Building sites for users, not just Google
- Oct 25th, 2015
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Website builders have come under a lot of scrutiny over the last few years. The hype surrounding Google and its algorithm changes has made the day-to-day of a site developer change greatly, or at least how it’s perceived. Most contractors started to believe that when you build them a site it should be ready to climb to the top of the search results pages immediately. However, this couldn’t be farther from the case.
When Google set up its Panda algorithm they foresaw a future of web pages ranking only for ridiculous reasons. This algorithm change left pages with duplicate or thin content out. This has led to what I believe to be an important aspect of the fight for developers. Without content marketers doing their job and creating interesting articles and information for their readership the website is doomed.
We often think in terms of only rankings and that leaves a site keyword stuffed, and bland. To truly write information or provide photos or graphs that clearly say something clever or valuable in the community of your readership is not only a way to create for humans, but is exactly how Google should want it’s searches to prioritize.
In case you’ve spent hours writing and cataloging information but haven’t seen the return, you may want to consider repurposing for your audience.
Several pieces of code that you should remember:
To some, this is simply child’s play. To others, this is a whole new vortex of intrigue.
H1 tags: Header One tags can be your best friends. After the Hummingbird Algorithm update, an influx of top search results was seen to contain questions in the H1 tag. Respectively the content proved an answer to the question and served to inform users rather than simply hawk products to them. Although these influxes are not an exact science, the Google knowledge graph does confirm that these question and answer results are in response to the way we use mobile, which won’t be going away anytime soon.
To take full advantage of the header one tag on your page, consider what a user may be asking when they are searching for your page and adjust the format of the question thusly.
Meta Description: For years it’s been debated, whether the text here is actually sending clues to rankings at Google, but whether or not that is true actually isn’t important. This is another case of writing for humans rather than Google because in the long run, if done correctly, you’ll be doing both.
This is your calling card, and if you write something in the Meta description that can pull in people and promise them that your site is going to satisfy their search then you’ve really accomplished two things. First, you’ve created a statement that builds trust, and the click-through traffic here will send a positive single to the rankings. Secondly, if the Meta description was accurate enough, and the user stays on your site, then your site has a smaller bounce rating. These two things are both serving Google and the people and are very important.
Some sites are completely gorgeous but feature no information to users or Google bots, others simply look terrible and read like an encyclopedia. While the latter might work for Wikipedia, it’s not going to be as successful for someone trying to sell plumbing services. It’s important that the middle ground is sought after.
People do find comfort in a nice looking website, as it builds trust. However, there are times when this interferes with content, and overtakes the message of the site. Finding a middle ground isn’t always easy, but keep in mind that you should make content that is easy to read and looks nice.
On the content side of things one should try to write good headlines, informative posts, and package articles with good design that will ultimately encourages sharing. When considering the nature of the websites design, consider usefulness on mobile and responsiveness in general. Here are a few tools to assure quality control on your final design.
When in doubt, you should always be creating the kind of content that you want to see. Don’t let design interfere with your message either, allow it to help frame it instead. The web is already loaded with information so make sure to highlight your personal voice too. If you’re writing for people like yourself then the Google rankings will follow. Build it and they will come.