Visibility to Search Engines: A comparison between text-based and Graphics-based hyperlinks on e-Commerce websites.
Ngindana, M.W. & Weideman, M.
Proceedings of the 6th Annual Conference on WWW Applications. 1-3 September. Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ngindana, M.W. & Weideman, M. 2004. Visibility to Search Engines: A comparison between text-based and Graphics-based hyperlinks on e-Commerce websites. Proceedings of the 6th Annual Conference on WWW Applications. 1-3 September. Johannesburg, South Africa. Online: http://web-visibility.co.za/website-visibility-digital-library-seo/
A literature search has indicated that most website developers and designers first build a website and later concern themselves about "searchability" and "visibility". Some companies spend large amounts of money on a website which cannot be indexed by search engines, is rejected by directory editors and is invisible to search engines. The primary objective of this research project is to compare and report on the effect on website visibility of text-based versus graphic-based web page navigation schemes.
The method employed in this project will be to develop two e-Commerce based website with the same functionality, contents and keywords, but different navigation schemes. One will embed all hyperlinks in text-phrases only, while the other will use graphic images of buttons, arrows and other navigational aids for hypertext links. Both websites will be submitted to the same search engines at the same time. A period of two months will be allowed to ensure that spiders will have had enough time to visit and index both sites. An industry standard web ranking program as well as advanced counters will be used to monitor how the two sites feature in the rankings, and if they appear in the indices of search engines. Graphs and other results as well as text-based report produced by the ranking program and the counters will be used to compare results.
Based on a literature survey, it is expected that the text-based website will achieve higher rankings than the graphics based one. The result will provide a clear path to commercial and other website designers in terms of navigational element design. These results will provide a foundation to the construction of a best practice guide for commercial website designer. Although the human website browser finds a certain amount of graphical aids conducive to easier navigation, search engine crawlers find these same graphic aids impossible to index. A balance has to be found between these two extreme to please both the human and the crawler. It is believed that this research project will provide website designers with guidance on achieving that balance.
- Aguillo, I. 2000. A new generation of tools for search, recovery and quality evaluation of World Wide Web medical resources. Online Information Review 14(3):115-120.
- Alexandra, J. 2002a. How to choose keywords before they sky-rocket in popularity. Search Engines. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.searchenginesworkshops.com/articles (Accessed 27 June 2004).
- Alexandra, J. 2002b. Ten things you can do to Increase Visitor Response at your Web. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.searchenginesworkshop.com/articles. (Accessed 2 July 2004).
- Beatty. S. 2003. Fashion Tip: Get Online. Wall Street Journal – Eastern Edition, 242(87):33-45.
- Bruemmer, P. 2002. Copywriting: Key to Search-Engines Visibility and Conversions. [Online] Available WWW: http://www.101searchengines.biz/
(Accessed 06 June 2004).
- Collin, S. 2002. Assessing and assuring the Quality of Web Site. Online Information Review 10(3):11-20.
- Dykehouse, S., Sigler, T. 2000. Use of the World Wide Web, hyperlinks and managing the news by criminal justice agencies. An International Journal of Policy Strategies and Management 23(3):267-269.
- Eastman, C. Jansen, B. 2003. Coverage, Relevance and Ranking: The impact of query operators on web search engine results. ACM Transactions on Information Systems 21(4):383-99.
- Ford, S., Wells, D., Wells, N. 1997. Web Programming Languages: Object Services and Consulting, Inc. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.objs.com/survey/lang.htm (Accessed 12 May 2004).
- Furnis, M. 2001. The mission of Web site: Building Search engines friendly Site. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.objs.com/survey/lang.htm (Accessed 7 July 2004).
- Gardner, M., Pinfield, S. 2001. Database-backed library website: a case study of the use of PHP and MySQL at the University of Nottingham. Program: electronic library & information systems 35(1):88-98.
- Greenough, R., Fakun, D., Kay, J. 2001. Development of a digital manual for a manufacturing system – a case study. Integrated Manufacturing Systems 12(6):33- 50.
- Hof, R., Sager, I. 2003. More Ways To Price-Shop Online. Business Week, Issue 3851:14.
- Holder, B. 2003. Forintek’s value added pathfinder: a case study. The Electronic Library 21(1):28-35
- Inan, H. 2002. Measuring the Success of Your Website: A Customer-centric Approach to Website Management. Online information Review 26(6):33-37.
- Li, W., Hsiung, W. Po, O., Candan, K., Agrawal, D. 2002. Evaluation of architectural designs and implementation for database-driven websites. Data and Knowledge Engineering 43(2):151-60.
- Lide, R., David, M. 2001. Provant launches new e-commerce Web site, grows operating income 91.6% in 1Q. Lifelong Learning Market Report 4(11):26-33.
- Lu, M. 1998. A framework for effective commercial Web application. Internet Research: Electronic Networking Application and Policy 8(2):166-173.
- Mertz, D. 2001. Charming Python: Developing a full-Text indexer in Python: Paving the way to better searching. Online Information Review 11(5):21-25.
- Munafo, R. 2002. Programming Languages: The Internet’s current Opinion at MROB. [Online]. Available WWW: http://home.earthlink.net/~mrob/pub/lang_srom.html. (Accessed 07 June 2004).
- Murata, T. 2003. Visualizing the Structure of Web Communities Based on Data Acquired From a Search Engine. IEEE Transaction on Industrial Electronics 50(5):860.
- Nobles, R. & Alexandra, J. 2002. Internet Search Engines – Articles about Marketing and More. Marketing on Internet Search Engines. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.searchengineworkshops.com/articles.html. (Accessed 27 June 2004).
- Ollins, D. 2002. Professional Web Design – some good ideas for web design. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/articles/Professional.html. (Accessed 21 July 2004).
- Pfattenberger, S. 2001. How to search on search engines, A case study.[Online]. Available WWW: http://www.objs.com/survey/lang.htm. (Accessed 27 June 2003).
- Randall, L. 1999. Average e-commerce Web Site costs US$1 million. Computing Canada 25(24):11-18.
- Rao, S.S. 2000. E-commerce is a mart. New Library World 101(2):53-59.
- Rose, G., Khoo, H. & Straub, W. 1999. Current Technological Impediments to Business-to-Consumer Electronic Commerce. Communication of the Association for Information Systems 1(16):1-11.
- Sullivan, D. 2001. How Search Engines Work: How To Really Profit From SEO. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.searchenginesbook.com/presskit.html. (Accessed 15 May 2004).
- Tansley, D. 2002. Create Dynamic web pages using PHP and MySQL. New York. Addsion-Wesley.
- Thelwall, M. 2002a. Effective website for small and medium-sized enterprises. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 7(2):28:35.
- Thelwall, M. 2002b. Evidence for the existence of geographic trends in university Web sites. Journal of Documentation 58(5):55-65.
- Thurow, S. 2002. Search Engine Visibility press kit. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.searchenginesbook.com/presskit.html (Accessed 17 June 2004).
- Weideman, M. 2003. Payment for increasing website exposure in search engine result – technical and ethical issues. In Proceedings of The 5th annual conference on WWW Applications, September 2003. Durban: CD-ROM.
- Whalen, J. 2002. Search Engines Marketing vs Search Engines Optimization. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.searchengineguide.com/
(Accessed 18 June 2004).
- Winn, W., Beck, K. 2002. The persuasive Power of Design Element on an E- Commerce Websites. Technical Communication 49(1):17-19.
- Xue, L, Harker & Heubs. 2000. A review of the development and application of the Web impact factor. Information Review 27(6):25-38.