Designing Search Engine Friendly Sites

In a session entitled "Designing Search Engine Friendly Sites," Shari Thurow, Webmaster and Marketing Director for GrantasticDesigns, Inc., provided valuable information on the fundamentals to designing web sites that rank well in the Search Engines.

"Write great text, provide a link architecture for search engine spiders to follow, and have quality links to your site, and you'll achieve good rankings," advised Thurow.

Because the search engines have increasingly been using popularity as part of their algorithms, Thurow emphasized that before she begins a search engine program, she always begins with directory submission so that a site will have a degree of popularity. She considers submission and acceptance into Yahoo, LookSmart, and the Open Directory to be an essential component of any optimization campaign.

"Directory editors are looking for certain qualities in a web site, such as legibility, ease of navigation, and quick download time," she declared. These qualities are not only important to directory editors, they are also important to a site's end users. "There is no point in having a #1 position in Google if people aren't clicking on the link(s) to your site and actually using your site," Thurow stated.

Summing up the importance of creating search engine friendly pages, Thurow stated, "It is not the search engine's or the directory's job to market your site. Their job is to deliver relevant results to the searcher. So help the search engines do their job. Give them a good site!"

Grant Crowell is the CEO of Grantastic Designs, Inc, ( founded in 1993 in Honolulu. He has 15 combined years of experience in the fields print and online design, newspaper journalism, public relations, and publications. He is a featured speaker in conferences nationwide on banner design and marketing issues, and is a featured columnist for

Site Clinic

by Shari Thurow, Guest Writer

In a roundtable entitled "Site Clinic" Barbara Coll of (, Jim Stob of Position Technologies (, and Paul Bruemmer of Web Ignite Corporation ( reviewed the Web sites of selected audience members and provided feedback on improvements to generate more traffic from search engines and directories. Questions were answered about dynamically served sites, paid inclusion, pay-per-click, and general SEO related issues.

Bruemmer pointed out some of the shortcomings of AltaVista's paid inclusion program, and also focused on the importance of optimizing pages with good copywriting, programming, and linking strategies. His philosophy has always been to provide value for the customer. He feels some of the paid inclusion and paid submission programs do not provide any distinguishable value because these programs do not provide any positioning benefit. Bruemmer also stated that pay-per-click programs (paid placement) can be expensive, besides requiring significant scrutiny and a consummate understanding of ROI (return-on-investment).

Coll emphasized the value of having a search-engine friendly design. "When analyzing a site for search engine friendliness it is very important to look at four areas: Architecture, Technology, Source Code, and Content," stated Coll. "But, optimizing a site in any of these areas will help you achieve better positioning. Optimization can be accomplished in stages and does not need to be tackled all at once."

When analyzing the contents of some of the audience members' sites, Stob provided the URL of a site analysis tool available at Submit Director ( and demonstrated how it works. The tool gives Webmasters a basic idea of what a search engine sees, Stob said. The tool will show you the three most important keyword phrases you are actually using on your Web pages. If you do not see your three most important keyword phrases in the analysis, then you know that you will have to add more keyword-rich text to your pages, explained Stob.

Shari Thurow is the Marketing Director and Webmaster for Grantastic Designs, Inc. ( She has been designing and promoting web sites since 1995 for businesses in fields including finance, e-commerce, computers, software, manufacturing, marketing, architecture, design, insurance, medical, biotechnology, employment, education and law.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.