An Event Apart: Findability Bliss Through Web Standards

by May 7, 2009

Aarron Walter's Findability Bliss Through Web Standards presentation at An Event Apart discussed the role of great content & Web standards in making Web sites more findable.

  • Findability: help people find your site Web, what’s inside, and then reconnect with your site later.
  • Lots of different ways people find our products –not just search.
  • Great content and Web standards add up to usability bliss
  • Semantic messages makes content machine readable. Aboutness is a measure of how well a search engine knows what a page is about.
  • Can use markup to make our semantic messages clearer. Title tag should describe what page people are on. H1 used for logos to identify company or site name. Use heading tags instead of spans for marking up sections. Strong and em tags allow certain elements to come forward but use sparingly.
  • Keyword placement. Consider having keywords in URL, logo file name, naturally in your content (but keep it under 7% of total content).
  • Search engines like domains with a history. More trusted and reliable. Link farms come up quickly, get blacklisted then shut down.
  • Image replacement does not seem to be a technique that diminishes search engine ranking.
  • Getting blacklisted from a search engine requires human review. To get off the blacklist, you need to file a formal plea.
  • Keyword research should be used for commercial sites to understand user behavior: what terms are people searching for?
  • Can use delicious to see what terms people associate with similar URLs. Google Adwords keyword tool shows you the search volume and adwords use for specific keywords.
  • is a tool that allows you to put in a phrase and a URL and tell you how optimized it is for the page.
  • Find competitors and see which keywords they are associated with.
  • Making content findable aligns with making things accessible.
  • Javacript provides some pitfalls. Progressive disclosure allows interactions to work without Javascript support.
  • Having navigation only work with Javascript does not allow search engine robots to follow your links/pages consistently.
  • Ajax problems: no unique URL, Javascript required to load, not search engine friendly. Search engines can parse some javascript but not all. Don’t use Ajax for mission critical content.
  • Portable content: microformats can be used to make structured content.
  • Is there a boost from validating pages? Currently no.
  • Findable websites are great web sites.