The Essential Web Site Check List – Part 3

First of all, I want to apologize for using Pittsburgh Pirate Ronny Paulino in my post about content management systems (step #2). He’s probably my favorite Bucco and it’s clear that I jinxed him. So no q&a today. The Pirates, set for a resurgence, don’t need me adding bad luck to the cause.

With mea culpa out of the way, let’s explore why you should think about Google, Yahoo! and those other search engines when you’re having your Web site developed or redeveloped.

#3: Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO), as described in our internet marketing term glossary, is a fancy way of saying search engine friendly. Simply, there are things you can do to your site to make the search engines show it higher when people search for terms related to what you sell or do.

Visual Difference between Natural Listings and Paid Search Ads

Look at the picture below to see the difference between paid search, or pay per click advertising, results and natural listings, which you can click to enlarge.


I’ve shaded the boxes of the paid search results to make it easier to focus on the natural listings. (BTW, a proper online marketing strategy if you have the funds – in the majority of cases – should incorporate both pay per click advertising and natural search. I’m not picking sides here.) These are the results you can change with proper search engine optimization. But how, asks Ronny Paulino you?

Content & Credibility

Search engines like Google use really complicated formulae, or algorithms, to determine rankings for sites automatically. These formulae often use 100+ variables. Most of these variables, however, boil down to two things: Content and Credibility.

Credibility as Judged by Search Engines

Let’s start with the latter. Search engines are constantly tweaking their formulae in order to try and make their results give the searcher what they’re looking for as if a human being actually picked out the results. In order to do this, they look around at what other sites on the Web are saying, so to speak.

The search engines do this by seeing what sites are out their linking to yours – how many are linking, are they related, are these other sites of high quality, how are they linking, etc. They reason, one assumes, that if other sites are linking to yours, their in effect vouching for you.

Gaining this credibility typically involves link building, which doesn’t have much to do with building a site, so I digress.

Web Content

But when you’re building a site, you’re adding in content. Visitors need something to read, right?

Well, the search engines look at the amount of content on your site, how much each page contains, what keywords are on each pages, how often are they used, where are they used, etc.

They also look at content that most surfers never see: stuff in the source code that your site’s built in by the Web developers. If you ever hear terms like alt tags or meta tags, this is what people are referring to.

If you’re having someone writing content for your site, or even if you’re writing the copy yourself, you want to think now about having your developer work on SEO. Or hire an outside SEO firm to work with the developer.

It’s faster and less expensive to do it now and the search engines will start looking at your site as soon as they detect changes. Since the results of SEO work can take 2-9 months to fully bear fruit, you might as well do it now. Soon enough you’ll start seeing an increase in quality traffic for which you’re not paying any ad costs.

Hopefully that explains the benefits of search engine optimization and why you want to consider it while your having a Web site developed, albeit somewhat briefly.

Check back soon for the fourth and final entry in your quintessential Web development check list.

Next: Web Site Usability…

digital marketing expert Justin Seibert

About The Author

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

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