Best SEO strategy for small website

Hello all you clever IT people out there ...

We are a little startup company based in Capbreton, Landes that needs to get known in the big wide world of the world wide web! Therefore I am trying to educate myself on SEO, but keep getting caught up in one or another weird article, all of them, I suspect, to detailed for what we really need.

I am therefore sharing my thoughts and questions with you - to see if any have good suggestions and helpfull hints and answers that can guide me along the way ...

My plan pt. is this:

- Define landing pages

- Do a brainstorm on words for each page

- Then run those words through Google Keyword Tracker (GKT)

- Maybe do a redefinition of words after the (GKT).

- Then implement the words on site (meta tags, page-titles and content).

My questions now are these:

Does this seem like a feasible plan to you? Or do you have other hints to how I should approach optimizing my page for the search engines?

Furthermore I have some more specific questions:

1. My site is flash-based (built in a CMS via the French provider Gandi)(And it is currently NOT an option to change provider etc.). On a flash-based site, can the search engines see the content text? Or should I only focus on optimizing the page-titles and the meta-tags?

2.Shall I use the same words as my biggest competitors (like the Alliance Francaise) in the meta-tags and on the page? Or does that not make sense?

3. I have defined 6 landing pages – shall I do a brainstorm on words for each page. And then test with GKT?

4. Our url ends with .pro. Will it always end up UNDER the local country’s pages in a search result? (In example: if you search for ’French language courses’ in UK, will results then always come results ?) If yes, can you anything to avoid it?

I will gratefull for any answer that can guide me in the right direction ...

Thanks, Ditte

HI Jon,

Thank you too for those links. I really do recommend Inkscape, I love it. Logically 20,000 programmers working on an App for the benefit of all, makes so much sense.

My app library is pretty sparse ( I like the idiot's stuff ) With Inkscape you can you most things, web banners, page layouts, logos, etc etc.

SO quick and easy to use ( once you know your way around ) and you can drop bitmaps into it. saves as .png .pdf, and a host of others and a well sharp .png converts to .jpg if you alter the extension.

If you download a version, I'll Skype you through the basics if you wish.

I will checkout those links Jon.


Hi Ron

Thanks for the tip regards INKSCAPE I think it might be of use to me - also I am a big fan of open source, I used to work in high end software professionally for several decades but the standard of open souce in the area I used to work in amazes me.

INKSCAPE looks really interesting.

To continue in the vein of passing on tips for good photo/graphic software.

16 bit photo editing software but not fancying the price of photoshop?

Its not open source ( he does charge a small amount ) and it certainly cannot do everything that photoshop can do - but if the functionality covers your needs and you absolutely want to work in 16 bit colour for pro results ( 48bit RGB) then it is to be recommended. Its fast as it was written in a low level language.

I also use ENFUSE which is an interesting bit of open source software, I use it to stack photo images taken with my digital SLR. Ever wondered how pros achieve a good exposure over a shot that includes sunlight and dark shadow? This software opens the door.

Any other bits of open source kit you feel like recommending?


Hi Jon,

My pants suing quip was a toss away, as in reality, I would not sue anyone, knowing full well the costs and potential disappointments involved.

I am retired, but did have to keep an eye out in my trading days and wasted many thousands on Professional Indemnity Insurance, as we were custodians of the property rights of many blue chips.

I suppose it is still somewhat of an issue for Photographers, especially as a hi res image isn't that necessary for screen applications, and I suppose even a watermark can be brushed out if someone is hellbent on doing so. Seems silly when many images can be, shot anew, licensed from libraries, sucked down FOC from the web, or whatever.

On the graphics front I use INKSCAPE, which if one wanted too, is a great tool for the reverse engineering of Vector images. Just import the graphic you want to replicate, trace over, and you can even use a Pipette to clone the colours. In minutes to have a scalable new version... Don't try this at home folks.

I am still pretty prolific in my activities, but I can literally rattle out an original in half an hour, hardly worth the effort in chasing some robber. I think Intellectual rights of all descriptions have been turned on their heads in recent years, and lawsuits probably merely line the pockets of the Lawyers.

I'm not suggesting that everyone should be as blasé as myself, and sure, for the likes of Apple such vigilance keeps a lot of folk gainfully employed. I don't have to steal anything myself, as I can do most things using a couple of desktop machines.

Oddly, ( and James was appraised ) someone threatened to sue me last week, for an image ( of them? huh? ) which was supplied in good faith? The pic(s ) must be 40 years old.

I still issue model release forms if I do any pics for any commercial entity, but I would echo the notion that folk should not use images from the web, if they aren't 100% sure that they may do so.

There is everything you could ever want on the web for a peppercorn price, and let's face it, a 5 Megapixel phone does a great job! and if it's for your site, shoot your own. And if the shot isn't what you want... change the text matter and shoot another one.

Many years ago a former employee broke into my premises and ransacked the Server, I called the cops, they weren't interested, so I got a PI to chase the guy, and got my Lawyers to fire him a letter. He returned the material, but he'd already 'copied' it! ha!

ooo thank g*d for retirement.

Hi Ron

Regards being prepared for taking legal action. I am not sure how effective these two measures are but they might be of interest - they dont cost anything.

1. Digital watermarking - most graphics packages I have used offer this - not sure how effective it is, could possibly be removed by technically aware not sure but then how many folks would look into that - most copyright theft is casual.

2. I have tended to assume that if party A can produce the original high resolution non-compressed images and party B cannot then this might be taken as a reasonable indication that party A took the original photo. Certainly I think that in a "pre-sue" squabble saying that you hold the original high resolution images might persuade the other party that you stand a good chance of being able to prove ownership and they might retreat gracefully. I only once had to threaten to sue and the other party retreated rapidly - never got close to even calling my legal rep - it was all over once I mentioned legal proceedings and that I had the original RAW files whereas all they had was medium res compressed jpegs. I would have probably overlooked an infringement from "Joe public" but this person was running a comercial website which I considered competition.


Me too, If any one uses my pics without permish I will sue the pants off them...

unless there's there's an easier way.

Hi Ditte

Get a better understanding of your visitors, learn how Google sends them to you, do they come from organic search, social media? What keywords are driving traffic to which pages of your site?

Do you have a Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and/or Linkedin presence, should you?

What are you most valuable keywords?

Google offer a host of tools to help you know what they see when looking at your site.

If you haven't already I recommend using the following;

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Keywords Tool

You might have trouble setting these up on your site unless you have root access. See how you get on and shout if you have any queries.

I think Google can index Flash content, not sure about the rest of the search engines though, you might be able to upload a sitemap to help with that.

It is worth bearing in mind that Apple mobile devices do not support Flash, so any Flash content won't load on iPads iPhones etc. nearly 15% of our traffic comes from iOS and it is on the increase. I don't like Flash for a number of reasons, but this is the main one.

and metadescription are important as they are the two things that will appear on a search page

The title is the top bit and the metadescription is below like this;

Use Google keywords tool to find some keywords that you have a chance of listing for on page 1. You will be competing with paid search terms, so you either need to a) pay higher b) have higher quality content and an authoritative page ranking c) choose a niche search term d) a combination of all of those.

Google give away 75 euro Adwords campaign vouchers, you've probably seen the ads online, grab one of those but don't waste it until you have a grasp of what keywords you want to list for.

A quick keywords search lists the following as potentials, you can us KW tool to see how much it would cost you to rank higher.

Be careful with that, I have sued people in the past for using my photos without permission!

may the force be with you. SFN

Wauw - just opened the computer ... just to find a whole big bunch of long detailed answers!

THANKS everybody. Am reading through it all now (= will most likely be back later with more questions ... ha).



for those interested in SEO try the following link - I set it up so that the search terms I chose to analyse will be set up automatically... the original post talked of Alliance Francaise - I found several websites in Google search results but one included a language school so I started playing around with

"learn french"

Here is the link

I was interested to see how interest in learning french seemed either to be on the decline or perhaps people have started searching with different terms (Note - comments limited to people who choose to search in English) I tried several languages to bench mark and interestingly English seemed to be constant.

Interesting to use the "View change over time" option with geo options set global - India shows marked peaks in interest in both German and French ( Jun-Oct 2009 for German and French after Feb-Jun 2006 ) perhaps an indication of India's rise in international trading? English shows interesting popularity in Afganistan and Pakistan at some points in the time line but not others.

Note the related terms feature - often useful to play out other ideas and options.

Google very rarely seems to give out analysis in absolute terms, you rarely get information that says "50,000 searches" instead you get comparitive analysis but its still pretty powerful - not just keywords but perhaps also a market indicator.


Hello Ditte

I forgot one good perspective.

Q. How do Google make money

A. Adverts and some paid for functionality ( many free services have paying pro versions ).

Q. How do Google make sure they continue to get money

A. Being a good search engine which means deciphering the "non-expert" search terms and strategies that many users deploy and through a mixture of cutting edge technologies including linguistic comprehension and analysis Google strives to give them the search results they wanted rather than the ones that they inexpertly asked for or alternatively that you as a website owner would perhaps like to manipulate.

Google increasinly understand alternative search terms - for instance if your website is about hotels you may find that you pick up motels for free as long as your website is a fantastic end user experience regardless of whether you or the searcher picked hotel or motel. Google knows what percentage of people who search for product A would also be interested in product B - the point here is not linguistic precision, its about matching expectations accurately and in a way that the Google user finds best.

Google employ many Phds all as sharp as buttons who seek to stop manipulation (black hat SEO) and more generally make SEO redundant and simply match searchers with the best results possible. Look at it from their point of view - why on Earth should your website do better just because you understand various HTML tags - what really matters is that the best website for the current search comes top and I think it is reasonably safe to assume Google are doing their best to address this. Put it this way, the Google heuristics are updated daily or weekly and that comes from the horses mouth.

In the longer term its increasingly going to be about simply giving your end users the best possible service or experience and letting Google figure out and correct for your lingusitic ommisions, quirks and those of your end user, they are getting smarter all the time - just do a google search for some piece of equipment and then see how the content of Google adwords boxes on 3rd party websites you subsequently visit suddenly reflect your recent search interest. Google are really going for bust to make sure everything you do online matches your personal preferences and interests, they wont allow little issues like poor keyword choice to get in their way if they can understand your intentions and the intentions of your end user. In the short term SEO is important, in the longer term it may become less and less important that is as long as Googles business model depends on good and intelligent search results.



Just some ideas you might like to look at...

1. Try searching for "pure CSS websites" and "pure CSS web design" - many websites will require javascript but its good to understand how much can be done without. For instance javascript menus are often sluggish and if badly implemented may trip up Google - most could be rewritten without javascript. If I wanted a web designed I would not necessarily want a pure CSS design but I would want a designer who was capable of writing one - that hopefully means that the designer will only bring out the "big guns" like Javascript if they really need to rather than a preference that shows a hole in their ability and knowledge.

2. If you do want the kind of functionality that flash affords and dont mind using some javascript ( use it when you have to - not as a default ) then look at what this guy is up to....

Its work having a good look around this guys website I only came across him a week ago but I have found his ideas inspirational. Apologies to those who dont like models spread over the screen but thats the example he has put out there ( I believe he is a photographer or works with one ) so we are stuck with it.

>> I'll say it again, Meta tags is such old hat that doesn't work any more. Don't waste time on that.

Incorrect - Description is a meta tag and that DOES work!


Just noticed you say "FLASH CMS"

Reservations about Flash already stated.

Reservations about CMS? I have looked at CMS output for various people I have done work for - I look at the source code that the CMS produces.

I rarely see good CMS output.

Criticisms are...

1. Heavy use of Javascript for no good reason - Google ignores javascript so content that depends on javascrpt dont get seen by Google webots.

2. Failiure to use the most important tags on pages - rarely have I seen a CMS system so bad that it ignored the tag but I have seen many that ignored just about everthing else including the META tag description - thats the tag Google considers for the excert that appears beneath your result in the search engine output pages - I say "considers" because Google does what Google wants and the description is only your recommendation to Google - its still very very very important and the fact that CMS systems sometimes ignore or just use the content intended for another tag to fill this in is a good reason to ignore. Before commiting to a CMS system get someone who understands what they are doing and has Mozilla developer tools installed in their browser to take a tour of other websites written with the CMS system and see if it looks reasonable quality - a lot of CMS systems produce spagetti code - takes a long time to load and is sluggish in performance often due to the combination of javascript and spaggetti code.

Many people have to use CMS - they have no choice, they are not able to code websites directly themselves - this in my mind is one of the biggest failings of the web - the technical aspects are beyond the people who want to produce websites. I havent checked if google have produced a genuine CMS system - might be worth a check - they do offer free websites but the CMS system behind this is basic and unlikely to satisfy your needs.


Short list the most important things you want on every web page and check that the CMS system can handle it.

Starters are

- of little importance but generally considered "good form" and few are so confident as to ignore it completely - just a good sign of competence.

- the most important tag in the general content of your website - good use of H1, H2 tags is essential.

I would also opt for a CMS system that is HTML5 / CSS3 ready but degrades gracefully for people using crappy or out of date browsers.

Do your testing using a browser like Mozilla which is the choice of most pro's because it is very standards compliant. Design your website using intenet explorer at your peril - dont know what the latest version is like but Microsoft have ignored and being playing catch up on standards for ages - indeed they have arguably held the rest of the web back because poor old web designers have to keep on writing special cases for IE ( internet explorer ) - I stopped using IE a long time ago - I used Mozilla, Google Chrome and the PC version of Safari in an attempt to make sure I am not letting MAC users down.

PS: I have covered a lot of ground and not explained some technical terms - you may be able to learn a lot by banging the technical terms straight into Google and finding out more - thats the general learning path for most pros as well - read try and digest then use Google to help fill in the holes.

Kind regards


may the force be with you

the secret, Kerry, is to get the 'application/service/product' findable, so mixing those keywords in with the more YOU specific is the challenge.


it's not a book, though I wish it bludy wuz.

Er..I bend the rules, and mix it op with pics...

Search me on Google if you must.

Ron Birks

ps trust the more learned


Hi Kerry,

I have pointed out my methodology many times before on SFN, it is not your standard approach, but it does work for me.

The safer bet is to follow the excellent advice from the likes of Brian ( in the group )



Hello Ditte

First of all be wary of flash - I havent consulted the SEO forums for a while but last time I checked flash was dubious for Google. Also be aware that flash is a dying technology - it has largely been surpasssed by HTML5/CSS3 the future of the web is not flash - most people in the know will tell you this. I was heavily involved in some new technology that was dependent on Flash for some platforms and it gave me a headache and many sleeplness nights worrying about how fast these platforms would fully support CSS3 ( 3D transforms for techies ) so I could drop the flash.

For general SEO my advice is to go to Amazon and buy three books and make sure they are recent, the rules are changing all the time and many people will give you out of date SEO advice failing to keep up with the latest Google updates. The only real long term policy with Google that works is to get a Google account and find out about web master tools and then read the related Google forums where Google will tell you what we be punished ( and I mean punished ) and what will be rewarded. The basic tenants that Google supports long terms are HONESTY ( dont over design the SEO at the end of the day your website should be appealing to the target audience, trying to get hits beyond the natural "Pull" of your website will generally end in tears ) - build it for people not webots, and be selective and discening who you trade links with - do not use Link agencies unless you know they really get good quality links - your average link builder will do you more damage than good - STEADY - if you try and be popular too quickly you may trip some of Googles traps and suffer the consequence- some websites do grow fast but for most steady year on year growth is likely to be trusted more by Google.

4. This is a complex question and anyone who tells you that they know the answer is probably stepping on a thin plank, I have followed forum postings by official Google spokespeople and they generally say many factors come into play here. Google does supply an option to say "only show results for a webpage FROM this country" but as to how many people use it and whether Google determines country from IP number of the host server or from the URL domain I cannot say - using domain name is not a sure fire way - many UK websites prefer .com which is supposedly mainly for the US. I would say if your target audience is in the UK only then may be preferable but I am sure there is a counter argument - lets put it this way - many websites are performing fine for the UK market so it seems to work for many people.

2. Use competitor keywords to build your own knowledge and then make your own mind up - use competitor keywords to throw into the big pot with your own ideas and then do your analysis - use Google trends ( formerly Google insights ).

I have been doing analysis on my own commercial websites (including my own campsite) and my thoughts are....

1. No-one can be paid to care like you do - example, our campsite benefits from symbiotic traffic from a nearby adventure park - think your average "SEO teenager - we can boost you in Google yah yah yah" would know or care about that level of business analysis - no-one can know or understand your business like you can.

2. Nothing is constant, its all a state of flux - good people learn to think like Sherlock Holmes and ask "why" a lot when observing the behavour of visitors to their website.

3. See point 2 - you need a good tracking package down to the level of being to identify and track the footfall of one user. Pick two or three visitors a day and follow their progress on your website, ask why a lot and also see if they buy or book anything - depends on your business and why you are online in the first place - just decide what the goal is - for some it might be that they spend more than five minutes on your website. Unfortunately I cannot recommend a good tracking package because I wrote my own, its customised, very powerful and constantly improved to answer the new questions that come into my head.
You could try Google analytics which is free to start off with - just get a general Google account and then add the tools you need from the selection presented.

You can go as deep as you like here but make no mistake -

Its not about computers

Its not geeky

Its business pure and simple.

I have done consultancy for people in the past and I am bored with it because everyone I deal with wants...

1. Me to do all the work

2. Not to really get their hands dirty.

SEO and general website analysis is like asking customers who come into your shop why they came, what they are looking for, did they find what they wanted, are they satisfied and will they come again.

Keywords seen from this angle is no more than making sure you have a good sign above the shop.


A business I did do consulting for and who did listen and do the hard work themselves reported a 10% increase in revenue attributed to those changes against an industry wide down turn of 15%.

My own business has gone up a minium of 10% revenue every year for the last two years - the year before that was the year I took it over when we basically stayed static. In the same time period my analysis lead me to "sack" an expensive third party - I divered the funds to Google adwords and benefited many many fold over what the expensive and under achieving third party were acheiveing - however my Google adwords campaign was focused, highly analytical and constantly reviewed against performance - you can easily waste your money with Google - just run an advert with generic keywords for a campsite in France and see how many hits you pay for from people on the otherside of the world. Put it this way - we get good trade from one or two cities in country X in the school holidays - we find out the dates because they vary and we target one city for two weeks and another for three weeks and then we cut the campaign and move to another. I say country X because I would not want my competitors to know about this one.

I hope anyone who managed to get this far is now convinced that you cannot get good SEO or general analysis of your online presence from a third party unless your business can be understood fully by that third party.

Kind regards