SEO Checklist – Marketing: A Designer’s Nightmare

Lately one of my biggest challenges have been to optimize my site. I am one to learn something if I don’t know it, but I have been struggling deciding if I should hire someone to do the SEO/SEM for my site, while making sure that what I do is organic. I browsed the web to find different ways to help optimize my site and found some good really tips, but of course coming from a designer’s standpoint, it’s difficult to switch over to from a creative mind to a strictly business and strategic standpoint given my background.

By using tools such as Website Grader, Google Keyword Tool and Smashing Magazine, I have been able to find out certain missing elements that even the most “un-tech” designer can follow.

The Basics (Quick and Dirty)

Website Title

A website title is usually the first thing you are able to come together, but how often do you actually think about what it’ll look like to your visitors. Having something like “Thanks For Stopping By” won’t be effective. It’s more optimized to have “REAL NAME – YOUR TITLE from YOUR CITY, STATE: SLOGAN”. It’s easy for your audience to remember, and definitely helpful with your search.

Meta Tags/Keyword

Do you know how to access this? Hopefully you do. Each page on your website has a section in the HTML for Meta Keywords that help your site get noticed. Overloading these keywords with more than 7-10 keywords can actually damage your site with Google’s bots. A good description on how to develop this is located here.

Meta Description

When you search for sites in Google, the first thing you see is the Title, and the Meta Description. Forgetting this in your HTML will cause Google to take the first 25 or so words and make it the description. Carefully planning out your description, can help a user click your link.

Include the keywords in your text –

When you include the keywords from your meta keyword in your page, it helps you rank higher. Be careful not to try trick the search engine because this can result in a penalty. This is an example of Black Hat SEO . You don’t want to do that, it’s not a good look.

List alt tags accordingly

All the images on your site should  have alt tags. Not having this can penalize your site. A good article on this can be found here.

Of course I’m still learning, but it’s good to do these basics on ALL PAGES so that you can be more visible in search engines to your audience and your potential clients.

Now on to a little more dedicated work. Social SEO. This is the type of SEO in which you are spend time reaching out to your potential audience. In doing this, you are able to gain new contacts, respect and potential referrers.


Social SEO

Share your expertise by answering questions –

No one knows your business like you. You want people to know your knowledge, and by giving back. Sites like Quora allow to help answer questions of people who want to know answers in your area of expertise. (It also allows a better platform as well for you to receive expert answers to questions too.) You can also answer questions on Facebook, LinkedIn and other networking sites and forums.

Try to establish REPUTIBLE backlinks –

I wouldn’t use backlink services because a lot of the websites they choose for your backlinks aren’t really valuable at the end of the day. It also won’t help because Google can also tell when it’s junk or when it’s actually a reputable link. You can do this the right way by submitting comments on forums, submitting other content (whether freebies or files for other sites), or by writing articles for well known sites in the designer circle such as Envato Tuts Network.

Submit to social networking sites such as: digg, reddit, delicious, and Stumbleupon

If you submit to sites like this it allows for more exposure. People will see your site, share your site, and if you have good content, your site will be ranked high by your peers.

Hopefully this list helps! Please be sure to share your optimization tips and tools you may have that I may have missed.

(SEO Tools: help:

BONUS: An organic way to market your site is get your logo printed on some inexpensive promotional products that can help get your company name out there. People love free stuff, and if you are able to have promotional product giveaways to give to your audience, then you not only have people remembering your brand, but also talking about your product.


Comments (1)
  • Marie

    June 16, 2011

    Great tips! Another tool that could help improve your site’s SEO is Google’s Webmaster Tools. This post is awesome, keep them coming!

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