Since I’ve been freelancing one of the things I’ve been pushing is the use of web standards, making sites more accessible. One of the “spins” I use is to mention that Google is a blind reader and that pretty much everything useful for accessibility also helps with search rankings. In the past I’ve used a few examples including some before and after for some clients’ own site. I think I just found my best example yet.
Last week we had our first Yulblog meeting at La quincaillerie, a great bar in Montréal, I’d looked for their site a couple of times but never found it. Then Eric mentioned our meeting and linked to…. the La quincaillerie site. The whole site is image maps, no “real” text anywhere, no meta tags either so Google doesn’t “believe” it much.
- Searching for quincaillerie on Google, no sign of the site in first five pages. I didn’t go any further, who looks further than the first couple of pages without tweaking their terms anyway? The first related hit is this Metblog post at the bottom of page one.
- Searching for la quincaillerie, first hit is the same Metblog post two thirds of the way down page three.
- Using “la quincaillerie Montréal”, same Metblog post, last entry of page one. The Montréal Plus post is third on page two. This lightspeedchick post on page three and then other bloggers on following pages.
- Using “quincaillerie Montréal”, same thing.
- Using “quincaillerie Rachel”, Michel in third, François fifth, Montréal Plus seventh, a picture on Flickr second on second page and, finally, the real site fourth on the second page, followed by some more blogs.
When I first saw Eric’s post yesterday, my own blog was on page two for “la quincaillerie” even though I didn’t even put a link on the name. Not sure why the entry on Yulblog didn’t show though.
Anyway, I think the point is made, unless you already knew where the place was, Google was so unsatisfied that the bar’s site was of any value that you couldn’t even find it with logical search terms.
Perfect test case to prove the value of good semantic structure and real content. Having a blog which usually results in fresher content would help even more.
(Might be interesting to try other search engines but not tonight.)