Does design really matter for a directory – no, not really. Functionality is actually more important as is navigation to allow users to find what they are looking for. Posh designs doesn’t keep people coming back, it’s the information within that does. Changing a design does absolutely nothing other than generates a couple of expensive pats on the back on Twitter which are soon forgotten. That doesn’t mean design can be forgotten about, it means it’s a secondary consideration where is providing a practical interface to allow information to be found is the primary concern of any directory or search engine.
I am pretty obsessed with interface design and having logical navigation. This is just my obsession but Googles too. The robots they use to index a site follow links on a menu so making a site easy to navigate ensures that Google can read it too.
I’ve seen some discussion on Twitter this week with regards to certain people suggesting that Web sites can make their sites really popular by some how fixing the Seo for it. If that was true Google would had gone bankrupt years ago as they are a platform designed to sell advertising. Any one with an online business knows that targeted advertising is a fact of life as is other things such as seo, interface design, social media promotion and newsletter communications. You cannot just concentrate on one or two of these to ensure success, it’s all or none. It’s always been this way. Seo is only one piece of a complex puzzle that features many techniques on several platforms.
I’ve been doing this 25 years and I am still learning. Anyone that claims to be an expert I would look at oddly since there’s no such thing. There are only people that know more than others. We all learn from everyone else and experiment to see what works and then not tell anyone and that is especially true of Seo.
I do get asked about Seo at times, to fix Web sites with the expectation that this will somehow will dramatically improve their business all on its own. If that was true I’d charge 10 times more but I know it’s just one piece in a puzzle. A vital piece, true but on it own it not as powerful as you might think. Knowing this and what future strategies are needed are all about of the consultancy process so that clients understand how to carry on supporting their own business which includes making use of paid advertising and all the other pieces of the puzzle.