Open. Transparent. Worthwhile. Trustworthy.
Certainly these are all traits one would demand of a significant other, expect from a Girl or Boy Scout, and hope for from their local politician. These also happen to be the exact same characteristics Google expects from credible websites. Google algorithms are constantly searching the internet, scanning websites for these aforementioned qualities and rating sites accordingly. When a website is indentified as possessing more of the qualities they are looking for, the site is richly rewarded by Google with the Google-equivalent of an Oscar. That being a favorable ranking by, arguably, the world’s most important search engines. On the other hand, if Google determines that a website does not meet its quality inspection smell-test, the offending website is dishonored with the Google-equivalent of a “Razzie award” and sent to www.purgatory.com.edu.org.net
Unfortunately, in its benevolent attempt to make the internet experience a pleasant one for all of mankind by removing spam, Google has inadvertently penalized honest, hard-working websites that mistakenly omit the characteristics Google has deemed necessary to prove the business’ legitimacy. Since site quality is determined on a scale of values, missing one, maybe two, of these characteristics may be excused by Google, and the site’s ranking may remain unscathed. Overlooking more of these characteristics places a website, and a business that depends on it, in serious jeopardy of disappearing from the high search ranking needed for survival.
What are some of the traits that Google is looking for in a quality website?
- A viable “About Us” page: The onus is on the business to prove that it is a real company, with real people who really run it. One way to do this is to tell the world (and Google. Mostly Google) what the business is, how it came into being and who the people are who run it. A nice touch (brownie points, perhaps?) might be to include a profile page that displays the pictures of the major players, as well as links to their Linkedin profiles and other social media connections.
- A working “Contact Us” Page: Scam sites purposely omit a contact page in order to dodge the law. Legitimate sites accidently omit a contact page because they didn’t realize the significance of having one, or lost it due to a technical error or because they got cute and name it something else Google doesn’t recognize (i.e. “Hit Us Here!”). Google spiders can’t tell the difference between honest mistakes or attempts at being clever from dishonest intentions.
- A street address: Something as simple as including an actual address, not just a contact form, can prove to Google that your doors are open for business. Even if the business doesn’t have an actual bricks and mortar location, companies have to get mail delivered somewhere. Having many ways for a customer to contact you (i.e. e-mail, phone numbers, and snail mail address) adds additional trustworthiness and validity to the site.
- Proper spelling and grammar: Let’s come right out and say it: a great many low-quality sites, representing less-than-stellar organizations, are often built by non-English speakers. Subsequently, the text and grammar contained within the site reflect deficiencies in the execution of the Queen’s English. That’s not to say that the most above-board website, built by legitimate web developers in the USA and elsewhere, are immune to an occasional misspelling or participle left dangling in the breeze. It is imperative that text be checked, and then double-checked, to catch innocent errors that humans overlook, but the bots working overtime for Google will spot—and judge, against the site.
To make matters even more perilous for honest businesses striving to represent themselves well in the virtual market place with a quality-built website, Google algorithms also judge how a website is marketed in order to gain a competitive advantage in the rankings. In a report submitted this week titled: SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2012, 87 percent of the nearly 900 search marketers who responded to the survey declared that Google’s algorithm changes, and increasing mobile web use have had a “significant” or “highly significant” impact on how sites are marketed online.
Further, Google changes its search algorithm 500 to 600 times each year!
The take-home message? Do not leave the fate of your livelihood in the hands of a web developer or web marketer based on such weak standards as a) who will do the work cheapest or b) the fulfillment of a promise to your neighbor/brother-in-law/co-worker to give his kid, who studies web development in school, “a shot”. What are the odds that the developer or marketer in either scenario is up-to-date with Google’s ever-changing standards?
The surest way of staying on the positive side of Google’s algorithms and maintaining a coveted place at the top of search rankings is to place your trust only with a web company that is fully aware of and follows best practices in web design and web marketing. IQnection has over 13 years experience and has developed over 13,000 websites. Our solid web designs provide stable code, state-of-the-art architecture as well as a sturdy platform for future growth. We also provide marketing solutions that have a proven track record of attracting visitors and increasing internet-based profits.
IQnection epitomizes the very traits Google seeks from a quality website: Open. Transparent. Worthwhile. Trustworthy.
Don’t become an innocent victim to Penguin and Panda penalties. Call IQnection at 215-345-5424 or contact us for a complimentary consultation regarding web design or web marketing you can trust your business to.