How to Give Your Web Site The Special Stuff for Success

I love to write for the Just Behave usability and seo column at Search Engine Land. Every month we have a deadline and each time I hit a brick wall with no idea what to write about. And then…the stuff just comes.

Today’s article is called It’s A Fatal Mistake To Copy Successful Web Sites, I relate a true experience. During the Q & A part of a session at a search marketing conference in which I spoke, someone asked why we don’t all just copy Amazon’s web site. I spoke into the microphone with a definite, “Never, ever copy Amazon.” The audience gasped with surprise.

Although I had a quick moment to clarify my statement, I didn’t have the opportunity to clearly outline what I meant or why my statement could be helpful to audience members. The article I wrote for Search Engine Land goes into that detail and makes many points you may not have considered before.

When someone says they will make your website easier to use, ask them what mental model they are referring to. Are they going to make it easier for search engines to crawl and rank it? This is a searcher mental model and one an SEO is more likely to be focused on. An information architect wants to know the mental model of your target users. What are your customer needs? What types of behaviors can you expect from them? Many websites have different user paths on one website.

The other article I wrote a few weeks back is a personal favorite. It, too, is based on real situations. It’s called The Algorithm Chasers

Algorithm chasers rely on analytical tools to help understand searcher behavior. They are equipped with keyword data, target market information and demographics. But are they able to determine the emotional power of the written word on web pages? Why is content so vital to search results?

I hope these articles are helpful and offer you some new ideas to try on your own web sites.

2009 Writings on SEO and UX by Kim Krause Berg

A look at the past year… I have likely forgotten something and if so, please let me know.

Web Site Requirements Include Search Engine Marketing, page 43 of SES Magazine, Chicago Edition or on Clickz, Web Site Requirements: What to Include

WebSite Magazine

Moms in Business and Everyday Usability

Everyday Usability – 14 Point Checklist for Success

Constant attention must be given to how users and search engines interact with your site to ensure that you not only attract visitors, but give them reasons to come back. Because as every Web professional knows, the more users interact with your site, the better the odds they convert.

“Performance Requirements: Sites that perform better earn deeper customer loyalty” – December issue. Not available on line yet.

Search Engine Land

Information Architecture: The Backbone of SEO and Usability

Want Better Web Design? Watch Real Users

Of Conversations and Conversions

The Importance of Knowing Your Customers’ Language

How User Behavior Influences Search Results

The Impact of The Internet on Human Behavior

Is Your Web Site Credible?

Whenever searchers see a web site for the first time, they bring along every web site experience they ever had before they got there.

How Does Your Web Site Make Visitors Feel?

Can Reading Online Be As Rewarding as Curling Up With a Good Book?

Finding The Right Balance Between Search Marketing and User Experience

(My favorite…) The Extended Brain, Search Marketing and User Experience Design

Search Engine People

How Web Site Requirements Keep Your Project From Exploding

Interview: Ruud Questions: Kim Krause Berg

She’s a woman with self-evident staying power and has transformed herself from a site builder to an SEO — and from SEO to respected usability expert.

Notable Mention

Interview: Thought Leader Thursday – Kim Krause Berg

Many site owners are held hostage by their web designers who want to add things that may not be right for the company or target users.

Grow Your Skills with Website Optimization by Andrew King

Whenever I look at job descriptions for web site design positions, it amazes me the long list of expectations companies have these days. Most of them want someone who is skilled in programming, search engine marketing, graphics design, usability, and writing. Then, they ask for specific skills using particular software products, knowledge of standards and global laws, search engine optimization, and testing methodology.

I’m not a believer in surface level skills. I’d rather hire experienced persons from different niches and put together a team of experts rather than hire one person who has a surface knowledge of basics in all the required areas. However, in certain situations like budget limitations, or self-learners or sole proprietors who wear many hats, the book I’d definitely turn to is Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets

This is the kind of book I wish had been available earlier in my career. But it’s here now and it’s a Wish List addition for those of you who like books and learning from them. This book, written by Andrew King and put out by the O’Reilly publishers is split into two sections. The first is Search Engine Marketing Optimization and the second is Web Performance Optimization.

Don’t let those simple headings fool you. This book is about optimization, yes. It also teaches how to measure your results, without getting all technical and confusing. Ajax, which first confounded me, is explained, with instructions on how to optimize and use it without killing conversion rates. The book covers metrics, advanced techniques and gets into performance secrets, CSS assists (who even knew you could optimize CSS?) and well, you have to check out Chapter Nine on Advanced Web Performance Optimization.

Give yourself a gift this holiday season by exploring new ways to enhance your web site. When you’re done with this book, you’ll be even closer to becoming that miraculous web site development employee from heaven companies are scouting the Internet for.

Order your copy here:

Mobile Marketing Focus in Search Marketing Standard Fall Issue

Here’s your challenge. Where can you find topics in one place that will go with you in the car, bathroom or office and doesn’t need electronics to access?

Alternatives to Google AdWords – There are?

Ranked Hard SEO comic

Performance pricing

Mobile marketing

Google Ad Planner

An Interview with Andy Beal

Micro-blogging (Tweet Tweet)

What a Link can tell a Search Engine (peekaboo?)

Tigers – aka Internet use in Asia-Pacific

Speed dating – aka Usability and SEO

Where you will also find:

“The first stage of any SEO implementation is keyword research and selection.”

“Many businesses, and even some mobile industry professionals, think that simply ensuring full-sized websites are stripped down of graphics and formatted into a single column for easier viewing on a mobile device is enough to create a satisfying mobile web experience.”

“The iPhone has changed the way the world sees mobile Internet access.”

“The first thing companies should do is listen.”

“What I think is important to keep in mind is that these services are being used by a fairly influential group of people.”

“When presented alongside positive attributes, negative messages didn’t adversely affect whether or not someone bought an item.”

“All of a sudden, people are looking for directions, reading restaurant reviews, and checking the latest news headlines right on their mobile phones.”


Check your mailbox! The Fall 2008 issue of the Search Marketing Standard is out now or subscribe today to dive into the featured topic of Mobile Marketing.

Spring 2008 Search Marketing Standard Inspires and Educates

As a contributing columnist for Search Marketing Standard, who covers usability topics for the search engine marketing industry, it’s always exciting to get my copies in the mail. A perk of being a contributor is that I get complimentary magazines to give away. My husband hands them out in the IT department for the company where he works, showing off his wife of course.

The Spring issue has arrived and seeing the words “Spring 2008″ on a day where we’re expecting snow is sweet. For this issue, I was assigned a topic that required me to download software to explore because I’m not comfortable writing about topics that I haven’t played with. My topic was Flash usability. It was the most difficult article I’ve written to date (poor Andrey, my patient Editor!) It’s called “Is it Time to Reconsider Flash?”. If you get your magazine copy and read the article, please let me know what you think.

Other articles include an interview with Cameron Olthuis on social media marketing. He’s the handsome Founder and CEO of Factive Media. Industry Analysis is juiced up with 4 interesting articles covering social media, search engines, and privacy issues. Eric Ward has a piece called “Linking Analysis: Making Sense of the Mess”. One of my favorite writers, Gord Hotchkiss, wrote “How We Shortlist Our Buying Decisions through Search”.

The Featured Authors section is a regular section where SMS introduces two or more of its contributors. This issue I’m featured and I’m in great company along with Grant Crowell of Grantastic Designs. Grant wrote the feature article called “Add Video Search Optimization to Your Playlist”.

This issue is not only informational, it’s inspiring and educational. Going into its third year, Search Marketing Standard is the pride of the industry. Free copies are available at most search engine marketing conferences and to make sure you get your’s, SMS subscription fees are very reasonable.

Search Marketing Standard Cover