NEW: Fred Schebesta

I am on the web; great! But now I need to be found. SEO is actually fairly straight-forward.

How does search engine optimisation work?

Let me tell you how I got into search engine optimisation. I was once a lonely paled-faced coder dabbling in the ways of building websites with my trusty 486 DX266. Here is a picture which I am sure will be treasured by some but also be the brunt of much humour.

Fred Schebesta’s humble beginnings
as a coder in his room,
where Freestyle Media started.


Now the thing about it was that our clients always wanted us to get their clients ranked highly in the search engines.

Let me tell you a secret – seven years ago I didn’t know how to do that, and I had no idea how it could be done.

So one weekend, myself and my partner decided it would be fun to learn a new coding language (Java) and write a web search engine – our own little search spider. We got a little program up and running that went out on our dial-up connection and scraped up from the web some website content and stored it in a little text file.

It taught me that search engines aren’t humans – they are computer programs that can’t see. All search engines can see is code.

Here is what the Freestyle Media website looks like to a search engine.

A view of the Freestyle Media website by a search engine spider.








With this first piece of information about the search engine spider, I felt like a detective who had been given a clue, but it also opened the door to my whole understanding of search engine marketing.

As my elementary search spider trawled through websites, I picked out links on pages and I made a basic map of which web pages linked to which.

I skipped websites that took too long to load, as they were usually bad websites. (This is actually similar to Google!) This gave me a basic view of the internet and I was able to type into my search spider some relevant keywords and pull up websites that had links pointing to them with the keyword I was searching for inside them. This was also another clue to the puzzle, as I discovered when I read some forums.

What does this mean for your search optimisation? It means that search engines only see your website code and text.

You need to make sure that the code and text that you show the search engine contains the keywords you want targeted. And you need to make sure that the text you are showing the search engine is at the top of the page – the spider will only spend a limited amount of time looking through your website.

If the search engine finds a lot of content with the keywords and the right links, you are on your way to ranking highly in the engines.

In my next blog I will tell you what sort of text you need and how to structure your links to rank well in the search engines.


Fred Schebesta’s company Freestyle Media is an established innovative online media agency that tackles combining proven approaches with new thinking and ideas.

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Jim Stewart writes: Good post Fred. Let’s hope some developers are reading:-) Simple things like having your javascript and CSS in external files can make it so much easier for the bots to find your content quickly and index it. We had one client that had a “roll your own” CMS that blocked the bots from reading any content. Once we fixed that and optimised the site she was in the top 10 within a fortnight.



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