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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Website Redesign Update

Redesign work has now been completed. Here's what the old home page looked like:

As you can see, it was one big photo with a logo and "Click to enter" (which wasn't visible in Firefox) underneath. No text at all. Nothing for search engines or visitors to read. Why make a visitor "enter" your site? When they hit your home page, they have already entered. You have but seconds to grab their attention and get them to stay. Visitors to that site on dial-up would have needed to wait a fair while for that page to load. And then you say to them "wait some more, then we'll tell you what this site is about."

That page led to the real home page which looked like this:

Nothing terribly wrong with this visually. I wasn't keen on the all-bold text, and the large image sizes forced horizontal scroll bars on most screens. The only SEO work done was to stuff as many keywords into the meta keywords tag as possible. That stopped working 10 years ago. The page title was the URL (on every page) and there were no heading tags or keywords in menu links or body copy. As a result, it ranked nowhere on any engine. Cached pages in the SEs were blank. Basically, it was invisible.

Here's what the redesigned site looks like:

Yahoo were the first to index the new pages. It's currently #1 for "palm trees gold coast" and #8 for "palm trees queensland".

MSN (now powered by Windows Live) were next. Not only did it debut at #1 for all it's geo-targeted keyword phrases, it pulls up #1 for "palm trees". From 3.2 million pages. On a site redesign that was launched about a week ago.

Google has yet to fully index the site. It indexed the new home page, which brought it up on page 2 for "palm trees queensland" but then for some reason reverted back to the old cache, which was a blank page. Even so, the site stayed on page 2. Once it settles down and Google fully index the site I'm expecting to see similar results to the other engines. This should happen within a dew days.

So, basically, mission accomplished.


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