Monthly Archives: February 2006

Content is King, Usability is Queen, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a Joker.

Posted by on February 1, 2006

I recently was having a discussion with a ‘marketing specialist’ who was complaining that Google had dropped his site from the search rankings. He used to be in the top 10 of the Google search engine results page (SERP) but now he is nowhere to be seen. Going on and on about how much money he was losing in sales per month, and how Google was going to personally destroy his company.

Yes, he admitted, he was getting traffic from other sources (other search engines, some pay per click traffic), but it was Google that was on his mind.

I asked if they were using any SEO techniques that would be considered cheating. He looked at me as if I was new to the planet. “Of course, how else do you get to the top of the SERPs?” I just smiled and asked if I could see his site.

The Web site was very common for his industry (I’ve done sites in that industry, too, so I recognized the format right away). It was basically a shopping cart, lots of marketing graphics, and TONS of tricks to get Google to notice it.

No content. No articles. No forum, blog, or community building features. Not even a decent FAQ. Just marketing ‘sell’, ‘Sell‘, ‘SELL‘ messages with a lot of ‘Buy now!‘ graphics. I am sure you know what I mean.

No wonder the floor fell from underneath him when Google did an update to its search algorithms. There was nothing left to use once the tricks were ignored.

Tip: Create a Web site that users will love and want to use, and Google will follow.

I am not saying “Build it and they will come”. Not by a long shot. There are billions of Web pages, and not enough people are going to fall into your site (in your target audience, and a qualified buyer, in the correct mindset) out of nowhere to keep you in business.

However, it is a good starting point.

If you take a look at the top 10 results of an average Google search, one thing is usually common to them all: content. They have something you want. Information, views, facts, gossip, whatever, but they have content, and it’s probably well written and organized.

Too many companies are trying to reverse engineer Google. What are they looking for? How can I trick their software spiders into giving me preference?

They should turn around and think of it from Google’s point of view. Google is on top of the search world. Why? They spend time trying to find out what their search customers want and then figure out how to give it to them.