Findability and Search Engine Optimisation
Findability indicates how easy it is for the information available on a website to be found. Placing valuable information on a webpage that cannot be easily found by those looking for that information means it will not be seen. Findability should be part of internet marketing. It is a concept relating to the whole website rather than ro individual web pages or positioning of the website’s pages for individual keywords. There is, therefore, no means to measure it directly although changes in visitor numbers indicate success or failure.
Findability includes search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO aims to increase targeted visitor numbers through natural search. Enhancements to the search engine positioning algorithms, such as google‘s Panda updates, are blurring the two terms to some degree.
Findability embraces issues such as quality of on site navigation and search facilities. It may be argued that any form of Internet marketing increases findability. There are more than a hundred types of marketing ranging from advertisements in local newspapers to the television. Pay per click search engine advertisements, and the social media such as Facebook and YouTube provide online means of increasing findability.
If two webpages were competing for a keyword, their relative positions, until recently, depended on on-page factors (content and coding) and off-page factors (total quantity of incoming link value and keywords in the anchor text). If these factors were not changed their relative positions would not change either. This is no longer the case. google Panda, for example, measures user signals such as bounce rate and time on website so that the relative positions of the two webpages may change. This means that optimising on-page and off-page factors is no longer all that is required in SEO.
Now, more than ever, ensuring excellent webpage presentation and intuitive navigation are crucial to maximising positioning on the SERPs. The coding of webpages should comply with web standards. Poor coding and broken links anywhere on a website may have a damaging overall effect on positioning for other webpages.
The author has a medical website with many webpages themed on keywords with keyword difficulties that are out of range for top page positioning on the SERPs. This can be determined by knowing the competitive strength of the website by its HomePage PageRank (HPR) and HomePage PageRank keyword difficulty (HPR-KD). The website provides a clear navigation system and a search site facility. From google analytics and newsletter sign up notifications, it is clear that many visitors to the website are reaching webpages located once they have reached the website and not directly from the search engines. Although the keyword difficulty for short-tail keywords such as ‘infertility’ or ‘menopause’ are well out of range for my website with conventional SEO, the information provided on these subjects are findable once visitors have reached my website.
The search engines have incorporated latent semantic indexing into positioning algorithms. There is merit in including synonyms to improve SEO and findability.
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