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Keeping visitors away from your website

April 3rd, 2008 by mdmcginnis

As a search engine optimization consultant, my job was to get more visitors to my customers’ Web sites. But one night, as I was trying to explain to a client what we needed to do, the realization hit me: maybe the best way to get the visitors you want is to discourage the visitors you don’t want.

I don’t mean that I want to make visitors feel unwelcome – not at all. If you really need to exclude unwanted visitors, you can always use a robots file. I just want to make it clear to visitors exactly where they are, so they can decide if they want to stay. The advantage to using clear titles and headlines on your Web pages is that same information appears prominently in search engine results.

Another way of putting it: how would you write your Web pages if you had to pay $10 for each visitor? You would make sure to use clear, descriptive titles, headlines, and descriptions/first paragraphs so that potential visitors could immediately tell what the Web page is about, just by viewing the search engine results.

If they had to pay for each visitor, a company named “John’s Services” would stop calling itself, “The most trusted service provider in the Bi-County Area” (which Bi-County area? Tarrant/Dallas, TX? Lee/Charlotte, FL? Donegal/Tyrone, Ireland?) and start calling itself, “John’s Plumbing Services – Rockville, MD” and,”The most trusted plumbing service provider in Maryland’s‘s Bi-County Area of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties“.

If you had to pay for unwanted visitors, you might stop titling your pages “About Us” and start titling them, “About the Undergraduate Chemistry Program at Texas A&M University”. By making it clear that your degree program is only for undergraduate students, you make it easier for future undergraduate students to find you in the search engines. By making it clear what you are not, you make it more clear what you are.

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 Search
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