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22/01/2010 10 basics for SEO success
Posted by David Kenyon

Everybody wants their site to be found on the web. Everyone wants to appear at the top of the list. This isn't our goal. Strange? - maybe - it is however an objective, but we think the goal of SEO should be to increase site traffic and visitors and top listings will come with this. This is almost always overlooked in the scramble to the top. It's a distinction between visitors deciding what is relevant to find your site and what you think is important. It's a concept that is rarely covered when talking about Search engine optimisation or to use a phraseology we prefer, Search Engine Management.

Below we have dissected the 'magic' to show you how you can make effective changes to your site to increase visitor numbers.

1. Title all pages

Specifically, each page should be titled according to the most important keywords relating to the subject on that page. Think of this page as a book index - use only 5-7 descriptive words arranged in order of importance that read as a sentence if possible. We like to add a company name on the home page.

2. Title all your images

, possibly with a subtext but also an ALT tag in the HTML.

Search engines cannot read text in graphics, some can read content in flash though. Always have a HTML back up to any flash site and try to keep important content in HTML format. Our tip would be to highlight your whole page with the mouse will show you what text is selectable and therefore is not a graphic.

3. Title all you links

It may or may not help with listing positioning but it helps search engines with determining content and therefore indexing and is also a w3C standard for helping disabled visitors navigate your site more easily.

4. Add a site map

for visitors to enable them to easily find the content they want. Much has been made of the 3 click rule - and it is an important usability rule. Make sure the level of detail makes sense hierarchically. If you have a site map, you also have an instant link to each and every page. Add the site map link is on each page and you will ensure this. A site map can reduce the users clicks to just 2 if implemented with detail.

5. Search engine site maps

Install search engine specific (e.g. Yahoo and Google) Sitemap to monitor performance and identify potential issues with your sites navigation. Companies like Google have a centralised website management console that also include features to help you manage your sites page indexing. As well as xml based sitemaps (not a scary as they sound), including a robots.txt file will help manage what is displayed on the world wide web and what is not. This can allow you to use your web space for business support applications that you don't want to be listed on the web.

6. Global site hierarchy

Build and develop your site with a real hierarchy of information. This includes organised and correctly labelled files and folders right down to page content. Use a piece of paper to visualise how this works best for your visitors.

Use relevant file and folder names for pages rather than 'page1', 'page2', etc. It will help with your site indexing. Similarly label images according to their content. If you change an image on your page also change its filename if the subject of the image is different.

Image searches are an important and overlooked part of driving traffic to your site. For sites selling products this is a must. The jury is out as to whether this will improve page position but as we mentioned in the intro you should be focused on driving traffic to your site.

7. Add new content periodically.

Ensure the content is unique, reference any quotes or duplicated material. The large search engine companies also suggest that content be written for human consumption and not for search engine consumption - you might be surprised to find out that these companies have very sophisticated applications to decipher if a paragraph is written with grammatical integrity. It is however still important to incorporate keywords into the content. We have set up sites specifically to test search engine guidelines and suffice to say it is a fine balancing act - it's best not to overstep it for long term success.

8. Metatags

Include description tags and keyword tags to each individual page. If you know anything about SEO you will probably have heard of Metatags. This historically was the first port of call for page indexing settings. While the value of Metatags are still the main way smaller engines crawl and index pages, the larger more well know indexes don't rate these as highly; preferring to use a global site formula encompassing all the elements we cover here, plus some others. Adding these tags will do no harm. As a starting point, we would advise choosing the most important keywords for your site and write them down in order of importance. Split them up into page specific words and include them on relevant pages. It's worthwhile checking your page content includes some of the same key phrases. Correct keyword and description tags are time-consuming and it mostly analytical work - worth every second though to get the best results. If we were operating this service for you we would also reference alternative phrases and measure this against the competition and the phrases popularity to determine which ones are used.

9. Incoming Links

The popularity of your web site is in part determined by how many incoming links your site has. You can find this using a third party service or using search specific URL code.

Don't use link farms - it really is the blind leading the blind. Your site becomes inextricably linked within pools of similar site doing the same thing. You can imagine it's not hard for search engines to determine which sites are involved.

Try and build quality links and if possible have descriptive words linked to your site. i.e.) johns tractors rather than click here.

Try and build links up steadily over time rather than all at once - particularly with newly built or registered websites - as you can imagine after 15 year the engines have a good idea of link building rates and trying to accelerate this can be easily detected by the web crawlers. Pay attention to site ranking; if you have an incoming link from a high score ranking site, your site will be looked upon more favourably than if it is linked to from a low ranked site. This link building action also helps to bring increased traffic to your site.

It may also be possible to include your link on some discussion boards and blogs. Keep it relevant to the page subject though!

10. Page content Hierarchy

Use headings, titles and sub titles. Not only does this provide good design and usability through readability but it lets the crawlers determine what is most important in the content. HTML headings are specifically tags (H1, H2, H3). Style sheets have mostly replaced heading tags and they have been forgotten. You should style your heading tags within the style sheets and utilise them to your benefit.


Here at Drawn we can summarise our search engine management service as 'Organised, labelled and titled content, hierarchically provided to the user for the user'. If you can truthfully do this then your work should be easily findable by web users.

While we offer this service as part of our portfolio, we aren't secretive about the methods we use. If you would like to use our services we will include all the above points and simply charge you for the time it takes us to analyse and set up your site fully. We think it will save you money as we have the experience and efficiency to do it quickly as we already have methods and procedures in place to achieve optimal success faster.

Everybody wants their site to be found on the web. Everyone wants to appear at the top of the list. This isn't our goal. Strange? - maybe - it is however an objective, but we think the goal of SEO should be to increase site traffic and visitors and top listings will come with this. This is almost always overlooked in the scramble to the top. It's a distinction between visitors deciding what is relevant to find your site and what you think is important. It's a concept that is rarely covered when talking about Search engine optimisation or to use a phraseology we prefer, Search Engine Management.

Below we have dissected the 'magic' to show you how you can make effective changes to your site to increase visitor numbers.

17/05/2009 Very interesting 'digital' painting
Posted by David Kenyon

I found this link the other day - I thought although nothing technically demanding it was a really interesting and good looking piece of work!

I think its called

Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante

30/10/2008 Search Engine Tuning
Posted by David Kenyon

We all know that web sites should be tailored for search engines. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or SEM (Search Engine Management or Search Engine Marketing) - or whatever organisations alter the name to for fear of reproach.

What managers don't usually know is that most sites either unknowingly are not knowingly not actively maintained. Whether the reason is budgetary in a failure of interdepartmental integration or each stakeholder's responsibility not clearly defined, we don't know. In some cases the web sites we optimise have been built by third party web design agencies who's brief was to only design the site and so they haven't put in any suitable foundations at all in for effective optimisation.

So sometimes the structure must be altered before the other work begins.

I have been working on our portfolio of web site's Search Engine Management service agreements over the last few months. A little bit of analysis and tweaking of terms and content really does make a difference. One of our longest served clients has had a huge increase in online leads alone this month from SEM actions. The return on investment is roughly the same as the Pay per click model over 12 months, but it is another bow in the online strategy string aimed at the organic search results (spread over all search engines) rather than the paid for results (limited to individual or a few engines).

We are always improving our analytic strategies for Search Engine Optimisaiton/Management and have a greatly improved method for analysing your current web site set up - what you think customers are searching for - with search terms that users are actually searching for in order of importance, and then matching this with web page content.

Of course SEO isn't the holy grail of generating enquiries though. What we also realise and must communicate is that if the site doesn’t address the fundamental requirement of the user (broadly I'll say this is the user-experience, required content and confidence), no amount of increased search results or site click-throughs will lead to any increase in online, or offline, enquiries.

05/09/2008 The art of Workations
Posted by David Kenyon

We have been very busy this Summer, beavering away on some of our best projects to date. Most of which we can't show you unfortunately. So while positive cash flow remains on course, new projects to show you on this web site don’t!

Business and pleasure took me to California last month where, with the accompaniment of my wife, we decided to go on 'The Price is Right'! Who says business travel can't be fun?

Travelling along the California coast with one eye on the BlackBerry; one eye on the dolphins, harbour seals and the truly awe inspiring sight of a pod of Blue Whales, was both amazing and a lot of fun. Some critical web updates where even completed standing on the cliffs at Palos Verde.

So here's to kicking back and relaxing AND working. Or as I now call it, a 'workations'.

If you would like more information on working remotely, checking emails on the move, updating your web sites from hotel rooms or just being sent vital stats via SMS for those ongoing promotions or projects; look no further. We do practice what we (should) preach (more of).

21/02/2008 Online advertising
Posted by David Kenyon

Google has recently introduced some serious integration to its services. You can now link maps to your Adwords account, which can really make you stand out from the crowd. Adwords can take business listings, flash banners and map adverts.

The best thing about this… if its all connected together correctly you can monitor the whole thing - cost per clicks, effectiveness of each advert, geographical location targeting. There are also a whole host of additional management tools that can help with search engine management.

You could spend 24hrs a day tuning up your online marketing campaigns. Please contact us to find out how to achieve this using a fraction of this time each month …

Example of search engine listing

Example of a Google map listing

We have learned Google are also building a DNA/Genetics testing service… but we won't go in to how they might integrate that…

07/12/2007 The design process
Posted by David Kenyon

Spending the majority of my time in Birmingham, Alabama has meant adjusting my everyday routine from when I am in the UK. Driving on the other side of the road is one example of this; using money that is all the same colour another, inputting my dates 'backwards' in databases and email spell check setting are others. On a more microscopic scale when I opened my bread today (containing 9 different grains apparently), it took me back 25 years to when the UK had a little U shaped plastic tag keeping it closed. I pondered; did the UK change to plastic tape for cost driven reasons or better design and usability and if so why has some of America not?

Bread Tag

The plastic hook is definitely more user-friendly and can be reapplied whereas the tape fastens only a few times and then you have to spin the bread bag round and round and place it upside-down. The plastic fastener can also be used on any bag thereafter and even labeled or colour coded and so is ideal for recycling.

If our business was designing bread bags this would make more sense on par. But of course there are other marketing factors such as; the faster a loaf turns bad, the more loaves the shops will sell.

Perhaps these things shouldn’t really be taking up my time… but as a designer who spends time studying and working towards a utopian design process for supplying business, they all too often do.

13/11/2007 Happy Holidays
Posted by David Kenyon

Well its Christmas time again. The LED lit deer and snowmen are littering the shopping centres. I almost had a heart attack on leaving my apartment last night to be confronted by three 20ft tall wise men with huge gifts towering over me at the gates.

I even heard my first 'Happy Holidays!' (a wholly/holy modern American tradition) this week. I'm sure we all object to Christmas being marketed in October, but I do think the festive decorations - snowflakes, holly and the smell of gingerbread coffee is great. It’s how the Scandinavians get through the winter months and it’s something we should all be aware of when creating marketing material. We do after all, have different emotional needs during each season. Nature does it as a matter of course and a lot of larger brands do this well already - clothing stores, magazines, car adverts showing new features and more recently beer. I would suggest that even companies need to strategise web site content delivery and design in the same way.

12/02/2007 Dreamweaver keeps crashing when using ASP VBScript/Dynamic content
Posted by David Kenyon

Distressingly all Dreamweaver software running on Vista was crashing the world over last week when the clocks went back. The unofficial advice was to set our computer clocks back - not great as all emails were being sent from 2 weeks ago! The official advice from Adobe was that they didn’t expect to do anything about it until the next upgrade. Luckily the furor meant they eventually had to look in to it. Thankfully the offending file was detected and could be simply deleted. Phew!

You can see the fix here Dreamweaver Daylight Savings Time Bug

Edit - This happens repeatedly every six months.

11/02/2007 US Daylight Saving bug
Posted by David Kenyon

I've just realised that the new BlackBerry Pearl phone - not only doesn’t change its time for the 'new and improved' US daylight saving, but I can't dial the advertised free phone numbers; 1800 MY PIZZA, etc because of its QWERTY keyboard. Hopefully no small sophisticate couch potatoes will starve because of this!

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    Drawn (Drawn Design Consultancy) operates in London United Kingdom, Birmingham Alabama USA. Creative Director: David Kenyon