I'm constantly surprised at how some of the things I take for granted as a web designer aren't necessarily common knowledge. If you work with something regularly it becomes routine to you, but still a mystery to others. That always happens to me with "SEO," or search engine optimization.
When I first learned about SEO I was blown away at how much is going on behind the scenes of a website! I always thought that Google and other search engines just constantly monitored the internet and once I was online, millions of people would be knocking on my door. That couldn't be further from the truth. If you have a business website and you DON'T optimize the site or properly market it, you are losing money, plain and simple.
Now, with this new announcement from Google, it's going to get even more difficult. A whole new layer of competition is being added! Let me throw some technical jargon at you:
- Keyword density
- Meta tag descriptions
- W3C HTML conformity
- Code weight
- XML sitemap submission
- Page load performance
If you don't know what those terms mean, your business website is absolutely not performing as well as it should.
The reason I'm ranting a little bit here is that I know someone who recently built their own website using an online "site builder" utility. Sure, that's fine for a family site, or an informational site, but horrible if you're trying to make money. Utilities like that are designed to bring THEM more business, not you. Not only do they lack polish, but unless someone is searching directly for your website's name, they aren't going to find you.
Now Google has announced they are going to factor page load times into their search results. For example, if you are currently the #1 ranked site with Google but your page isn't very quick to load, it will hurt your standings! I started benchmarking all my client sites today to make sure they aren't going to suffer.
If you have a business website or are getting ready to build one, take the time to learn about SEO! It really will make a world of difference. Unless of course you don't like making money...