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.