How to create a visible Internet website?
- You're at home and you feel like buying a book. Like more and more people these days, you take to your computer and in the Google Internet search bar, you type in your query:
Example : "Buy Bilbo the Hobbit Tolkien"
- The words in that query represent the keywords that define your expectations. All of a website's SEO problematics are encompassed in this simple scenario.
In this guide, we'll present you with the keys to success on the path to creating a professional website.
In the previous example, which results do you want Google (the dominant search engine in the world) to return?
- A page that matches that book precisely and presents the book, author and purchasing process?
- A more generic page onto which you'll be presented with all the different products (books, movies, cameras) so that you may find what you're actually looking for?
- A page that displays the awesome once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a great bargain, a seasonal promotion for... a 24" flat screen?
Without hesitation, it should be obvious that the first answer hits closer to home. It matches your expectations without ambiguity. That's what makes the quality of a professional website, it respects users' expectations and it's organized so that getting to they're actually looking for is smooth and natural.
What is an Internet website?
Everyone is talking about "internet websites".
According to recent surveys (as of January 2014), there are about 600 million websites in the world. Depending on the sources, it is estimated that only 50% to 60% of companies have a website. On top of that, it should be noted that only about 25% of all websites have been updated or modified in the past year.
Let's be clear about it: The mere notion of an "internet website" doesn't really exist.
A website is actually a series of pages that can take many different forms:
- Information pages
- Blog pages
- Product pages
Those pages rather than a "website" are then presented by search engines (be it Google, Yahoo, Bing) to the users when they type in a query.
Another hands on example:
An internet user is looking for a photo editor to fine-tune and touch up the photos he or she brought back from a trip to the Bermudas. In his search bar, he types in the following query:
On its website, Pikock has a page that presents its flagship photo editor Pimagic. Since Google considers that tool relevant to the query, it is then presented in the search results.
When the user then gets on that page, they will in turn gauge the relevance of the online photo editor and if they're satisfied, they might decide to browse other pages of Pikock's website.
That is how certain visitors will actually consult other sections of the website and discover more pages about the Pikock offer (free website audits, SEO workshops, blog, community management, general advice, etc).
To conceive a professional website is to accept that the pages that compose its whole are as many doors for the user to come on in through. As such, each single one of them needs to be a potential home page and provide the user with precise information about a given topic. It only follows that the lingo, titles and photos must cater to that specific goal and have to be structured in ligth of a particular informative vision.
That is why we like to say that a website is akin to a magazine or a journal, in the way that it can be freely consulted with a precise order and it lets the user navigate between its different sections.
Creating a website: what are we talking about here?
When you're searching something online, the suggestions that Google provides are in fact propositions for web pages that are deemed relevant and that pertain to your initial query.
Let's go over our Bilbo the Hobbit book example one more time:
Google presents you with the pages that match your query and expectations best. It doesn't pick those pages at random.
You'll probably have noticed that all the pages proposed in the results mention the name of the book and the author you initially provided in your query. In fact, just looking at the bolded words in each page is enough to immediately realize that those are the ones you had initially selected.
Those pages are presented first because they have been designed to provide a precise and laser-focused answer to a given user's question.
If you then choose to click the first result (the one you deem the most relevant of all), you'll end up on the page of a website that deals with your initial demand specifically; Border's.
That page is in turn linked to many other ones, creating a coherent networke: a website (here, Border's).
The talent and skills of a good website architect thus lie in:
Conceiving web pages whose content is precise and relevant, so that it may attract attention Creating in each page, interactions with other ones so that it may entice the viewer to discover other sources of content or products, i.e. to stay on the website
As such, your mindset whilst overhauling or creating your website needs to take those factors into consideration.
Your customers are not looking for a website, they're looking for information located on the page of a website.
How to create a website: a first summary.
The notion of "homepage" doesn't really exist, only maybe for technical reasons tied to the technical constraints of creation process.
Each page of your website is filed by Google at a precise location of its own internal library of pages, depending on the analysis of its contents.
That's why each one of them needs to clearly indentifiable by search engines, who will ultimately get to decide whether or not to present it to potential internet visitors. Being clear about the page's contents and objectives, providing the proper keywords is thus the best way to ensure that Google will understand for which types and range of queries your page would constitute a good result.
Furthermore, on each page, navigation to other parts of your website should be facilitated as much as possible to ensure a smooth user experience and extended visits.
While no one can reasonably claim to understand the formula underlying Google's page ranking system, it is certain that helping Google comprehend your objectives with a given page goes a long way in getting it to be well-referenced. It is also a virtuous circle because if Google can clearly identify the page's content and notices that users seem to be satisfied with the results, it will tend to present that page higher and higher. That is how the Pimagic application is now on the first page of Google results.
3. Creating a website: the specifities of that medium
A. The contents need to be rich, varied and easy to digest
Internet has now become the #1 information medium in the world and is on it way to become a central sales platform behemoth as well.
In your home country or abroad, it simply gets you closer to your prospective customers, making way for exciting new development perspectives. That holds true for your company, but it also does for your direct competition which can new more easily than ever tap into your customer base.
As a direct consequence, whatever your line of work might be, your web pages are competing against thousands of others.
B. Your content needs to be rich and varied
On Google, visitors are picking results from the first page of results 90% of the time. That is why it is of the essence to provide content that is authoritative, rich, relevant to your customers' demands and which touches all bases with regard to your particular domain.
The work you need to do at your company's level is thus:
Precise marketing to pinpoint the lexicon used by your customers online. The better and finer the analysis, the better your ranking in the results. Precise redacting when creating your pages so that the associated keywords are not only clearly identifiable but also well-positioned in the page without impacting the user's reading experience. The rise of blogs and other means of expression such as videos, photos and infogrpahics is directly tied to that necessity: constantly providing your customers with quality, thoroughly redacted, relevant and actualized information about your work, goods, services, etc.