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Top 100 Kiwi company websites are a waste of money

Report finds Top 100 Kiwi company websites are a waste of money

Shock New Zealand survey reveals how firms are 'sabotaging' their own ability to be found on the Internet

Web Rank, Christchurch, 23-Jul-03: Respected search optimisation company Web Rank has today launched a study on the search engine compatibility of the websites of the country's leading organisations.

The study reveals that every website belonging to our top 100 businesses contains significant design flaws that make it harder for them to be found in search engines, thereby negatively impacting the potential revenue of the organisation.

"In designing their sites as they have done, nearly all of New Zealand's top performing companies are sabotaging their own ability to be found by their target market(s)," says Director Kalena Jordan.

Most Internet users rely on search engines to find product and service providers. Unless they know the exact website address (URL) or search by the company or brand name, they will try to find what they are looking for by using keywords that describe a product or service's features, benefits or attributes.

Web Rank's extensive analysis, which is available at www.webrank.biz/Top100NZ.htm, reveals where major New Zealand corporations have overlooked search engine visibility in designing their websites. The report also advises how these websites can be improved to help potential customers find their sites easier and increase business generated online.

Amongst the many findings, the report revealed that:

- Every top 100 Kiwi company website had defects that hindered their ability to be found in search engines,

- A quarter could not be found for their chosen search terms in either US or New Zealand search engines,

- 34% are not listed in popular New Zealand search engines,

- Almost a third are not listed in popular US search engines, and

- One-in-eight use techniques that could get their site penalised on search engines for "spamming."

The authors say it is amazing that firms may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on website design and related marketing, but that they often overlook search engine compatibility. "What is the point of paying so much money for a web site that will never be found?" says Ms Jordan.

Why is search engine optimisation important?

Search engine compatibility is loosely defined as employing design elements that help search engines index a website and "understand" it's relevance to a search query. To make a site more compatible with search engines Web Rank, and other Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) experts correct design flaws and implement techniques to ensure a website attracts highly relevant, targeted traffic via those engines.

"Search engine optimisation is the technique of attaining a higher ranking in search engines and directories for relevant search queries, via changes to a site to make it more search engine compatible," explains Ms Jordan.

UK studies by Forrester Research show that four-fifths of people find websites by using search engines. According to Australasian market research firm, RedSheriff, four of the 20 most popular New Zealand websites are search engines. In addition, 55% of online purchases in the US are made on websites found through search listings.

How to improve the search-ability of a website

Every effective website should include within the HTML code for each page a TITLE Tag, a META Description Tag, a META Keywords Tag and text-based content. Search engines rely on this information to determine how relevant a website is to any given search query.

These elements are often overlooked by webmasters, or are too short and generic to be effectively picked up by many search engines in connection to a search query. Search engine optimisation of a website involves changing the code to include more keywords and phrases that relate to the products and services offered by the business, as well as changes to the site's structural design to ensure it can be indexed and matched to relevant searches.

Web Rank's "Search Engine Compatibility and the Top 100 New Zealand Company Web Sites" report offers businesses comprehensive suggestions on how to improve the search-ability of their website. Using case examples, Web Rank highlights typical mistakes and advises on how these could be improved.

The report considers how to use graphics, correct tagging, the right keywords in text, how important links from other sites can be and how firms can avoid being penalised in the search rankings from the inadvertent use of "spam" techniques.

"By ignoring the most important method used by people browsing the Internet, these companies are sacrificing an enormous opportunity to attract more traffic to their websites," says Ms Jordan.

"Websites are often a very large expense for these companies, ranging from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. To invest such a massive amount of time, money and effort into an online presence and not ensuring it can be found is like constructing a storefront without any doors.

She continues, "It is obvious from the findings of this study that New Zealand companies need to invest in search engine optimisation services to ensure their sites are more search engine compatible and therefore visible to their target markets."

About Web Rank

Web Rank Ltd specialises in optimising their client's web sites to help them achieve higher search engine rankings and attract more relevant site visitors. It was established in Australia in 1999, with its New Zealand office opening in 2000. Now, based in Christchurch, Web Rank has helped more than 50 clients across eight countries. These firms include small start-ups to Fortune 100 companies and some of New Zealand's best known businesses. Visit www.webrank.biz for more information.

Report Authors

Kalena Jordan (kalena@webrank.biz)

Chief Executive Officer for Web Rank Ltd, Kalena Jordan was one of the first search engine optimisation experts in Australasia and is well known and respected in the search engine marketing industry worldwide. Ms Jordan is a member of SEOConsultants.com, the World Association of Internet Marketers and SEOPros.org. She is a moderator and regular contributor to global search engine forums, newsletters and discussion groups and is the author of the free search engine newsletter titled The Search Light.

Ms Jordan has forged parallel careers in corporate IT and public relations across the Australia and New Zealand for 15 years, advising companies throughout the Asia-Pacific region on public relations matters and Internet technologies. With an in-depth knowledge of search engines and Internet marketing, Kalena set up Web Rank in 1999. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Gerald Jordan (gljordan@webrank.biz)

Chief operating officer for Web Rank, Gerald Jordan has more than ten years experience in retail and hospitality markets, mainly in management roles. Gerald specialises in accountancy and operating procedures, computer systems development and office management skills, including defining the ROI for Web Rank clients. Gerald has a Bachelor of Arts from the U.S. and a Master of Business Administration from Australia.

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Access to the report is available free of charge for media review. Please contact mailto:kalena@webrank.biz for a login ID and password


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