Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Does building for cusomers = building for search: Google responds

I did a post yesterday at WebInTravel on my belief that online travel companies end up designing their products around search result and that this is not necessary compatible with designing the produce with the consumer in mind. Claire Hatton - Google's Head of Travel in the Asia Region posted a response. Thank you Claire for joining in the conversation. Here is her comment in full
Hi Tim,

I usually don't comment on posts but I feel the need to give you the Google perspective on this one. Of course there are technical requirements such as clear structures and hierarchies that websites should include, so that any search engine can find and index your content.

To rank well in Google, site owners and businesses need to make their pages for users. We use hundreds of different signals to rank webpages. The reference to links and structures really just scratches the surface. Google has changed a lot and improved its ranking tools since PageRank was invented in the 1990s. Focusing only on links and other traditional SEO techniques is not the way to improve your site's rankings - in fact, building pages for search engines and not users is, in my experience, a surefire way to deliver a website that consumers don't like and that will not rank well.

What will drive good search rankings - and I have seen this from my experience working with travel companies - is making pages that consumers come back to, talk about, link to or reference, send to friends and generally enjoy using. In this sense the comment about url's is important - a consumer needs to be sure they are going to a relevant, trustworthy site.

We make all of this clear in our Webmaster Guidelines within Google Webmaster Tools, which are valuable resources for people building websites. Anyone who is interested can find them here:

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