Elements or Lower

Fri, 18 Jul 2008

The Truth about Web Navigation

The Truth about Web Navigation:

We’ve found the exact same thing with Buy Our Honeymoon — a sizeable proportion of wedding guests who receive a registry card with a couple’s direct wedding list URL on it will type the URL into Google instead of their browser’s address bar.

The problem for us was that we’d set people’s lists to noindex so that they wouldn’t be accidentally found for unrelated queries and potentially abused — which meant, of course, that Google wouldn’t return anything for the search query, and then we’d need to help out by phone.  It took a few calls to realise that when people said that a list wasn’t found, they weren’t talking about a mysterious 404 error we couldn’t trace, but were instead running into a search problem we’d effectively created for ourselves.

Our solution was to create a separate, minimal landing page for each list that only really featured the list URL as keywords for Google.  Then, Google users searching for the exact URL would find the landing page (and click through from there to the actual list), whilst very few casual searches would include the landing page in the SERPs.