Blue Link Webs produces small and medium Web sites for business. We're experts at database-driven Web sites using LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization means doing things to your pages and your Web presence that attempt to improve your position in search engine results. There are lots of firms selling "search engine optimization" services. According to Google, who should know, some of them are reputable and helpful.

We at Blue Link Webs believe in making your pages search-engine friendly while keeping them people-friendly. It isn't hard to do, and you don't need us to tell you how; Google will tell you for free at their Webmaster Help Center. That page describes what we'll do as we build your Web site for you. If you decide to hire someone else, make sure they read it. The most important thing it says is near the bottom: "Make pages for users, not search engines."

If you wonder whether this really works, try typing "postfix notation" into Google and checking the top ten results. Among them is very likely to be a paper written by one of us. (Sometimes it slides down to fourth or fifth place, but it's always in the top ten.) This paper was written to help the author's students, with no thought to search engine placement. (The author gave students a link, so they didn't need to search.) Good writing practices and sound Web construction practices (uhhh, and a somewhat obscure subject) got it top billing.

If you're selling widgets instead of describing a mathematical notation, you probably won't get top billing just from good writing. However, people who're looking for your site will be able to find it using search engines, and people who are looking for your product or service will find you if you describe your market differentiators in ways that fit their search criteria. Services like Google Analytics can help you fine tune your descriptions when your site is live.

The Other Thing that Works

Google is, of course, the 800 pound gorilla of search engines. You just have to be indexed in Google. Google's Page Rank algorithm gives your site points depending upon how many other sites link to it, and the quality of those sites, in Google's opinion. That creates a chicken-or-egg problem: If no one links to your site, no one can find it, and if no one can find your site, they can't link to it no matter how good it is.

The one-word answer is directories. There are on-line directories to which you can submit your site. You'll know the ones specific to your industry, and we know of some general ones. Submit your site to these directories, and presto! you have incoming links.

Other places to get links include your own personal page... the one your ISP lets you set up for free, your friends, your customers, and your suppliers. We'll put a link on our "Clients" page for you, although we may rotate it in and out if the list gets too large. Similarly, we'll ask that you allow us to put an unobtrusive link to us from your site.

It's important to know that "link farm" pages are a bad idea. They can get your site removed from search engine indexes.