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Is Your Website Whispering To Search Engines?

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Today I was asked to look at a site and explain why it’s not ranking.  The answer… the site was whispering.

If you don’t have content, Google won’t know what your site is about.  But I don’t mean any old content.  I mean HTML text.

Oh… you say you have HTML content?  Let’s see if Google can hear it.

1. Perform a search in Google to get your page to show up.
2. Click the ‘cached’ link.

3. Click the ‘text-only version’ link.

4. Find a sixth grader and ask them to explain what this page is about.

I once heard that Google has a reading comprehension of a sixth grader.  If that’s true, then you need to speak to Google like a sixth grader.  Give simple context, but be specific.  Speak up!  Promote your message, hammer it home.  Don’t mumble (and spam your pages with junk content).

Granted there are a several ways you can add contextual relevance to a site, it doesn’t need to just be in the body.  Tags and links still play a big part, sure.  But why be shy in the body of your website?  Is it that “text is ugly?”  Is it that “people don’t read online?”  All untrue.  You read this post, and frankly, I think it looks rather beautiful.

Form vs. function, my friends.  Form vs. function.



    Comments

    The comments are do-follow. However, any comments that use keyword anchor text as the name will be removed.

    1. Lawrence
      July 16, 2010

      I’m planning a layout for a website that needs to be easy to navigate by ‘touch’ (think iPad).

      Rather than use text for link to the main sections and pages I am thinking of using buttons (graphics, including ALT tags).

      Do you think this will have a major impact on SEO?

      Reply


    2. Lawrence
      July 16, 2010

      I’m planning a layout for a website that needs to be easy to navigate by ‘touch’ (think iPad).

      Rather than use text for link to the main sections and pages I am thinking of using buttons (graphics, including ALT tags).

      Do you think this will have a major impact on SEO?

      Reply


    3. Steve
      July 16, 2010

      hi Bill,
      OMG! :)
      I wasn’t sure if you were making this site up, so I searched for “sofas unlimited” and then checked the cache. Yes, the site example is for real, and not only do they not have the word “sofas” on their home page, they don’t have the word “unlimited” either…
      Well, at least the two words are in their title (fortunately, web designers haven’t figured out how to turn a title into an image yet :) ).
      I would say this website isn’t even whispering to google… it’s talking in sign language, and google doesn’t know sign language.
      Good post backed up by a no-way-that-can-be-real OMG-it-really-is-real example!
      Steve

      Reply


    4. Steve
      July 16, 2010

      hi Bill,
      OMG! :)
      I wasn’t sure if you were making this site up, so I searched for “sofas unlimited” and then checked the cache. Yes, the site example is for real, and not only do they not have the word “sofas” on their home page, they don’t have the word “unlimited” either…
      Well, at least the two words are in their title (fortunately, web designers haven’t figured out how to turn a title into an image yet :) ).
      I would say this website isn’t even whispering to google… it’s talking in sign language, and google doesn’t know sign language.
      Good post backed up by a no-way-that-can-be-real OMG-it-really-is-real example!
      Steve

      Reply


    5. Bill Sebald
      July 19, 2010

      @lawrence – I totally get the usability of the graphics (and so does Google). I recommend you err on the side of caution and keep your graphics, but employ image replacement.
      http://www.mezzoblue.com/archives/2008/05/05/image_replac/

      Reply


    6. Bill Sebald
      July 19, 2010

      @lawrence – I totally get the usability of the graphics (and so does Google). I recommend you err on the side of caution and keep your graphics, but employ image replacement.
      http://www.mezzoblue.com/archives/2008/05/05/image_replac/

      Reply


    7. Charles
      July 29, 2010

      Nice post and nice thought. My suggestion here will be bring some noise(traffic) to website through Social Media.

      Reply


    8. Charles
      July 29, 2010

      Nice post and nice thought. My suggestion here will be bring some noise(traffic) to website through Social Media.

      Reply


    9. Skype
      July 30, 2010

      I think there was a feature in google webmaste tools that shows the way google bot sees the page. It can be used instead of cache :)
      .-= Skype´s last blog ..Patriot Inferno SSD ?????????? =-.

      Reply


    10. Skype
      July 30, 2010

      I think there was a feature in google webmaste tools that shows the way google bot sees the page. It can be used instead of cache :)
      .-= Skype´s last blog ..Patriot Inferno SSD ?????????? =-.

      Reply


    11. Foley
      August 10, 2010

      you say you have HTML content? Let’s see if Google can hear it.

      Reply


    12. Foley
      August 10, 2010

      you say you have HTML content? Let’s see if Google can hear it.

      Reply