For most sites the majority of its visitors will come as a result of the site being listed in one or more of the major search engines. This means that getting listed in the right search engines, under the right heading near the top of the listings is essential.

Pictures vs Text ?
A need to make your site attractive to search engines will have a major effect on the way in which the site is built and what and where content is included.

For example most search engines, currently, give more importance to information they find on the front page of a site, but search engines are unable to interpret pictures or graphics, so it would be unwise to fill the front page of a site with pictures about a product/s to the exclusion of descriptive text.

A major lesson which many graphic designers have still not learned is that the front page of a website does not equate to the front cover of a magazine or a brochure.

Which search term ?
Most search engines that display a site will create a list of keywords or phrases which they will score in terms of importance. To compile this list a good search engine will use every clue it can find about each word, it will take into account where and how many times a word appears on a page, if the word or phrase is part of the site name or page name, if the word is used in headings or just in text, if it is used as part of a link on the front page.

One very important refinement in the search engine's technique is to check how many other sites link to the target site using the specified search term.

Because of misuse in the past, few search engines take any notice of the contents of the Keyword Meta Tag within the HTML code for the page.

How important is your site ?

Once a search engine has compiled a list of words or phrases that it thinks apply to a site, it then has to decide where in its listing the site should be displayed in response to a particular enquiry by a searcher.

Again, a good search engine will use every clue it can find, such as:

  • How much useful content it can find on the site.
  • How many "relevant" sites link to the site.
  • How long a visitor, that they send to the site, stays on it.
  • Which other search engines feature the site.

Which search engine ?
There are tens of thousands of "search engines" operating in many languages in hundreds of countries around the world. But the vast majority of traffic is handled by just a few major players. So it is important to check the popularity of a search engine when planning an advertising campaign.

A further complication is that most search engines draw their listings from other search engines databases, often more than one. So getting a site listed with a particular search engine can result in the listing appearing automatically in lots of other search engine listings.

The starting point
The design of a new web site needs to start with at least the answers to the following questions:

  • Who are the target visitors.
  • Which are their favourite search engines.
  • What terms do THEY use to describe what they are looking for.
  • Will they buy the product or service over the net.

You can find a fuller list of questions that should be considered in the Defining Targets section of this site.

If you would like to discuss your search engine strategy with us, then please click the button below.

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