A designer's perspective on SEO

Roughly a 2 minute read from Alex

14 May 2008

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is definitely one of the more notorious online disciplines, often badged as a 'black art' due to the uncertainty linked with achieving a good ranking in natural search listings. (By natural search listings, I'm basically discounting Google adwords, Pay Per Click and anything else which basically involves you buying your place in the charts)

Always Intrigued by the science behind it, I have played with optimising sites with surprisingly good results. My first agency still sits at the top of Google for 'Web design Leeds' after my efforts, and my previous place of work holds the same much coveted spot for 'Web design Harrogate' - both of which are pretty competitive search terms and should supposedly bring out the 'pros' to battle due to the nature of the terms.

So, how did I do this? Did I spend hours submitting sites to search engines? Did I e-mail countless people asking for them to link back to my sites? Did I flood the page with the all important keywords? Well, actually none of the above. I just designed sites people talked about and built them cleanly and properly structured, and then let the power of good design do the rest - a process which I've found is much more valuable than investing hundreds or thousands of pounds retrospectively on a poorly designed and built website.

So, I've decided to run a little SEO experiment with the new Engage website. It's only been live for a few weeks and is a complete newcomer to the SEO battle. Using just my 'good-practice' web design I'll be trying to climb the leaderboard to the #1 spot for 'Web design harrogate' initially and track progress with the fantasic (and free) tool, webceo. I'll probably spend no more than 5-10 minutes a day to just monitor the position and make tweaks here and there - and prove that you don't need to invest a small fortune on your site post launch, but rather get it done right in the first place by people like us.


Alex is co-founder of Engage. With an awarded background in design and development he now concentrates the majority of his time on moulding the future picture of Engage's development, paying particular attention to the intricate balance of culture, growth and doughnut consumption.

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