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Does Design Matter When Marketing Your Website To Search Engines?
Chris Behan - President, Socius Marketing, Inc.
Absolutely! Beyond properly optimized web content, the design and link structure of your website is one of the most important aspects of your website, and also can be the most difficult to get right. Designing sites with only Flash, frames, or graphics will almost ensure the site never ranks well. I know, some programmers will say they know how to optimize sites using these techniques, and in some cases it is possible to have the content on these site read by search engines, but they are forgetting one major factor: Your site has to compete with millions of other sites.
Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you were conducting a search, and you came across a natural search engine listing for a site that was coded using strictly Flash, frames, etc.? It doesn’t happen very often. It’s because these sites, while sometimes cached by search engines, don’t compete well in search engines.
If there are thousands of sites offering the same products and services as your company, and they do everything right with their website from content to design, then those are the sites that are going to rank well in search engines. I liken it to professional athletes. They don’t just do one thing really well, they do everything well. They all can run, hit, catch, throw, etc. really well.
This does not mean you have to have an ugly website for it to perform in search engines. Rather, you can have a site that balances your company’s image and brand with your need to rank well in search engines. We know this for a fact because the sites we create at Socius look fantastic, are easy to navigate, and perform well in search engines.
Here are some basic questions to ask yourself before designing your new website:
is the purpose of the site? Is it simply an online
brochure, or do you want it to be part of a complete
marketing program that generates online sales or
leads for your sales department?
Does the site need to maintain a brand that you
have created offline?
Do people search for your company’s products
and services online, and if so, what keywords or
phrases do they use to find you? (Socius will happily
give you a free report that gives you this information.)
If you are planning on using a shopping cart, what
language will be used to code the site (i.e. html, php, asp, etc.)? This is an important decision, particularly since it directly affects which shopping carts you'll be able to implement on your site.
- And finally, who are you going to make responsible for designing and marketing your site? This may sound like a funny question, but the point we are trying to convey is that your site should not be just a technical issue or a just marketing issue. On many occasions, we’ve seen cases where the marketing department of a company created a highly graphical website that looks great, but will never be found through a search engine. On the other hand, we have also seen cases where programmers coded the site in a way that was easy to maintain, but impossible for search engines to rank. Thankfully, there is a way to have a website that ranks in search engines, is easy to maintain, and is beautiful!
In closing…Your site has to do everything really well to rank in search engines and that is where Socius Marketing comes in. In very fundamental terms, Socius will make your site better than your competitors' sites because we can provide better content, better design, better link structure, better information, and so on. The better your site, the higher it will rank, meaning the more sales and sales leads you will receive.