Monday, April 09, 2007

SEOs - The new pornographers of the web

SEOs - The new pornographers of the web

The business managers in my last job wanted to give a good push on SEO to reach a wider audience, read higher page views. One part of the organization's web sites managed more page views by doing a number of changes suggested by the SEOs. The sites I managed weren't doing that great for many reasons - the primary reason being the pages do not change much to force the crawlers to visit the site more often. The belief was the more frequent a crawler visits your site, the chance of your site showing up in the first page of Google's results. The second important reason was - we just didn't have good content. That was an e-commerce site. Until the SEO buzz, getting good content from vendors means, getting a nice photograph of the product and nothing more.

In addition to the stand-alone e-commerce site, we were selling on Amazon too. Amazon's guidelines on the content gave me a good idea on what is important. I came to the conclusion that fixing the content first is the first step towards better performance is search results. Fixing the content is not easy considering the constraints from the vendor (poor detail, spelling and language) and from the application (limited fields / length).

I chose to get the content fixed with changes to the application and setting expectations with the vendors. This is better than running behind a phantom called SEO. I believe good detail and user experience are more important than search engine optimization. Translating this to brick-and-mortar model of businesses, the efforts are better spent in designing your shop in such a way that people can find the products they need easily than to put up huge hoardings to drive people to you shop.


Bala said...

When we optimise our page/site for Search Engines, how shall we treat contents which change regularly, say for example a news site or even a product case in this context. I think more of an OffPage SEO comes into play here. If OnPage SEO then we have to concentrate more on design and other stuffs rather that optimising the content Matter.

Suppose we consider a news site, the content changes every now and then, we can do more things with that(ofcourse we have to have a eye on spellings and other related stuffs you told).How to go about that?

Sridhar said...

I am no expert on SEO. I would say, keep the content rich and relevant for quality purposes and not for SEO.

In case of news site, you are talking about two pages - one the ever changing front page with news headlines and the other is the actual news item. The changing front page will automatically be picked up by Google proportional to the frequency of the change. The inner page will probably stay high in the ranking for a day or two and depending upon the number of links into it, it can go down or stay in the top ranks. Does this answer your question?

Well, My point is, do not aim to do anything specific for SEO. Do the right thing. In the example above, it makes sense to have the important links to the news items on the home page. In the inner page, the content must have relevant context. That's about it.