Before the internet took off & every business had its own website, things were a lot easier. Businesses only had to worry about being prominent in the phone book or classifieds & that was pretty straight forward. Companies only had a couple of options, a big colourful, bold advert &/or an advert at the top of their category. As the phone book & classifieds were listed in alphabetical order, the name of your company became very important. This period of time saw the birth of a plethora of businesses called “AAA….” or “ABC…”.
People quickly realised that the internet needed to be searchable & two approaches were developed, Search Engines & Directories. Search Engines were generally automated using complex algorithms to produce results, while Directories were manually cultivated lists. Eventually search engines evolved to be the dominant method used to find information on the internet. Some of the early search engines include, AltaVista, Ask Jeeves & Lycos. The directories that were around in the early days included, VLib, Galaxy, Business.com, Look Smart & DMOZ.
Like with any industry, companies need to constantly evolve or risk dying. Unfortunately, most of the early search engines & directories were either bought by new competitors or went bankrupt. However, this opened the door for the current crop of search engines, these include, Yahoo, Bing & Google. Google is so dominant that its name is now a verb. People do not just search for things on the internet, they “Google” them. I predict that within 10, 20 years tops, that the traditional business phone book & classifieds will no longer exist in paper form if at all. People will “Google” everything.
The internet is not sorted alphabetically & search engines do not support big, bold colourful advertising, for the most part. So the traditional methods of being noticed are useless in a world where every business has a website. However, there is an answer, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). According to “Wikipedia”, SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid search results. Each search engine has a different formula for how this is calculated. As Google is the most dominant search engine, I will focus on what they consider important to achieve a high “Page Rank”. The information below was obtained from Google’s Search Engine Optimisation Guide.
Web Design Techniques & Strategies:
- Create unique, accurate page titles
- Make use of the “description” meta tag
- Improving Site Structure
- Improve the structure of your URLs
- Make your site easier to navigate
- Optimizing Content
- Offer quality content and services
- Write better anchor text
- Optimize your use of images
- Use heading tags appropriately
- Dealing with Crawlers
- Make effective use of robots.txt
- Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links
- SEO for Mobile Phones
- Notify Google of mobile sites
- Guide mobile users accurately
- Promotions and Analysis
- Promote your website in the right ways
- Make use of free webmaster tools
As you can now appreciate, there is a lot more to advertising your business on the internet than just hosting a pretty website. It is important that the company a business or anyone, chooses to design their website is fully versed in SEO. Otherwise you have potentially paid hundreds of dollars for a pretty website that no one will see. SEO is here to stay & will only become more important as time goes on. The best way to find a website design company that is also good with SEO is to search for exactly that, eg “Search Engine Optimisation Perth”.