Some people may be confused over difference between a search engine and a directory. Why is it important to be in both? To the everyday computer user it may seem transparent. What about those phone calls or emails that tell you they will submit your website to a “bazillion” search engines. Do they really mean search engines and are there really a “bazillion” of them out there? Next time they call I would ask them that question.
Read on for more information on Search Engines and Directories
I hate to admit it, but I am addicted to Google. Soon someone will develop a twelve step program for us Google addicts.
I find myself researching for hours who shows up on what page for certain key words and why. Luckily this is my business, but it has almost become a nightly game. Key words are only the beginning of the array tools Google offers; most of them in Beta version and free. I guess we can thank all the advertisers that use PPC (pay per click), they have made many of the tools and Google opportunities available to us.
Sometimes (a lot of the time) I feel guilty about the time I spend at night/day on Google, as a mother of three beautiful teenage boys, what am I doing spending my time on Google. They are probably glad that I have something else to do other than bothering them and; I am not one of those parents that can brag about how well my kids are doing in school. Shame on me.
It seems like not a day goes by in my life that Google is not in the news. What was it today, “Google Defends its Stand on Search in China”, and there will be something new tomorrow. Tonight I have decided to dedicate a category on my new and exciting Blog to the Google Gods (the day before Good Friday and a full moon, what could be more fitting).
Learn how to get a GMail account. (This may change over time but for April 2006 this is the rule)
First you need (must) have a gmail account, this is key to all most all of Gooooooooogle’s tools.
Below is the url to get a Google account:
For some reason they have decided to give out invitations when you give them your mobile phone number. I know many of you may be skeptical, but I would do it. Don’t worry. If you don’t want to give them your mobile phone number, then send me an email, toniCarr@gmail.com, I have some invites I would be glad to give out to interested parties.
See this page on Google for information to sign up without the invitation code or a mobile phone:
You will need to have an invite.
A recent study on Search Engine User Behavior “found that 62% of search engine users click on a search result within the first page of results, and a full 90% of users click on a result within the first three pages of search results.” The last study was done in 2002, when the statistics reflected 48% and 81%, respectively. As a search engine marketer this once again reveals the importance behind appearing on the first few pages of search results.My question would be are users learning to dig deeper for more personalized results and are the search engines providing the users with better results?
This study, supported by iProspect (a search engine marketing firm) along with Jupiter Research, also revealed that searchers are not only loyal to a specific search engine but they’re increasingly using lengthier queries. Most searchers, 82% stay with the same search engine after an unsuccessful search and try again with more or different keywords versus changing search engines. “Just 68% stayed with the same engine in 2002.” We are now seeing a new brand loyalty to search engines. It sounds like the search tool bars are working, I know it does for me.
This study also found that 36% of the searchers polled believe that companies whose websites are returned at the top of the search results are the top companies in their field. Slightly more (39%) felt neutral on this question. But then 25% said that top search engine rankings had nothing to do with market or brand leadership. Searchers are becoming more seasoned and doing more personalized research. Therefore getting your web site to be spidered deeper so that it will be found for these customized searches is even more important. The information also supports gaining a better understanding of who and how your clients are finding you.
For the entire article and more statistics you may read the article at:
Click this link for a full copy of the Search Engine User Behavior Study .
Many times the re-design of a web site will be very simple and may only include, a new look, additional content or new sections of information. But for many web site owners new technology is key and since technologies are constantly changing there are many different choices. One example of technology may be adding Flash or animation. This is not recommended for search engine optimization, but small flash animations maybe added to enhance the content. Flash along with a framed web site are not search engine friendly. Another option may include accepting payments or adding a shopping cart, this may be accomplished simply with a PayPal button or a customized shopping cart to fit your product and inventory needs.
Thinking about technologies:
- Who in your organization will be responsible for the technical issues? Are you depending on the web site designer to help make these decisions?
- What platform (operating system) and browsers are you targeting? Are your users in a specialized field or are your end users the general public?
- How do you expect new technologies to enhance the user experience? What return are you hoping to achieve? Are there specific technologies you are considering? Describe these technologies in great detail even if you are not sure what they are called. List web sites where you have seen the technologies used and refer to your experiences.
- Will the web site re-design include a password protected area?
- Will there be a need for e-commerce or secured transactions? Do you already offer transactions online? If so how would this site be different?
- What other specific programming needs may your site require such as:
- Online training
- Personalized Search
- Audio or audio and video
- User Forum – networking, creating a community
Marketing Your Web Site:
For some reason clients tend to think about marketing their web site after the web site has been designed and launched. Marketing should be woven through out the web site design process. Many of my clients have call me and proudly announce they just launched a new web site and want to do search engine optimization. Sometimes they are disappointed to realize that some of the work they have done should be altered or reorganized. This will be another area for examination; but for now these are a few points to consider:
- Do you have an existing or planned marketing strategy to promote the web site redesign? What are your short term marketing plans, 6-12 mos., (if any) for the newly designed web site?
- How do your current users find out about your website?
- What key words would prompt a listing on the search engines? Has anyone ever found your current site on the search engines? What pages on your site currently show up on the search engines and how will they redirected to the new site?
- Do you offer incentives to customers to visit your website? Do you have coupons or are you part of a referral network? Do you have a newsletter?
- How will your web site stay current? How often will it need to be updated and who will be responsible for these updates?
This is the second of a three part series on how to redesign your web site.
Part one is Web Site Design and Now a Redesign!
The next steps to achieve the best web site redesign, we first will look at some of the reasons for updating a web site. Technology is always changing, the architecture is outdated and it is important that your web business is perceived differently than what was accepted before. As more people use the internet your visitors change throughout time and they become more sophisticated and have higher expectations for a web experience. Another problem I see more often is the amount of information on a site outgrows the architecture and the site no longer navigates effortlessly or intuitively. Then the competition becomes more sophisticated and you are losing market share along with your rankings on the search engines. These new web sites are now being perceived as the authority in your industry. It is also time to review what you want your visitors to do when they get to your site. Below are some additional points to consider for a web site redesign. These are growing pains that plague all of us.
Who are your visitors:
- Who is your typical visitor? Describe them; what do they use the web for? Think about the demographics of each type of visitor. Are you attracting these visitors?
- What type of action would you like your visitors to take? Do you want them to call, make a purchase, fill out a form . . .
- What do you offer your visitors? (Discounts, customer service, great products)
- How many people are currently visiting your web site? Are you paying for those visitors with a PPC program? How are your visitors finding you?
- What key words would a visitor use to find your services? Do you use those targeted key words throughout your web site?
What is the perception of your business, both on and offline:
- Think about your site and how a visitor will perceive your new site? Is this any different from your current site? Is this any different from how your business is viewed offline?
- How is your business different from your competitors? Who are your competitors? List at least 5 URL’s of your competitors.
- List the URL’s of web sites that you like for any reason. List any web sites that you think may be similar in size and have content that matches your future business needs. The URL’s that you list do not have to be the same type of business. The information gathered will communicate to your web site designer visually how you want to be perceived.
Content – how will your business be found:
- Have you analyzed the targeted key words that a visitor would use to find your services?
- Who will approve the new content? Are you going to use an outside provider to develop the content? Does this person have internet writing experience and will it contain your targeted key words to help market your web site?
- Will the visuals (logos, images, charts, graphs) enhance your written content? Describe these elements and which will be used from the current web site. Will a graphic artist need to be employed to update your visuals?
- Do you have a site map for the projected new site? How has this changed from the old site?
Now that we have analyzed the visitors, competition and content, next we will analyze what new technologies will fit your web site structure. How will visitors find your new site, what are your marketing tactics.