Search-engine friendly web site design
Designing for people who use search engines
Many search engine optimization (SEO) professionals have different interpretations of the term search-engine friendly web design. To some, it means crawlability - making sure that web content is accessible to the commercial web search engines. Other SEO professionals believe that search-engine friendly design is indexation - making sure web pages are included in a search engine index.
What exactly is search-engine friendly web design?
On the surface, it might seem that the definition of "search-engine friendly web site" is a web site designed, written, and programmed to rank well in the commercial web search engines.
However, when I look a that definition, I can see how misleading it is. When companies create web sites, they do not create sites for the search engines. They design and write sites (hopefully) for end users. Because, ultimately, end users are the people who are going to purchase thousands or millions of dollars worth of products and services, not the search engines.
Likewise, the people who program the commercial web search engines are trying to satify their target audience: web searchers.
What is missing? The human element. First and foremost, web sites should always be designed, written, and programmed for human users. For that reason, I believe the definition of a search-engine friendly web site is a user-friendly web site that can be easily found in the commercial web search engines. In other words, search-engine friendly design is NOT designing for search engines. Rather, it is designing for people who use search engines. Maybe the more accurate term is "searcher-friendly web design."
Search-engine friendly design is designing a web site for people who use the commercial web search engines.
I also believe that the phrase "search-engine friendly" means that designers, developers, programmers, and copywriters are following the rules set forth by the search engines. The people who create and maintain web search engines do not want to include and display web pages created purely to rank. Pages created purely for ranking purposes are called doorway pages, which are often software generated and/or cloaked.
The people who run search engines and web directories (also called human-based search engines) want to deliver their users to the most relevant sites as quickly as possible. That is the value of a search engine -- delivering users to quality web sites with relevant information.
A search-engine friendly web site design satisfies multiple groups: humans and technology...e.g. searchers and search engines.
Article by Search Engine Visibility author Shari Thurow, Founder and SEO Director at Omni Marketing Interactive, a full-service search engine optimization (SEO), web site usability, information architecture (IA) and web design firm. Shari is also the co-author of When Search Meets Web Usability.
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