At Kona Impact, we believe online visibility–the ability to attract visitors through online searches–is a primary reason for a website. Imagine the best-looking website in the world, full of animated graphics, whiz-bang effects, and some really cool functions. Sounds very appealing to some, but will anyone find it?
There is a balance between design, function, and content. As a good general rule, you want all three to be at optimal levels to have an effective website. Design, of course, makes everything look good. The function makes it work. Content makes it interesting, and, perhaps more importantly, content (words, words, words) are what the search engines use to deliver people to your website. You see, the major search engines are basically just huge text databases that match what you are searching for with content on the pages of websites.
No content=Nothing to index=No visitors from the search engines.
One problem with many websites is that they hide all the content within databases. If the content is hidden, Google generally won’t find it, and it doesn’t help a lot with search engines.
One of the websites we used to host had over 250 pages of content, a page for each of their products. The design was horrendous, but it did attract a lot of visitors because of the huge amount of content. We no longer host their site, but genuinely do wish them the best.
Now they have a website system that hides almost all of their products in a database. The move happened a few weeks ago. Today, we checked how their website is doing. If it became more popular, we would have to reconsider some of the ways we build sites. If it became less visible, we would have a lot of our understanding of the search engines and website design validated.
After two weeks, they have become most invisible online.
They have killed their online presence.
Below is the data to back this up. I intentionally covered their keywords and replace them with “kona sushi, etc”. If you see a red triangle, this is a loss in ranking: #1 is the first page, the first result. Anything greater than 10 is off the first page of the search engines. Where you see a red X, it means the keywords are no longer on the first four pages of the search engine. A blue triangle is an increase in ranking.
The lesson to be learned from this is that if you change your website’s content, your online visibility will change.
This can be for good or bad. The other lesson is the need to understand the balance between design, function, and content. Their new website looks nice and the functions are impressive as well. The downside is that they will get very few visitors through Google searches because they have hidden their content behind a database. As a result, their cost per visitor will be very high, as they will have to do pay-per-click marketing or do offline marketing to get people to their site.