I got a call from a relative tonight. We were talking about his business and its web presence (something more and more critical by the day). He was disappointed because search engines weren’t bringing a lot of traffic to the site. In fact, they brought almost none!
He’d looked into the idea of ‘search engine optimization’ or SEO and realized he had a problem. I opened my browser, looked at his site and realized the more he knew, the less happy he’d be with his site’s usefulness in the real world.
Search engines don’t see the Internet the way we do. They can’t understand pictures. There are also various methods of page markup that are, at best, difficult for them to understand.
My relative’s site was nearly 100% written in Adobe Flash. That’s one of those tough to read methods.
The site looks good to a human and horrendous to the machines that really decide what we’ll see. There are some small improvements he can make, but his problems are deep seeded.
I was having this discussion about SEO at work a while ago. I offered an opinion on story headlines and how they should be written. In TV, headlines are teasy. They promise to deliver something in the future, but give you almost nothing now.
On the Internet they can’t be done that way. People are searching online for what they scecifically want . They’re not looking for a play-on-words pun or ironic little twist. Headlines that tease and don’t convey the gist of the story are counterproductive on the net!
The intelligence built into Google or Yahoo isn’t as clever or adaptable as you are. Some very good content is lost, because it’s ‘too fast for the house.”
I will help fix my relative’s site, if asked. Sadly, I won’t be improving it for the end user. My goal is to make it more attractive to machines!