Friday, November 16, 2007

Optimizing for search--first

The Washington Post has a good article on the move to free online content and away from paid subscriptions. It also contains some nuggets on the shift from browsing to search: Web Sites Tear Down That Wall

Britain's Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times, is changing its online business model not only to reflect the industry trend toward free content but also to acknowledge how people get content -- increasingly, through search engines such as Google, not by going directly to a publication's site...

All online content providers face the Google factor.

For example, viewership of the home page of washingtonpost.com accounts for 20 percent less of the site's overall traffic than it did two years ago, editor James Brady said. Increasingly, users arrive at the site "sideways," from other sites, he said.

I'm guessing the other site in 75% of the cases is Google, and that percentage is only going to go up. People have to be able to find you through Google, period. If they can't, you shouldn't even be wasting your time putting your content online.

Forget navigation, and other attempts to direct your reader's online experience. Your most important task is to worry about search engine optimization.

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