Site Usability, Engagement and Design Consulting
Search engines and humans require certain things to have a good experience at your web site
It takes careful planning to design a web site that works for search engines and is interesting and usable for humans at the same time. If it’s time for a new site, we would be happy to put together a comprehensive team capable of tackling any challenge.
Search engines are really very simple minded programs that read and index content. So far, they can index html text and graphics. Pages that have html text are indexed and ulimately referenced in a catalogue of results that match the results of a query typed into a search box by a web searcher. While we are not all together sure why they index graphics, there is no relationship to getting good results on searches and the graphics that are indexed from your site that we know of.
On the other hand, humans have high expectations from “tv” screens. Yes, television has warped people to expect “dancing bears” of some sort. Fortunately, we think that this has leveled off as people are coming to realize where the internet fits into their lives; researching subjects, pastimes, business and buying products or services. Of course there is gaming and communicating with others and a host of other pastimes as well. If you watch corporate sites that have a direct interface with their consumers on the internet you would have noticed a huge change in their presentation over the past few years. It’s all about usability, ease of navigation – being able to get what one wants to get done in a short amount of time and in many cases a design that works with search engines.
Here then, are the top10 best practices for usability and the design of search engine friendly web sites:
- Search engines only read html text. So far, they cannot read flash or crawl over complicated java navigation links. While search engines do catalog graphics they cannot relate them very well to what your site is about.
- Search engines read the html page from left to right. The most important real estate on an html page is the top left. In fact, using flash and fancy input boxes or java navigation is absolutely fine – on the right hand side of the page if there are words on the left.
- Search engines like to follow plain old html text links. They take value into what the link itself says. So “click here” is probably not the best use of a static html link.
- Every page needs its own title, meta description and meta keywords tag that is specific and individual to what that particular page is about. These “tags” can only support the html text on the page. It is the depth of content about a subject which most affects a search engine position.
- Create a site map page of html links, a links page, and an articles or press release page that all have html text links from the home page. Search engines particularly like these simple to understand pages of cataloging and discussion.
- Do not use frames as a way to control or display information on your web pages. Search engines cannot read framed pages properly.
- Keep in mind that people are in a hurry to find what they are looking for. Do not hide your best offers, or any terms and conditions.
- Have a goal to make a sale or collect a lead from a certain percentage of visitors as a way of calculating conversion. Focus your site content on reaching that goal.
- Have a good, easy to find FAQ page that answers any and all questions that arise in a visitors mind en route to achieving your goal.
- Having a focus group use your site is an investment in success