You just had a great looking new website built. But what does Google think of it? What do the search engines think of the sleek design with the flash header, blended shading and drop-down menus?
Well, if the design is unique, you will receive a little credit for it – since you haven’t created what is termed as “a cookie cutter site”. But the great looks don’t count for anything with Google. Sorry, but search engines do not reward you for artwork!
What the search engines DO consider is the usability and layout, the content, and the SEO, or search engine optimization.
Usability and Layout
Search engines can determine the structuring of your website and whether it will be easy to navigate or not. For instance – do you have your navigation links close to the top of your site? Are all pages easy to reach, without having to navigate through a maze of links to get to it? A website can be big without being complex. As long as it is logically structured, and every page is linked to from at least one other page, you will do just fine.
Do you just have a few lines on the front page, telling what you do? In fact, how much content is there on all your web pages combined? Keep in mind that people use search engines to find information. As such, Google has the approach of providing their users with the best possible user experience – meaning that they will send their visitors to the website with the best and most relevant content.
Take note – NOT to the website whose employees can offer the best answers – just to the website that offers the best answers. Google sends visitors to websites, not people – so how good your company is, is irrelevant if your website does not portray it.
On the good side – many websites that belong to professional companies don’t measure up well under Google’s scrutiny – making it easier for the little guy to do well in the search engine results!
SEO – or Search Engine Optimization
If you are not familiar with the term, consider this: Every office has a filing system. Invoices go here, staff info goes there, quotes go there – and everything is marked clearly. SEO uses tags to “mark” or indicate what is what – including titles, descriptions, links, and also what the importance of any given item is. Of course, if the tag specifies that a specific page is about “topic X”, then the page has to be on topic – or you will pay the price for trying to fool Google.
All in all, what Google thinks of your website is based on the content, the “filing system” (SEO) and the usability (ease of use for the visitor). How it appears to the human eye is completely irrelevant.