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April 19, 2008

Google Intermediation

According to the bahiaredonda.com website statistics, search engine robots account for 60% of pages viewed while humans account for the remaining 40% and robots account for 25% of total hits while humans account for the remaining 75%. In other words, while humans account for 75% of the traffic, robots do a much more through job of visiting every available page.

Google generated about 80% of the search engine connections to the site and the remaining engines shared the other 20%.

While our ultimate audience is human visitors, the fact remains that search engines have become the effective intermediaries. Designers spend a lot of time and effort to make websites human friendly but if the design interferes with search engine friendliness, it becomes counterproductive. Website design should consider search engines at least as half of its audience.

The one thing that both humans and search engines like is quality content. The more content pages the website has the more hits you are going to get. The difficulty is in creating the content. If you have a long page, split it into various pages.

It is easy to underestimate the value of added pages. Last year I decided to add a translating dictionary to our marina website. The page is called "English-Spanish Mariner's Translating Dictionary." Over at iHelpYou they convinced me to make each word a page which is easy enough since the pages are served up from a database. The results have been astounding!

The dictionary pages account for 35% of all the entry pages and about 10% of these visitors stick around to look at the rest of the website. For a comparison, the index page has been relegated to second most entries with 20%. This was accomplished with 625 entries in the dictionary, effectively 625 English pages and 625 Spanish pages. Just this week I added 150 more words which should generate even more traffic. How do I know what words to add? I keep a wish list of the words that people try to translate and we don't have an entry for.

You have to realize that these pages have very little "real" content, just a search word and its translation yet because there are so many of them the long tail effect really works. A search was done by someone in Austria, 'Translate: "sole"' and we come up number 3 in the SERPs. Another search, 'translate pedir' and again we come up number 3.

You too can use this idea. You probably don't want to translate words (that's my shtick) but you might create a glossary of words used in your business or profession. That would create a lot of relevant pages for you to be found on.

Denny Schlesinger

iHelpYou (go talk to Blue and Doug over there)
What is the Long Tail? (Chris Anderson)
The Long Tail (wired.com)

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