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$2000 For a Search Engine Thrill Ride and Low Conversions?  

:: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 ::

The other day I ventured into something I hadn't visited in a long time.

The Search Engine Graveyard.

This is what lies beyond Page Four of search results; possibly even the first Two. Weird stuff begins to appear, like chunky descriptions and sentences with no intention of making any sense. I found bits and pieces of my old web site life.

Things like article reprints. Reprinted blog posts. Quotes from yesteryear. Article reprints with no bio. Blog posts with no link to the source blog. In one case, I found one of my blog posts with no mention of who the source was or a link to my site, and the blog author says they are a "fan".

The search engine graveyard has earlier versions of articles I wrote that I've updated for accuracy on my sites, but the original lies buried in Internet-land, with no chance for an update and thereby offering somebody incorrect information, on a website abandoned years ago.

Perhaps a nice usability courtesy would be to note in the articles we republish to check with the author's version for the most current updated information?

What else lies in the vast universe of useless web pages? I bet it's the web site you had high hopes for. For many website operators, nobody explained they should build it to perform for other people.

Web Design Practice Fodder for Search Engine Graveyards

I review web sites. My approach is different. Instead of metrics, I "mind meld" with the web site and provide a wide view lens of what the end user experience can be. I have proprietary test plans that help me do that. I change these plans constantly, to keep up with new Human Factors data. I care deeply about each site I'm hired to review because I represent the end user, not the stakeholder. Web site visitors have expectations and hold the shiny credit card in their hands. When they can't use it, stakeholders hear from me in a written report.

These stakeholders pay enormous mucho buckeroos for marketing and Project Managers doped up on Starbucks coffee. Usability is but a fluttering thought during the sports car commute home.

What did I find lately that indicates some designers were born last Wednesday?

Registration forms that require extreme personal information before allowing the web visitor to learn how a service works. Before seeing a demo, getting prices or learning the details on how a health service works, I needed to enter highly private business information over an unsecure server.

Fortunately the form accepted all my bogus information and I was permitted to see the Golden Egg. But, before I might purchase it, over that sweet unsecure server, it asked for my bank account information and social security number.

We now understand one of the reasons for low conversions for a site that rocks in search engines and by golly, somebody forgot to hire a usability specialist for it.

Money, Brains and a Hot Conversions Body

And so, at last, I come to the true point of my discontent. Some of my friends in SEO and Marketing-land are buried up to their ankles in talk about how much money it costs for a "mom and pop" web site to make a good start on the Internet. My friend Mike Grehan, charged up by prompting from some his friends, (once the yelling stopped), asked, "What can you do with a budget of $2000?"

The topic is explored again here in 5 Ways to Spend $2000 on SEO.

They all have their ideas and suggestions about the price for promotion and traffic.

What I want to know is how logical it is to spend $2000 on promoting a site on a teeny budget?

What if, once it's found in search engines, after all the bidding, SEO, landing page work and keyword torture is done, and traffic is arriving in piles, the visitor can't fill out a form, read the font size minus 10 content or get the shopping cart to work?

Dear mom and pop. For $2000, make sure the web site works for the people you built it for.

Discuss here, in $2000 For a Search Engine Thrill Ride and Low Conversions?

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 1/24/2006 08:40:00 PM

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