A basic rule of website design is that the site should provide a positive user experience to its visitors. While it’s true that a site that’s invisible to search engine robots might not get many visitors, it’s also true that a site that fails to consider humans is unlikely to keep those visitors – much less sell them anything. Search engine optimization and user experience are both crucial for a successful site and, much as I hate to say it, user experience, like content, is king. Unfortunately, traditional web design often misses the mark on both fronts.
Whenever a particular search engine optimization strategy is deemed to be less than kosher, a common condemnation is: “well, it might be interpreted as spamming”. For lots of our clients, that kind of comment isn’t viewed as helpful. Of course, they’re not spamming! What an idea! How could anyone see optimization for keyword search as spam?
Interestingly enough, identifying spam isn’t all black and white even for humans. When compiling the WEBSPAM-UK2006 database, researchers found that a central problem with many data sets in spam research was the lack of agreement between studies and even individual researchers as to what exactly qualified as spam. The identification process was analogized to that of confidently distinguishing pornography from art — in many cases, it is in the eye of the beholder.
So, what’s the answer? The growing focus on the duplicate content filters in search engine algorithms over the past few years have shown that things can change and can affect your rankings even when you didn’t do anything at all differently. How can you be sure that next year your efforts at keyword content optimization won’t suddenly put your site on the wrong side of the dividing line between good rankings and banishment?
We think the best way is to produce a quality site that you know your human visitors will appreciate. To do that, you need to keep on top of new developments in search engine optimization by reading blogs and online articles just like you’re doing right now. What do you think? Let us know.
Do you check your Alexa traffic rank every month? Every week? Every day?!
If so, don’t panic! You’re not alone. You’re an Alexaholic.
Alexaholics like to check their traffic rank a lot — they even have their own website! Alexaholic.com supports the Alexaholic philosophy with tools like a little “chartlet” for your site that displays your Alexa rank and an interface for easy traffic comparisons.
For all you non-Alexaholics out there, a word of explanation is in order. The Alexa Traffic Rank compares over 5,000,000 websites worldwide by how many visitors come to their sites each day and how they behave when they get there. By calculating the percentage of the total number of users who visit (they call this Reach) and the total number of pages that they view (called Page Views), Alexa comes up with a daily page rank. You can even compare your website with your competitors. This is a graph comparing the percentage of users who visited Google.com and MSN.com in the last year.