There is one part of building a website that most website companies overlook completely. And the cost of overlooking this little piece of technology can be costly.
When you visit the website of a search engine (For example: Google) they feed your computer a little tiny piece of software called a "cookie". The job of the cookie is to tell Google enough about your actions on the Internet so that Google knows whether or not you like individual websites.
Google then collects the information about the websites you visit and combines it with information about other people who visited that same website. Google then uses this pool of information to make decisions such as whether people as a general rule like one website more than another. Google can then use this information to decide which websites to recommend (rank high) or not to recommend (rank low). Understanding the actions of people on your website and how Google interprets these actions can allow you to create a website that Google is more likely to recommend.
Time on Site
One piece of information Google collects from the cookies is how much time people spend on each website they visit. If someone goes to two websites, spends only a few seconds on the first website and half an hour on the second website Google assumes they liked the second website more than the first.
Pages Per Visitor
Google also tracks how many pages people visit on websites. If someone goes to only one page on the first website and then visits 20 pages on the second website Google assumes they like the second website better. And so Google moves the first website down in it's rankings and the second website up.
User Actions Affect Your Rankings
|After reading the paragraphs above you are probably starting to understand that it is important to get people to visit many pages on your website as also to get them to stay on your website as long as possible. But how do you accomplish this?|
Navigation Affects Your Rankings
Have you ever gone to a website and felt frustrated because you had a hard time finding the information you were looking for? The cause for this is generally that the navigation system (buttons and links) are either confusing or not organized in a way that you can easily find what you want. And our guess is that rather than trying to figure out the navigation system you simply left the site, went back to Google, and found a website where it was easier to find the information you were searching for.
Simply making sure your website is neatly organized can keep some people on your website longer which will help boost your websites rankings.
Avoid Drop Down Buttons
It seems like every person who is having a website built for their company wants to have drop down buttons because it reduces the clutter on the website. However, these same people (yourself most likely included) hate having to use drop down buttons on other people's sites. Why? Because everything is hidden. You have to position your cursor "just right" to see the list of buttons and then after you have read one page you have to go up and position your cursor just right again. The reality is website owners like drop down buttons but website users (your potential customers) hate them. Oh... By the way... Google hates drop down buttons too... And websites that use them tend to rank much lower in Google... Now look up higher on our website. There are a few more buttons (Yes, clutter) on our websites than some of those fancy drop down websites, but isn't it easier to use?
Next and Previous
There is an amazingly simple way to get people to visit more pages on your website. Simply add Next and Previous buttons. Stop here for a second and go to the top and try clicking our Next button a few times. See how easy it is to visit a large number of pages? Does it make sense that if people can just click Next, Next, Next that they may visit more pages than if those buttons weren't there? Oh, and then there is our secret weapon. How about putting a big picture on each page of the website directly under those next and previous buttons. Guess what happens? Yep... Some people will sit there hitting Next, Next, Next just looking at the pictures.
We really suggest taking a minute for you to compare the navigation of the website you are on (NotJustWebsites.com) and the cabinet website above and compare them to other websites you have visited later. Play with the next and previous buttons and then ask yourself, "How come over 90% of the websites in the world do not have next and previous buttons?" All we can suggest is that the explanation might be found in the movie starring Jim Carey... What was the name again? Oh yes... "Dumber and Dumber".
Starting to feel like maybe you are getting advice from some people who spend a little too much time working on the Internet and not enough time out in the sunshine? Us too. But there's work to be done.
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