I have a number of domains and have recently started using Twitter. In addition I have a Facebook presence and network through Linkedin. With Linkedin I am part of a group as part of my membership of the Chartered Society of Designers. All of this would of course totally fail the Grandpa Test, to be honest my son thinks it is a load of tosh. However I have recently been Skyped by my father so he may be more receptive. The simple truth is that many people think it is all twaddle and quite simply don’t get it at all.
Last Friday I sat trying to explain Twitter to a customer who’s website we are currently developing and to be fair it is a hard thing to explain. The irony is that it was she who had first suggested Twitter for her website and I only joined the community to learn more.
Yesterday I Googled my name (I Google therefore I am?), my Twitter details came up third in the rankings. I am a convert.
Further searches brought my Linkedin status, references to my Twitter activity and this blog in the top six. I have only recently re-visted Linkedin and this self-hosted blog has been up for less than a month. Not bad, not bad at all.
About six months ago I couldn’t find myself through a reverse search on Google at all, I just didn’t appear either through my own name or as Design Credo. Of course there was a simple reason to this, my Design Credo website was set up quite some time ago and things change. Around the time we developed the site I took a break from design and moved into education, the site wasn’t attended to although it has remained hosted throughout. When we set the site up we didn’t really attend to making the site search engine friendly and anyway conditions were very different then.
So, any ideas what started here in 1998?
This was the starting point for Google
Last year according to Marketingmagazine.co.uk Google broke through the $100bn threshold;
The study found that the internet search giant has reached a brand value of $100,039m, a 16% year-on-year increase. It is trailed by Microsoft and Coca-Cola, which took the second and third spots respectively.
Twitter’s $100 million round is over 1025 times the amount of money they raised in its very first round of funding. In July of 2007, Twitter raised $97,500
It is worth noting that the same article also mentions;
Twitter has yet to make a single cent in profit. Weâ€™ll let you be the judge of what that means. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Smell The Coffee
All terribly interesting but what’s this got to do with me? Well, quite a lot really and it’s not too bad. There are huge audiences to be targeted through online methods but there is no point to standing at the edge of the pool and dipping your toes.The concepts need to be understood and embraced.
The first issue that I regularly come across when designing websites is that they ask very fundamental questions. “What do I do?”, “what am I trying to sell or market?” (personally I prefer the term communicate). If the customers aren’t absolutely certain what they are selling initial progress will be slow. Further to that it helps to know who we are aiming to engage with in this online endeavour.
Many customers may have websites that seem to make perfect sense but for some reason don’t perform. One of the first basic errors is that they assume the reader has a base level of understanding. This may be reasonable for people but not much use when it comes to search engines. Search engines really need things to be spelled out, in proper, value laden, keyword-rich text.
A proven track record has helped us establish ourselves as a leading practice in Thambridge and investment in IT keeps (us) at the forefront of modern business practices and helping us to offer cost efficient advice.
This is perfectly reasonable but could anyone say what this customer actually does? This text appears near the top of the page and as such ranks fairly highly in Google Value. The company are in good company though.
Google places a high value on;
So if you were a multi-national company would you put the web address of the home-page as the Page Title on their website? Starbucks do, Google even discuss this in their online SEO seminars. Other useful Starbucks page titles include “Our Stores – Default” and “Contact Us”. It has to be said that when I viewed the Starbucks site the “Visit our International sites” link wasn’t functioning either.
Ok so Starbucks have a huge brand, and people will probably search by brand and can afford to improve their rankings by buying results. When I searched “exeter coffee shop” Starbucks does appear but it gains similar results to the locally based Boston Tea Party. BTP have very little searchable text on the home page and for some reason Costa Coffee don’t even seem to exist in Exeter although I am sure I have drunk a mediocre Cappuccino there.
So the good news is that there is scope to do better than others. Further to this it isn’t rocket science. The rules do change but at the moment a bit of thought and research at the point when a website is being developed will reap benefits in search engine rankings reasonably quickly.
Next time I will give examples but for now video below puts flesh on the bones if you are interested, it’s a bit ‘steady’ though. Alternatively have a quick look at this article.