Search Engine Optimization For Designers

(Search Engine Land)

Search Engine Optimization
This is search engine optimization (SEO) in a nutshell. Below are several links to learn more about the process and tips to get your website more traffic. 

Understanding search engines:
Both Google and Yahoo fall into the category of crawler-based search engines and have its own program called a web crawler or spiders that searches the web. The web crawler collects data and content from web pages and follows the links. The web crawler then deposits all the collected information into the search engine’s database called the index.

Why should a designer care about SEO:
As a designer you are both an artist and salesperson. You first have to get noticed then sell yourself to the client and then sell the client. As a designer your job is all visual, so people need to see your stuff. Not only to let potential clients/employer see your work but also use it for networking to find other designers. It is important to control where and how much of you is out there. Look at the Internet as free advertisement space and use it to your benefit. 

Question your SEO:
Google yourself. Look under search, images and news tabs.
Do you appear first or does someone else with the same name?
Does your website show up first?
Take note of what shows up and what doesn’t. Most cases you have full control of what shows up. Here are some tricks to get the most traffic.

Get yourself out there:
- Have your own website - There are many portfolio templates, that with minimal knowledge of HTML you can set one up. Average cost of a basic website is around $30 year. - A free portfolio website to upload and showcase your work. This website shows up high in searches. - Create a blog. Blogger is part of Google so it is easy maintain and connects to your email. Since blogger is integrated into Google, SEO is a lot easier because they want to showcase their own products. - Another place to create a blog, or even a full website. - Not only can you promote your work with tweets, others can retweet and favorite. - A free portfolio website to upload and showcase your work. - The professional Facebook. You can connect to your colleagues and stay in touch through there. 

Social SEO:
Submit your blog and website to social/community websites to get more traffic.

Maximize your sites SEO:
-Use target keywords. The more specific the keywords the more likely you will show up higher in a search. 
-Fresh content on website. New unique content gets searched frequently by the web crawlers.
-Focus on search phrases, not single words, This helps get found in local searches. Instead of “nail salon” try “Michigan nail salon”

SEO Dont’s:
-Image Text - Although it is easier as a designer to create an image and slice it and code it that way, it makes your website less SEO friendly. Since search engines are text-based browsers they cannot comprehend text as image. 
-Flash pages - Flash experiences the same problems as image text does. If you want animation try jquery. Jquery allows for animations and also still works on mobile phones. 
-”Click here” link anchor text - Be specific, the more descriptive allows search engines to better find your site. Instead of “click here to learn more” try “click here to learn about Michigan nail salons”

Learn more about SEO:
- 7 Ways Pinterest Can Boost Your SEO
- Web Designer Wall
Angel SEO
- Search Engine Land
- 55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love