April 1 2011 // Education

Three C's for Good SEO

While designing and developing websites for our clients we are often asked about search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. While there are many and Google will never let you know exactly how their algorithm works - I have categorized the most important variables into three C's.


  • keep it fresh and original - write to your audience first and foremost
  • navigation structure should be clean and intuitive
  • shoot for a sweet spot of 3% keyword density (every 100 words)
  • place those keywords close to the beginning of your paragraph because hierarchy counts


  • keywords in page titles - hierarchy counts and be sure to make each page's unique
  • keywords in title tags - h1 tags are the most important
  • keywords in alt tags of images
  • keywords in domain name (if at all possible) - but remember the age of your domain counts
  • description in meta data - be sure to make each page's unique
  • page speed - fully optimize your site
  • HTML validation - (W3C is a great tool for this)
  • clean URL structure for all pages - try to avoid alpha/numeric strings in your URLs
  • make sure the amount of time left on your domain name's registration is not short term
  • submit an XML site map to Google's webmaster tools
  • check to make sure your site is hosted on a trustworthy server
    • is the server located in the US?
    • are your server neighbors reputable sites?
    • what is the server's "up time" percentage?


  • social data - engage fans and gain social credibility through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook
  • anchor text and trustworthiness of outbound links
  • user data - click through rates, bounce rates, average time on site
  • anchor text, diversity and trustworthiness of inbound links
    • build these organically - it's never a good idea to buy backlinks
    • Google was founded on an academic premise - the more you are "cited" the more trustworthy and prestigious your site becomes

If your first thought after reading through all of that is...Aack! Where do I begin? I have an answer. Begin by researching what your keywords should be. Everyone has preconceived notions about keywords, but be sure to back those up with solid research.

Are folks really searching the keywords you think are important? Check it out here.

Google's External Keyword Tool

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your site's SEO, feel free to email me at gchrist(at)appliedart.com or give me a call!

Written By

Alex Keller


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