptions, headings, alt tags, bold italics). These pages can become landing pages for your new niche target markets – and a phrase like “charity website design” is a lot less competitive and more targeted than “web design” or “web designer”. As with any content if you make it compelling and/or beautiful it will create natural links.
- 3. Submit your site to galleries – I’m assuming here that you make great sites to look at, that is your job – and your site will be beautiful. Tell people about it, there are a thousand and one gallery sites out there. Not only will this give you further visibility on the web and help you reach new audience but a lot of these galleries will give you a nice dofollow link back to your site. Where should you go? Here are some, but you will be able to find hundreds more:
http://siteinspire.net/, http://www.thebestdesigns.com/, http://www.designbombs.com/, http://cssline.com/, http://www.makebetterwebsites.com/, http://www.thefwa.com/
- 4. Attach a blog to your site – If you don’t have a blog already you should read no further until you have! Not only will a blog allow you to add fresh content to your site regularly and bring new visitors to your site it is a great source of natural inbound links. Write on topic about anything you want – but make it compelling, or funny, or dangerous, or pretty, or....
- 5. Guest blogging – do you have a knack with words as well? Consider guest blogging on web design and developer blogs. A lot of these guys are one man bands and love to receive content from other authors; you won’t have trouble writing about design and development because hopefully you are passionate about it. Most sites will let you add a little bio at the end of the piece that will include a link or two back to your site. You have a win win situation on your hands here – you get the link back to your site from the blog ~(which is topically relevant), you are exposed to a new audience and you are engaging in social media (which goes a tiny little way to helping you rank).
- 6. Infographics – If you are a web designer creating infographics should be something that comes fairly easy to you and you should enjoy doing. Don’t forget as well as looking beautiful it must tell a coherent story. Try and stay within your niche (if you are lucky and it goes viral you want the links back form relevant sites). Host some on your site (on your blog – you do have a blog don’t you?), give some away to big sites and always make sure you submit them to social bookmarking sites.
- 7. Platform Galleries – Do you use just Wordpress? Go here: http://welovewp.com/ or http://wpcube.com/. Are you a joomla specialist? Go here: http://www.joomla-showcase.com/ or http://joomla.cmsdesigns.org/. I think you get the idea.
- 8. Theme Galleries – If you use a particular theme for your (or a clients site) submit to the hundreds of theme galleries that are knocking about. They may not have such a great page rank or as much traffic but every links counts for something!
- 9. Web design articles – If you have a little bit more content than you need for you blog don’t let it go stale. Give it away to one of the many article sites that specialise in web design and developer article – more exposure and often another link back to your site (because of the time involved in writing you should ensure that the site will give you a dofollow link back to your site on this one)
- 10. Press releases – every time you complete a new site write a press release, if you get a big contract send out a press release. Press release are great for two reasons; firstly a lot of them will give you dofollow links to your site and secondly there is always the chance that they will show up on the first page of Google in the News section of the Universal search (even more exposure). Make sure keywords that you target are in the title of the press release and that the body copy is well optimised and cross your fingers.
All the tips I suggest are relatively easy to achieve but it requires patience to succeed. You need to just keep chipping away and success will come.
Wayne Barker works for Hallam who offer SEO and Internet Marketing to clients across the UK from their base in Nottingham.