Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Rate: $120/hour

I can help you develop a content-rich website in accordance with basic search engine optimization principles so as to achieve a solid standing with the search engines. I have organically search engine optimized this website, and my rankings with the appropriate keywords and phrases ("web design chicago" , "chicago freelance web designers") is excellent — within the top-10 to the top-30 on Google and other search engines.

I work closely with my clients to determine which audience my clients want to reach, and help them develop key words and phrases to reach that audience. Remember, search engine optimization is an ONGOING PROCESS that never ends. Making regular updates is crucial if you want to maintain good rankings.


  Christopher Merrill Discusses
Search Engine Optimization

Basic SEO Checklist

Determine which keywords and phrases will target your audience most effectively. Try to put yourself in the place of a potential client who might be looking for your services online. Ask yourself what keywords and phrases they would most likely use to search for you. Note that sometimes the best key words and phrases can be counter-intuitive: the first key words and phrases that come to your mind might not be the most effective ones. A marketing advisor can help you with choosing which ones might be best for you.

Generate descriptive text of two to three paragraphs of 150 to 250 words of paragraph-style text using your top three or four keyword phrases four to five times each (approximately a 3% keyword density).

Insert appropriate captions below images.

Insert unique, descriptive, keyword-rich title tags in the html source code on every page.

Insert unique, descriptive, keyword-rich meta-description tags in the html source code on every page.

Insert appropriate header tags.

Add keyword-rich title attributes to major links on the site.

Use links with keyword-rich text. For example:

        Bad: For more information about the life span of bees, click here.
        Good: Here is more information about the life span of bees.

Insert 300 to 700 words of keyword-rich text to pages.

Insert a sitemap on your site and link to if from the index page. Create and upload an xml sitemap to your server.

Insert appropriate robots.txt file.

Remember that search engine optimization is an ongoing process—not just a one-time effort. The search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, and the most effective way to keep up with trends is to continue to update your site on a regular basis.

SEO Steps:

For our clients, we recommend the following measures be taken for sites that have not been organically optimized:

  1. Amend the title tag of the home page to attract users in the specific geographic area, if possible. Recommended maximum length for title metatags should be 12 words, or about 50 characters.
  2. Amend the description tag on the home page so that users will be enticed to explore more when your site comes up on the search engines. Recommended maximum length for the description metatag should be 25 words, or approximately 156 characters.
  3. Create UNIQUE title and description tags for each individual page of the website.
  4. Amend the keyword meta tags on the home page to include appropriate key words and possible misspellings (meta tag key words are especially useful for potential misspellings entered by users into the search engines).
  5. Insert an html site map linked on the home page of the site.
  6. Upload an xml site map in accordance with Google recommendations.
  7. Add alt (<alt>) tag descriptions to image coding throughout.
  8. Add keyword-rich title attributes to major links on the site.
  9. Generate Google monitoring of traffic for client to track overall developments.
  10. Instruct client on how to access site statistics so as to monitor changes. Google statistics and Google Analytics can be especially useful.
  11. Purchase an SSL certificate and convert your site from http:// to https://.

For more information see Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

SEO Tools:

Most web hosting packages also offer free statistics-viewing software for each account hosted with them. Also available online are software and tools – with names like the following:

meta-tag analyzer
rank checker
keyword analyzer
link popularity
keyword popularity
keyword suggestion
keyword density
page rank check

Don’t let these names scare you: they’re a lot less technical-sounding than they really are.

Some websites that contain some of these free online tools are:

Social Networking

It's a good idea to complement the steps above by establishing a presence on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Tumblr. Establishing a WordPress blog also can be of enormous value, allowing you to share valuable information on the internet and increase your rankings at the same time. See more information on how to blog.

Read more about SEO on Wikepedia.