David Amerland

Why Web 2.0 aesthetics are good for business but bad for SEO

I was reading a report in boingboing that was slightly nostalgic in outlook to those early Web 1.0 days when the web was more about personal sites than commercial ones and it made me think.

I have been active on the web since its very early days when a distinction still existed between the internet and the world wide web and when actually entering a site was an event in its own right. It is easy to forget how far we have come and how fast so it’s good to note that those old hackneyed and ever-so-innocent sites made with a lot of passion and a certain amount of dreams were also incredibly search engine friendly.

 

Yes, there were some boring wallpapers they all had as part of the background but pretty much every site you came across was pure, unadulterated HTML and that was simply search engine food. They gobbled it up and served it higher than any site had a right to appear. 

We now live in more sophisticated times. We judge websites in a snap decision that lasts less than half a second, have learnt to filter our search queries through search terms designed to most likely give us the results we need and we all know that SEO is a necessary part of our online activity, as vital as breathing if a website is to be found. 

The hard-edged, blocky designs of the Web 1.0 era are now a thing of the past and we have the pleasure of surfing a sophisticated, chic-looking web where websites vie with each other in terms of visual appeal and interactivity. The very elements, as a matter of fact, which also make them hard to index, difficult to find plus a little tricky to place high on the search engine listings. 

I know here you will ask, ‘is there a cure?’ – well, there’s no going back to the Web 1.0 days and that’ probably not a bad thing. Search engines at the moment are evolving towards the semantic web which may, at some point, do away entirely with the need for SEO altogether but until that happens we are stuck in the middle ground of creating websites which need our attention in order to place high normally.

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