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How to Learn SEO from the Start

Learning search engine optimization as part of the website usability & the user experience (UX) processes.

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One of my colleagues asked,"If you had to start over, what steps would you take to learn SEO?" Here is my answer.

In This Article

Pioneering search-engine friendly web design

Since I am a SEO pioneer (in a group that includes Danny Sullivan, Jill Whalen, Heather Lloyd-Martin, and a few others), my answer is likely to be different than most SEO practitioners.

I helped design and develop a school bus website in 1994-95. We were introducing a crossing-control arm on the front of all our school buses (in the U.S.) The website was introduced to the public at the same time the company ran other marketing and PR (public relations) campaigns.

Parents, educators, and basically anyone who wanted to learn about our nationwide safety initiative could go to the website and read/print the information.

I learned about SEO from Danny Sulliivan. John Audette started a company called Multimedia Marketing Group , and I learned from (and contributed to) many of the email digests that he started. Eric Ward, of course, is THE link-building expert. 3 great minds…I was an attentive, diligent student.

Danny Sullivan called search engines the “third browser.” Well, out of the starting gate, I designed/developed websites that always accommodated that “third browser.”

I implemented what they did into what I did: web design & development. That is how I pioneered search-engine friendly design. Danny called search engines the “third browser.” Well, out of the starting gate, I designed/developed websites that always accommodated that “third browser.”

From that point forward I have viewed both qualitative and quantitative data on how web (and site) search engines interact with code, scripts, style sheets, animation, images, and so forth.

Focus on the SEO foundation

My approach to search-engine friendly design is focused on 11 critical items, what I call the “Foundation.”

To this day, I still focus on these 12 items. The content of each critical item has evolved since 1995, of course, but the 12 items still remain…even in the mobile universe.

My recommendation? Since searcher behaviors continue to be ranking factors, include usability and the searcher experience as part of your SEO education.

Flavor-of-the-month SEO tactics come and go. Let them go. Stay focused on this SEO foundation. You won't regret it.


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If you have any questions about Omni Marketing Interactive's search engine optimization (SEO), website usability, information architecture (IA), or web design services, please call us at 847-426-4256.