Search engine optimization and web design for Google high ranking. Professional designers, competitive quotes, corporate and small business clients.

If it was that easy to design and optimize a website to gain high rankings on Google, the top ten websites would be changing places every ten minutes. Search engine optimization for competitive key phrases is a task best left to professionals.

John Butterworth continues his interview with three leading search engine optimizers and website designers. Click here to go to the start of this interview.

Q. Does website design have any influence on search engine optimization?

David. The look itself doesn't, construction and layout does, but one thing I have learned is that some websites are not easily optimized. Clients often come to us with poorly constructed websites and in circumstances like that, Paul normally advises us to discard the website and start again from scratch. Getting the balance between design and performance is not easy because you have to be able to focus on both elements without losing site of either.

Q. Are there any other genuine search engine optimization companies?

Leo. I could call myself a brain surgeon but it wouldn't make me one and I would not be allowed to practice. Both David and I know more about search engine optimization than most people calling themselves search engine optimizers, we understand the basics, but we wouldn't contemplate saying we were experts in the field of SEO. There is no law from stopping people from calling themselves search engine optimizers or working as one, but very few of them can really do the job properly. Occasionally, Paul will point out a website that has been well optimized and is usually able to say which company has done the optimization and the mistakes they have made.

Q. So you don't need any qualifications to be a search engine optimizer?

David. No, and if you take Paul as an example, you don't need an IT background either and maybe that is the advantage he has over everyone else. If you talk to Paul about PHP, Ruby, CSS, XHTML, JavaScript or any other technical stuff, you can actually see his eyes glaze over. All his optimization techniques have nothing to do with IT systems although he will often come to Leo or I with an idea and ask us to turn it into a programme or unique web concept. Although we may have developed the programmes for Spartacus pages, Omni-Links, mercurial content and a host of other unique systems that we use, the original ideas all came from Paul. That is why we are all able to work together, because Paul would be the first to admit that he cannot do what we do.

Q. What other abilities does Paul have that help him to be able to optimize websites?

Leo. Never play Poker with him. If you shuffled, then dealt out six packs of cards face up he would be able to tell you the last ten cards that you had left in your hand. He also has an uncanny ability to remember the URL addresses of thousands of pages on hundreds of websites. So if I ask him where I can find information about something, he will usually be able to give me not just the website, but the actual page it is on. That is why I say he has a mind like a computer and why he can look at a website and within a few minutes of just scouring the pages, be able to say where the mistakes are and why it doesn't perform. You cannot write a programme like that no matter how good a programmer you are.

Q. So if you don't use any technical skills what do you do to optimize a website?

Paul. Just because we work on the Internet and everybody is anal about all the technical stuff doesn't mean that a website is anything more than a report on a subject that you are displaying to the world. You want people to read it, you want people to find it easy to find a particular point within the report and be able to open it at any page and find their way to the beginning or section of specific interest. Most websites are packs of cards that have been shuffled, at least that is how the search engines see them. I just take a website and put it in order so that the search engines know where to index any page. The search engines like anyone, want to be able to read a report if not in order, at least in a cohesive manner, it seems common sense enough to me.

Q. How did you become a search engine optimizer?

Paul. I have been working on the Internet since 1996 and as the Internet expanded and our areas of business expanded and became more competitive, I was putting more pressure on our designers to ensure our websites were being found. Eventually, we started employing optimization companies who turned out to be totally useless despite all their empty promises.

Leo. I think I should explain - he was throwing his toys out of his pram one day, because our websites were slipping further down the search engines and nobody in the company new the solutions. We were all reading all the rubbish published on the Web and following all the worthless advice. Then one of our designers suggested that, instead of having a go at everyone he should look at the problem and tell us the solutions. It took Paul a week to start coming up with suggestions and within months, we were using optimization techniques that Paul suggested and now optimization is an essential part of the business.

Q. So did you go away and read up on the subject?

Paul. No. Our designers and other optimization companies we had used all talked the same language and were using techniques and methodology that were recommended on forums and other websites and at the levels we needed to perform, this just wasn't good enough. If everybody were to use the same techniques, it stands to reason that nothing was going to improve. We needed to look at ways that were different, better and capable of beating our competitors to death. It didn't take me long to work out that most of the published information on the Internet about search engine optimization is total bollocks. I swear if I went on a forum and said you could get high Google rankings by using variable, apex-quality, RSS feeds, before you knew it there would be emails whizzing around the Internet and optimizers would be coming up with explanations about what it was and how to use. It's total rubbish like the idea of the Google sandbox; someone was having a laugh.

Q. So there is no Google sandbox?

David. Paul thinks there may be a Google sandwich left in someone's desk drawer but we have never experienced a situation where Google took months to index a website. But then we don't submit our websites to the search engines so we couldn't be certain of that. We normally expect to gain top ten positions on Google within ten to fourteen days tops.

Q. So how do you get the search engines to index a website so quickly if you don't submit it to any search engines?

David. We just link any new website we design onto Omni-Links which links hundreds of websites into the new website from day one and displays them on hundreds of Spartacus pages. Normally, within a few days, most of the major search engines have spidered the site through one of the links and indexed the new site. This also helps enormously with getting a website highly ranked on Google.

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Website design combined with legitimate search engine optimization can turn a poor performing website into a high performance money earning business. Don't leave the design and optimization of your website in the hands of an amateur.