Marketing Pilgrim (http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/), which provides breaking news and in-depth analysis of Internet marketing and online advertising trends, names SEO Zombie (http://seozombie.com/) blogger Justin Briggs as the winner of its 2009 Search Engine Marketing Scholarship for his article on SEO-friendly web design.
Briggs’ winning article, “9 SEO Tips for Attractive Search Engine Friendly Web Design (http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2009/06/9-seo-tips-for-attractive-search-engine-friendly-web-design.html),” provides innovative, useful tips to help designers find the middle ground between attractive websites and optimized content and code.
“Designers love beautiful websites and SEOs love optimized content and code,” Briggs writes in the article. “But neither should fool themselves, because these days, both matter.”
Briggs acknowledges the difficulty in keeping up with ever-changing practices regarding SEO-friendly web design. But today, he says, SEO doesn’t mean a site has to be visually unappealing. He suggests that those who have been designers for several years start anew and re-learn SEO from scratch.
“Don’t let out-of-date SEO practices make you think your pages have to be riddled with repetitive keywords,” Briggs writes.
Other tips from Briggs include:
• Using links to tell search engines what pages are about
• Keeping in mind that great-looking websites can be link bait in and of themselves
• Refraining from using flash in navigation or including important content in flash
• Using CSS image replacement to make a site look great and be search engine-friendl
Despite the fact that Briggs’ article was not the most trafficked entry, the judges chose the article because it takes SEO-friendly web design to a totally new level. Judges were impressed with Briggs’ actionable advice, high-quality content and useful, solid information.
“He has a nice keyword laden title, has links and diagrams, breaks up the content so it breathes and writes with an air of authority and working knowledge,” one judge commented. “He also scored points with me for responding to comments in a respectful manner.”
Briggs will be awarded a $10,000 prize package, the largest in contest history, including:
• All-access pass to SMX East
• All-access pass to Pubcon
• 12 months of Enterprise reputation monitoring from Trackur.com
• Free seat to Jill Whalen’s High Rankings SEO Training Classes
• Enrollment in a “Certified Search Engine Marketer Pathway” course at SearchEngineCollege.com
• Free seat to MarketingExperiments’ 2009 Landing Page Optimization Training Tour
• 6 months’ premium membership to SEOmoz.org
• 6 months’ premium membership to SearchEngineLand.com
• 1-year subscription to SEO project management site SoloSEO.com
• 1-year subscription (10-user license) to blog post management system RustyBudget
• Complimentary conversions and basic usability website review valued at $300 from UsabilityEffect.com/Cre8pc
• An autographed copy of Andy Beal’s book Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online
A Nashville native, Briggs’ background is in engineering, but he got started on the web in 2002 when he managed the web team for the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. He kicked off his SEO career as an affiliate marketer, managing several of his own web properties. In 2008, Briggs’ passion for SEO led him to launch SEO Zombie, an SEO blog, which allows him to consult other online marketers. Currently, Briggs is the SEO Manager at Paramore|Redd Online Marketing. He was hired in July 2009 to jumpstart an SEO program at the company.