When you read about the importance of web design and how it can help you tap into $1.25 trillion in annual eCommerce spending, what company name do you see at least once in every article? It certainly isn't Bing or Yahoo! No, without fail, you will see Google mentioned multiple times throughout any piece discussing web design for search engine optimization. Is this just favoritism on the part of content writers, or is there something far more serious at work here?
Why Google is More Important Than Other Search Engines
The reason why every article you read stresses the importance of getting in good with Google is because it is the most popular search engine on the web. How popular is it? Recent statistics show that Google owns 65 to 70% of the search engine market share. In more concrete terms, the search giant handles 100 billion searches a month. Microsoft's Bing, Google's closest competitor, only owns 17.9% of the market share, generating significantly lower monthly search requests. In short, it's far more important that your web designer pleases Google than any other search service.
Why Web Designers Need to Know Google Guidelines
Sorting out Common Mobile Design Problems
Using responsive web design is an incredibly effective way of making sure your website can be viewed on traditional desktop computers and increasingly popular mobile platforms. However, if you don't follow the best practices of responsive design, it can actually earn you demerits from Google's robots. One of the biggest problems? Using a "m." URL prefix to direct your users to a separate, mobile-optimized site with the same exact content as your normal page sets off a duplicate content alert for Google, a big no-no in SEO. Responsive design shouldn't result in duplicate pages. That defeats the entire purpose. Don't use separate sites. Instead, build one that can be used across all platforms to improve your status with Google and your readers.
Balancing Your Content to Ad Ratio
Google and their indexing robots understand the need for businesses, like yours, to place advertisements on their pages. After all, just like Google, your business needs to make revenue. However, designing a page that is chock-full of ads but only features a token amount of content, especially if that content is low-quality, is a great way to be flagged as a spammy site by Google's indexing terminators. A web designer who knows their way around Google's preferences will ensure your ad space is balanced against content space, especially above your page's scroll-line. Keep in mind, users visit your site for content and value, not to help you generate ad revenue.
Avoiding the Ban Hammer
Perhaps the biggest reason web designers need to know their way around Google's guidelines is because more serious missteps can get your website banned from Google search results. When you consider that 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, you know how damaging that would be to your potential revenue. For example, "cloaking" your website -- showing Google one version of your site and your visitors another -- is a one-way ticket to being banned by the search giant. Knowledgeable web designers do not engage in these types of abusive practices.
Being the biggest fish in the sea gives Google many distinct advantages, the biggest of which is being able to control what kind of content is promoted online. Finding a web designer who understands what Google wants and, more importantly, what it doesn't, is critical if you want to find success online.