Website Design

website-design

Whether your company has just one or multiple physical locations, there is a good chance that a high percentage of your potential consumers will visit your website before ever stepping foot into your place of business. If you are running a business that is strictly online, your website will be the primary point of contact for your customers. Either way, it is imperative that your website is designed to reflect your company’s commitment to delivering a high quality experience for existing and potential customers.

At the same time, your website needs to be able to convey information that helps the search engines determine what your business does, its products/services, and whether the website will deliver a positive user experience for keyword-driven searches. The successful transmission of this information can play a large role in moving your site to the front pages of the search engines.

Since its founding in 2001, the Gervais Group has been designing websites that cater to both of these audiences by delivering high value information to consumers and search engines. In addition to delivering a high quality user experience on every visit, each website is designed to subtly move consumers through a conversion process that culminates in an online purchase, a visit to the business’ physical location, leaving contact information, etc.

It all starts with website design that reflects your company’s best attributes while simultaneously delivering a positive user experience and conveying high value to the search engines. With all the work, time and effort that goes into driving traffic to your company’s website, why settle for less?.

Competing for traffic and sales on the web goes far beyond following optimization tips for your website. With the rapid evolution in the ways that consumers search for and take in content along with increasingly sophisticated algorithms used by the search engines to rank web pages, websites must now be built with modernized designs that incorporate the following factors:

·         User-centric design – Websites must be designed to give your visitors exactly what they want and let them know about it immediately. This can be accomplished with clear page design that presents content that relates directly to the search terms used by each arriving visitor. Once on the site your visitors should be able to navigate your site with easy to find and use navigation bars.

·         User-friendly design – The design of a user friendly website includes fast loading of each page, relevant headlines, simple yet attractive page design, content that is done in a font that is easy to read, and a color contrast between the background and text so that reading isn’t a strain on the eyes.

·         On-site optimization – This facet includes the building of a site map so search engines can crawl relevant pages and easily navigate your website. On-site optimization can also enable search engines to read descriptions of images, view a physical address on each page for local SEO purposes, and assess page content for quality relevant keywords.

·         High-value content with a purpose – Your website needs to be populated with content that delivers information, provides value, and moves visitors through your site toward a conversion. It is also extremely important that all of your content is original, as sites with duplicate text are penalized by the search engines.

·         Integration across the spectrum of devices and platforms that will be used to access your site – In terms of devices, this entails integration across desktop, mobile and tablet users. Regarding platforms, it is more important now than ever to integrate your site with the social media platforms on which you engage. This can facilitate increased engagement on all sites including the sharing of content which can build valuable links, drive traffic, build your brand, and increase sales. 

These are five of the critical elements involved with building a website that contributes significantly to reaching your company’s objectives. 

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Featured News

  • User Experience and SEO

    SEO

     

    Prior to Google’s implementation of the Hummingbird algorithm in the second half of 2013, search engine optimization and delivering a positive user experience with published content were distinctly different practices. Despite Google’s mission to surface high value content, its algorithms were easily manipulated with SEO tricks that didn’t necessarily deliver the information that the search engine users were looking for. At the same time, content that delivered relevant information often earned lower rankings than poorly written articles that prioritized packing in keywords over adding value.

     

    Hand it to Google, the search engine has stayed true to its commitment to deliver improved user experiences and is now far less vulnerable to manipulative practices. Its ranking algorithm now factors a variety of signals that result from positive user experiences, including:        

            

            Links from authority sites – Content that contains valuable source material, topic-relevant information or delivers a positive user experience in general can earn links from authority sites to provide additional information or to be cited as a reference. These links carry an increasing amount of weight in the ranking algorithms due to the quasi-vetting process from originating authority sites. This is a completely different ranking methodology than the one which rewarded web pages that had thousands of spammy backlinks purchased for a few pennies each.       

            Social actions – When content is posted to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, user can elect to share that material with their friends and/or followers. Sharing or liking posted content is referred to as a social action, which is an indication that the content delivers a positive user experience, whether it’s entertaining, informative or a combination of the two. Steady and/or increasing social actions with specific web pages can then boost rankings due to the implied legitimacy of independent referrals.    

             Active and positive comment threads – Quality content draws engagement in the form of active commentary threads. Content that is generating shares and likes will also elicit commentary, with the actions reinforcing each other when being weighed by search algorithms. While these reinforcing actions are great for SEO campaigns, they are equally capable of driving higher rankings for negative content, such as news stories.    

     

    In today’s SEO campaigns, manipulating the algorithms has become increasingly difficult. This is due in part to the growing sophistication in algorithm methodology that can detect spammy links and content. It is also due to the evolution in the way people communicate and share information on the web. The paradigm change now forces SEO and content distribution campaigns to focus on the same primary goal; delivering a positive user experience. 

  • One SEO Change to Implement Now

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    As the sophistication of search algorithms continues to increase, search engines are improving their understanding of what their users are looking for with their inquiries. Prior to replacing its search methodology with the Hummingbird algorithm in 2013, search results typically showed results that had a high percentage of the same keywords included in users’ inquiries. While the pages that were returned based on keyword matches generally reflected some relevance to the search, there were also results that had nothing to do with the nature of the inquiry.

     

    Two of the primary reasons for these unrelated results were black hat techniques that were used to trick the early algorithms into granting high ratings, as well as words that were spelled the same but had different meanings, known as homonyms. An example of a homonym is the word “lead”, which can either be a noun as in the metal or a verb as in “to guide”. An inquiry such as “lead dog” could list sculptures of dogs made of the metal as well as dog teams in the Iditarod race. Refining the search to “what is a lead dog Iditarod” could still return mixed results. With the implementation of the Hummingbird algorithm, searches provided results based on the context of the inquiry, rather than trying to find pages with identical keywords.

     

    The change to contextual search, in addition to providing a higher percentage of relevant results for all users, was also influenced by the more conversational nature of inquiries from mobile device users. When voice commands are used, it’s more natural to ask a question than limiting inquiries to a few key words. As the search phrases became longer, keyword-based algorithms struggled to return listings that answered the questions that were being posed, which required follow-on searches and lead to a less than optimal user experience.

     

    For businesses that have not changed the foundation of their SEO initiatives to the new search methodology, previously high rankings are likely to start falling, if they haven’t already. The key to success in context-based search is to modify content so that it answers the questions posed verbally by mobile users. As a simple example, a searcher may pose the question “Where is a pizza place in Anytown?” Content that answers that question, which would earn a higher search listing, would include something like “Jack’s Pizza is located at 123 Main Street in Anytown.”

     

    As Google and the rest of the search engines try to deliver the best user experience possible, the focus is on eliminating listings that don’t deliver the answers sought by searchers. To that end, the listings that are presented will increasingly address the full context of inquiries with the delivery of specific answers. In this environment the SEO campaigns that are modified to answer questions, rather than match keywords to searches, will deliver website and storefront visits which will drive revenues.  

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