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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Daily Feed Issue #8: "Useful" and "user-friendly" websites

I'll be away until Sunday. Since I'm free at the airport, I'll advance post up some interesting sharing. Will be up whole week :D Hope it helps you in gaining the traffic you always wanted ;)

Welcome to Issue #8 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page.

This week we're focusing on getting and keeping search engine traffic. Earlier this week I introduced a general philosophy for SEO:

"Create new, unique and useful web pages, host them on a user-friendly website that Google can understand and make sure the right people know about them."

We've been breaking down this philosophy as a broad approach to SEO and discussing each of the colored words above. As the weeks progress we'll dive deeper into each of the elements in this approach. Rest assured that you're building a solid foundation in SEO and that the principles I outline in the coming weeks are the same principles that the busiest and most successful websites in the world use to get and keep search engine traffic.

So far we've introduced the importance and the meaning of creating 'new' and 'unique' content. Today we're going to cover 'useful' and 'user-friendly' as it relates to search engine traffic.

"useful"

When I write these newsletters I try to pack in facts you can use. If I just have a bunch of fluff every day just so I can send you one useful piece of data every second week, you're probably going to get your advice somewhere else right? Google feels the same way about the web pages it sends visitors to. The page should answer the question the web surfer asked Google as effectively as possible. If another page is more useful and Google is doing their job right, they should send the surfer there instead.

If you have a website on quilting and Google sends you someone wanting to know how to do a rag edge stitch (don't ask me how I know about this) you'd better tell them how to stitch rag edge with as much useful information as possible. If you don't the visitor isn't going to be very happy with you or with Google's ability to find stuff. They'll leave your site and they'll go and use Bing. [No offense Bingers!]

"user-friendly"

Ever arrived on a site and a box appears in the middle of your browser obscuring the content? Or how about those sites where the ad blocks the entire site until you click close, at which point it opens a popup window. Doesn't that just make you want to climb into the screen and...

Once again, lets think like a Google employee. We want the websites we send searchers to:
  • To be Fast! Remember last week's focus on speed? This is massively important when it comes to user-friendliness and user satisfaction. I hope you took notes.
  • To be Easy to navigate. Menu's should be clear and easy to access and understand.
  • To contain the same content that the search engine indexed. Sites that show search engine crawlers one thing and then visitors another get banned from Google. This technique is called cloaking and it's very bad.
  • To have content that is easy to read and not obscured by a bunch of ads.
Earlier this week I was again reminded of the importance of speed. Our site load time dropped by about a second thanks to high traffic across our servers. The conversion rate (number of people who buy things) dropped by a few percentage points as a few people who were used to our pages loading in a tenth of a second didn't want to wait around for a mere extra second.

Making your site fast and user-friendly is an ongoing project. The good news is that every improvement you make yields measurable results that increase user loyalty and revenue.

Tomorrow I'm going to start chatting about building a website that Google (and other search engines) can understand. It's is a big subject and it will probably overflow into next week when we'll finish with the other really big subject of SEO: letting the right people know about your site ( also called link development).

Regards,

Mark Maunder
Feedjit Founder & CEO

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