12 October 2005

A List Apart: Ambient Findability

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a big deal these days. Websites are using all kinds of tricks to try to bolster their search engine rankings. What it often comes down to, however, is simpler stuff.

A List Apart has a great excerpt from Ambient Findability, a new book by Peter Morville about making sensible website changes to improve the "findability" of content:

  • Using semantic markup so your content is easy to index
  • Structuring content to focus on what your service is
  • Avoiding techniques that can't be spidered by search engines: javascript, flash, dhtml
  • Use RSS feeds to encourage subscriptions and provide meaningful backlinks to your content

Morville goes on to elaborate why this isn't just a marketing concern:

Connecting users with the content and services we design and build is part of our broader mission. It's not good enough to create a great product and expect someone else to worry about how people will find it. Together with form and function, findability is a required element of good design and engineering.

Recommended reading for anyone involved in a website that aims to be useful.