SEM for Managers

Design and Content

Usability

Improving the usability of your site will help users find what they are looking for as they navigate through the various pages of your website. Although usability has little to do with search engine optimization it has a lot to do with the success of your website.

Often search engine optimization experts have to deal with usability issues, especially when making optimization changes to an existing website to improve its position in search engine results. The webmaster must be made aware of the balance between good usability and generating lots of search engine traffic. It is possible to have both.

What often gets in the way of search engine optimization is website design that creates too many search engine barriers. For example, if a site is mostly images with very little text, then the search engine spiders have nothing to base the ranking on. Worse is if a site is all built in Flash. Most search engines do not index Flash sites, therefore, your Flash site should also have HTML pages for the search engines to index.

Design

Your website must be visually appealing yet simple fashion. An important tip is that your website should communicate to the visitor that they are “in the right place”.

All the bells and whistles are unnecessary and can damage your site more than help it. Search engines and directories do not see special effects and do not even care for them. Sometimes it can also be difficult for surfers to figure out where to go next. It is better to keep it simple than to over-elaborate. Go for “elegant” rather than “cool”.

Content

Graphics should be spread out evenly among the pages and should correspond to the page’s content. Also make sure to keep the graphic files sizes small. If you have a picture that takes too long to download, the surfer will exit. Remember not every computer is running on high speed. Double check all your links to see that they all work. Do not overload your pages with graphics, flash, music, banner ads or anything else that takes too long to download.

Keep the text on your site free of spelling errors. Even if your site looks great, a bunch of typos will ruin the surfer’s perception of your site and ruin your credibility. Use a spell checker and have a second person such as a friend or colleague read it. The text should flow naturally and should be easy to read. Avoid using extremely high vocabulary terms that no one understands unless it is a site aimed at certain professionals. Keep any and all articles you use updated. It is frustrating when you think you have found what you are looking for only to notice it was written in 1996.