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A Search Engine Optimization White Paper

Before I was made the Vice President of Client Services for our company I served as the Senior Web Consultant. That was no accident; begin part of the “boomer” generation makes me pretty senior. I have also been in the internet business from the beginning and have developed some pretty strong opinions along the way. Here is a white paper I prepared for the Clients of Web Teks around the beginning of 2008. While a lot of it reads like a commercial, it is based on some lessons learned along the way. It is my hope you will gain a better perspective on Search Engine Marketing by engaging this White Paper.

Search Engine Optimization
A White Paper for Design Clients
By Tom Anthony, Senior Web Consultant, Web Teks

From Wikipedia,

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it “ranks”, the more searchers will visit that site. SEO can also target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry–specific vertical search engines.

Many books are devoted to this single topic. A range of software programs from free downloads to Enterprise Level packages priced in the tens of thousands of dollars are available to monitor various aspects of the optimization process. Obviously on many levels SEO is far too big a topic to discuss in a non–technical white paper such as this one. The goal of this white paper is to give the uninitiated at least a starting point of reference.

Our company offers multiple levels of Search Engine Optimization Service. Basic Search Engine Design is incorporated as a fundamental component of all design projects, including yours.

As part of our Standard Procedures our company will ask you to consider and provide three components known as “Meta elements” for each page of your web site. They are Page Title, Key Word Phrases, and Description.

These Meta elements are inserted into the HTML document, but are often not directly visible to a user visiting the site. They provide information about a given webpage to help search engines categorize them correctly.

While Meta elements have significantly less effect on search engine results pages today than they did in the early days of the World Wide Web, the inclusion of such information is widely accepted as a “best practice”. The reason Meta elements, especially key words, have less of an impact on search engine rankings as they once did is simple. The search engines have become smarter over time.

Thus other considerations should be made in determining what content appears in any particular web page. In a nutshell if the text on any given page adds detail to, and most importantly is RELEVANT to the behind-the-scenes Meta elements such as Title and keywords, the search engine will rank the page higher. It has everything to do with a consistency of relevance.

Basic Search Engine Design

Our company will ensure the following basic SEO items are either considered or implemented on your website. Implementation of specific elements will depend on the scope of the project (i.e., number of pages to be optimized) and the current architecture employed.

  • Your website should have a clear page hierarchy and text links. Every page will be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • Our company will work with your content provider to create a useful, information-rich site with pages and copy that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Our company will work with your content provider to develop a list of words users would type to find your pages, and further ensure that your site actually includes those words within it.
  • We will encourage the use of text instead of images to display important names, content or links. The Google crawler does not recognize text contained in images.
  • We will check for broken links and correct HTML.
  • We will encourage you to limit the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).
  • We will work with your content provider to create and implement the minimum required Meta tags throughout your site. (This does not include custom page by page tags as outlined in the Advanced Search Engine Optimization)

Advanced Search Engine Optimization

Our Advanced Search Engine Optimization service builds on the basic steps outlined above. These strategies are much more complex and often require ongoing maintenance to ensure the best opportunity for continued success. Our Advanced Search Engine Optimization plan includes the following steps:

  • Our company will ask the following three questions:
    • How are people searching for your products and/or services?
    • Which sites are winning for those searches, and why?
    • Which searches can we win?

  • We will create both text and XML sitemaps of your website. Text site maps larger than 100 links will be broken into separate pages.
  • We will submit your XML sitemaps to Google and request indexing. Our company will monitor this submission and adjust as necessary until all pages have been indexed.
  • Defined pages on your site will be updated with a unique title tag, Meta keywords tag, and Meta description tag. In addition, all other relevant Meta tags will be applied but are not required to be unique for each page. These additional tags define the type of site and content and may be carried over throughout the entire site.
  • We will convert dynamic URL’s to Search Engine Friendly URL’s to aid in search engine indexing. This includes removing “&id=” as a parameter since Google specifically does not allow any URL containing this text to be indexed.
  • We will analyze your entire site using Lynx to “view” your site as a search engine spider would. This may result in recommendations to remove certain features that are minimizing the spider’s ability to crawl your site. These features include items such as JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML or Flash.
  • We will implement the necessary programming to both allow and encourage search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site. These techniques are useful for tracking individual user behavior, but the access pattern of bots is entirely different. Using these techniques may result in incomplete indexing of your site, as bots may not be able to eliminate URLs that look different but actually point to the same page.
  • We will create and implement a robots.txt file on your web server. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled.
  • If your site utilizes a content management system (CMS), modifications will be made if necessary to allow the system to export content thus allowing search engine spiders to properly crawl the site.

Advanced Search Engine Optimization – Monthly Maintenance

Ongoing review of each of the above items is paramount to ensure the highest probability for ongoing search engine success. As part of our monthly support program, we will provide the following services:

  • Monthly update of all site maps.
  • Monthly submission of the current XML sitemap to Google with ongoing index monitoring.
  • Monthly update of the robot.txt file as necessary.
  • Detailed review of new elements added to the site by Our company with appropriate optimization techniques recommended.
  • Monthly URL submission to Google and other relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.
  • Detailed report of specific page index statistics and rankings.


I encourage you to join the dialog by offering questions or comments.

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