Hey web devs! We knew you'd look under the hood. Please pardon the mess...we still have some clean up to do. If it drives you crazy and you want to help us get it perfect, maybe you should join our team! We could use another set of hands!
Reprinted from The Triangle Technical Journal
Your corporate Web site…to you - an investment – and being such, you didn’t let the CEO’s nephew design it. You issued an RFP; you went through a formal vendor selection process; and then you hired a professional firm to ensure that your corporate site (often the first impression of your business) was both useful and usable, separating form and function from presentation and style. A real A+ job. And now that you’ve built it, they will come. Right? Wrong.
The universe of Web content is enormous, and continues to expand every day, hour, minute, and second. Between 1995 and 2005, the Web went from a field of dreams to a crowded, competitive clearinghouse of information, products, and services. As a result, individuals are turning to search engines to cull the herd. In fact, search activities are the second-most common activity on the Internet, after email. Each time an individual launches Google, it searches more than eight billion Web pages, and according to Jupiter Media Matrix, 93 percent of users do not look past the first two pages of any search engine’s set of results. Considering that 55 percent of all online purchases begin with a search engine and that between 6 and 10 billion searches in the United States each year are performed with the specific intent to purchase an item or service, a business should not find itself in the position of saying: “We built it. Where is everyone?”
So what is your business doing to make sure potential customers find you in that ocean of information? If you respond with “nothing,” please go bang your head on the nearest wall, and then let’s talk about search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO refers to the process of attracting potential members, customers, or stakeholders to a Web site by improving the site’s rankings in Internet search engines. It is probably the least understood aspect of Web design and marketing – and truthfully, a bit of a black art. That’s because Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other “crawler-based” search engines rank Web pages once a month based on secret mathematical algorithms.
But let’s shed a little light on this black art. While the algorithms that search engines use to find and rank Web pages are closely guarded secrets, general information is available regarding how search engines index – making it possible to optimize your site to improve ranking placement. For example, Yahoo!, a human-powered directory, depends on people for finding and organizing their listings, so companies should write a short, 25-word or less, core description of the entire Web site using one or two of the keywords users may search for. Google places tremendous value in link structures and a page’s content. Knowing such constants, tailoring your site and its content to comply with the way search engines index the Web will significantly improve your search status.
In order to maximize search engine optimization, there are certain things you must do. Presented below in no particular order of importance are proven methods for enhancing any search engine optimization initiative:
Search engine optimization can help companies promote themselves and their products and services in an efficient way by ensuring that information seekers are a single click and mere seconds away from what they have to offer. And in an age of information overload, an optimized Web site may present the best chance a company has to expand its reach.