Web Design Becomes a Commodity… Again

webGoogle does it again. They have turned the tables on web design by forcing your web design team to be less creative and more technical. How so?

  1. Google has gotten too smart for the nerds. The day of adding keyword laden meta-tags and descriptions to your webpages are gone. It was simple then to provide “leading” marketing copy within the website header to properly instruct the crawlers as to the content of the website. Google now uses a nifty combination of complicated algorithms and “human readability” indices to decide whether or not your site is a legitimate B2B or B2C entity, to differentiate it from a directory, a link farm, a landing page, etc.
  2. SEO masters shape traffic on “What NOT to do” vs. “What to do” instruction. Because its nearly impossible to know how Google is ranking your page we have discovered those things that Google will penalize you for. So, your web designer and/or digital marketing agency must keep a comprehensive and more importantly, up-to-date list of  “things that will penalize you” in order to make sure their sites are not immediately crippled with Google penalty notices through Webmaster Tools. Your website’s Search Engine success could read like a perscription of doing all the right things, by not doing any of the wrong things.
  3. Google still has no concept of “creative”. It’s readability indices have everything to do with proper percentages of text with deference given to ranking and weighting to the types of words on the page. Pretty image galleries, AJAX driven forms, and in-page applications only detract from your Google site and page scores as they serve to slow page loading and interrupt the search bots from properly scraping content. You learn this from years of trying to beat down that single web page built back in 2004 with only 500 words, no tables, and just a half-dozen small graphics on it. Fast loading, simple to crawl, text comprehension low, and lots of years of being there = a Google SERP darling!
  4. Social Signals throws everything off. Google now is taking in those hits from social media sites, mentions, comments and likes as buzz “created with purpose.” Since Google has no measuring stick for human cynicism, humor or irony… results from social signals can be uncommonly bad. For instance, a user avatar of a cuddly bear from a high-tech forum can be scraped up by Google images, presented in search and then “pinned” on a popular Pinterest board for fabric softener. Does the social signal juice go to the fabric softener company, or the high tech forum? Or both?

Web design will always be a platform for where form and function meet. We start our designs out with a preponderance of function, and then trim back the corners for clients who object to the austere design elements or search optimized page text. In a client discussion this morning I made this clear.. “Your website text will be written to attract and interest the Google search engine, then when we have human beings visiting your site, it’s our job to guide them to what we wanted them there for in the first place (buy, click, call).


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