A housepainter once said to me that spiders were nature’s way to tell you when to redecorate. The evidence of their visits would highlight whenever someone needed to spruce up their homes. This has always stuck with me and I can see a similarity with the virtual environment of online shopping.
The average search engine spider has to do a lot of work, it can locate thousands upon thousands of websites and, when you consider that, put simply, it has to find a site, read the site and report back the details for indexing, the poor mites can be excused for making a few mistakes.
The greatest area of error, however, is probably the most important: accurately stating what you are offering.
It’s the reporting back for indexing that causes most angst amongst anxious traders looking to boost sales and this is the most challenging part of the job for any hard working virtual arachnid. The problem is that a lot of sites are displaying difficult to read code* on their web pages, erroneous “stop” commands, unnecessary tables and lots of other hidden junk. Clever traders, with sound knowledge of the code, will trawl through this to remove the potential blockages and misunderstandings that can cause problems.
There is an easier way though, a more flexible way to make sure that those little flies in the ointment are taken care of and that is to use cleaner code in the first place, CSS isn’t new (it stands for “Cascading Style Sheets”) but it does tend to behave itself and the most successful traders are more likely than not to have their sites constructed with it. It also allows you to make fantastic jumps in design and usability, but that’s for another subject.
A CSS designed site has smooth access to its background code and allows for more content to be read and understood by the search engines. In any physical store the layout of the shop is absolutely vital to how the message (selling kit) gets across to the customers, huge amounts of investment are made amongst the biggest players to make sure that navigation in store is the most efficient for gaining more business.
A CSS overhaul can be a cost effective way of gaining an advantage in a business where a few positions on the search engines can make the difference between selling your product or not.
Are the spiders telling you that you need a fresh look?