The only thing Googlebot and other search engine robots “see” when they crawl, categorize, and index Web sites is text.

They don’t care that your site was designed by the latest award winner, or that you have the next Bill Gates, sitting out the back furiously spitting out code.

What bots do look for in text, is relevant content. Spend your time putting together great information and Google and the rest of the search engines will hunt you down, index your site, and rank it well. (Google recommends you use the Lynx viewer to see how your site appears to the Googlebot)

Sounds simple right? It is, but here’s the kicker. People are wary of simple things, especially when it comes to technology.

So, let’s take a step back.

The major search companies, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! are just that–companies.

They want to make money (they are a business after all) and they are really, really good at it. Their chief concern is to find content that will bring them more traffic and advertising revenue, and the only way they can do that is by spitting out relevant results.

Think about it. If you are type “Ice Hockey” into Google, and it comes back with a list of a hundred sites dealing with refrigerators, chances are you will try another search engine. Can you really imagine Google saying, “…Um, no, No…thanks anyway, but why don’t you go to Yahoo! instead?”  This is an extreme example, but it will serve you well to remember this.

Write for the user is the mantra, but really, it’s just a variant of what is taught in journalism school – write for the audience.

To do this effectively, be prepared to spend time learning and researching. I said it was simple, not easy.

Webster’s Dictionary defines simple as:

“not elaborate or complicated; plain.”

It defines easy as:

“requiring no great labor or effort.”

You have to invest time and effort into writing your content.

Brush up on your grammar skills; write well constructed, succinct content, include enough varied information on the subject so your visitors don’t need to go elsewhere, use words that you know your users are interested in, and voila, your site suddenly becomes hugely attractive to the Googlebot.

Let’s say your forte is stone - specifically travertine, limestone, marble and apple stone. You want to hit the global market, even a local market, so the obvious choice is an online business - or you want to offer information to existing customers - or you want to attract new customers - doesn’t matter, the nett result is the same - you need an online presence and you need the search engines to see you.

There are three ways you can approach this.

The ‘easy’ route:

Build a Web site; take amazing shots of your work, post beautiful imagery on your site, describe what you do, put in costs and contact details, and then sit back. And wait. I guarantee you will still be waiting in six months; wondering why your site has no visitors (other than Aunt Gertrude) and why Google doesn’t see you.

Complicate the simple stuff:

Start by investigating search engine optimization (SEO). Learn about keyword density. Try and work out the algorithms. Put your site up and stuff as many keywords in as you can…

Given you are working with photographs; you will most likely stuff your image tags with keywords too.

Guess what? Googlebot will see you, BUT – remember what I said robots being simple? They work to formulas that will look at your site, see it is filled with useless information, and brand you “spam” (like the Monty Python song, spam is an endless repetition of worthless stuff). When a search engine deems your site spam, it goes away and ignores you.

Effort: Invest in mental power:

Start thinking laterally.

Sure, do all of the things in the ‘easy’ example above, but then do more. Remember, the more information you provide, the less reason your visitor has to go to another Web site, and isn’t that your goal? To entice the visitor to stay, look around, and ultimately buy your gorgeous stone?

So what else could you include? How about:

  • What is marble/travertine/limestone/apple stone?
  • Types of stone
  • Terminology or jargon explanation
  • How to care for marble/travertine/limestone/apple stone
  • How do you get so many colors?
  • How water affects stone
  • The process of manufacturing stone
  • Diagrams showing technical specs*
  • Other uses for stone
  • Benefits of using stone over tile

*If you choose to have the technical specs as an image make sure you label the image really well - eg.

“Technical-specifications-for-Urban-brvc” not “urban_brvc.gif”

You don’t want the URI reading: “Urban_brvc.gif”

This applies to the tool tip as well, instead of “basins” the tool tip should be very specific e.g. “Urban brvc basin”

By writing to the user, you have written to the search engines as well. Yes, it definitely will take more time to put together a site like this, but if you want the search engines to reward you, you need to put in some effort.

Oh, and if you think your work is now done, think again. Time moves on, and new information becomes available. Your visitors want regularly updated information, along with the basic reference material they have come to love on your site. Guess who else likes to see updated content. Yep. Those simple bots searching the Web—don’t disappoint them.

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  1. 26 August 2008 10:54


  2. 12 November 2008 9:05

    Nice article!

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