Search Engine Optimization has traditionally received very little focus during the web design process.  Most web designers say they know SEO, but very few are capable of actually building a fully optimized site.  Sites are built and a few months later the site owner is wringing their hands trying to understand why they have no traffic.  The optimization process is actually not very difficult and if addressed during the design phase can save significant time and money.

Andy LoCascioStep 1: Know your audience!  –  Every website should be designed with a specific audience in mind.  Once you have identified the audience, you need to know how they use search engines, specifically what keyword phrases they enter.   Many designers and most SEO specialists have access to this data and can not only get daily traffic for the obvious keyword phrases, but can also find other phrases with traffic. 

Step 2: Know your competition!  –  Once you have identified a group of relevant keyword phrases that actually have traffic, you need to determine how much competition already exists for those phrases.  It makes no sense to target keyword phrases that have 10 or more sites aggressively competing for the traffic (unless you are perfectly happy with page 2 of the search results, and if that is the case, stop reading this article now!).   The task of determining how tough the competition really is, may be best left in the hands of a search engine optimization specialist who will look at factors such as keyword phrase density, inbound partner link quantity and quality, and other off-page factors. 

Step 3: Strategy for Success! – Once you have elminated phrases with no traffic, poor relevance, and/or stiff competition it is time to come up with  an SEO strategy that fits your budget.  The first step is to make sure your web designer and/or developer properly optimizes your pages for your selected terms.  Next you need to plan a partner linking campaign with specific goals for acquiring inbound partner links and exchanging links with other websites.

Don’t Lose the Faith – You may not be able to do all of these things yourself without doing a bit of research first.  The effort needed to learn how to execute the steps outlined above will certainly provide dividends in terms of a better optimized web site targeting attractive keyword phrases.  Many designers and business owners do not have the time of desire to this process and select an SEO specialist to provide a detailed keyword analysis before building a website.