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Content is King, but Presentation is the Pretty Princess

I wrote recently on the subject of Content being King , the fact that no matter what attempts to cheat the system, the fact that good content will always rise to the top of the search engine rankings. This is one of the core facts of publishing on the web, that quality content rules over everything else, and something which has been proven to be true in recent weeks due to Googles admission that they have a team dedicated to looking at web pages and ranking them. This means that while everyone is looking for a way of fooling the search engine algorithms, Google has avoided that from ever working 100% by using humans as part of the ranking system.

This information changes the game, meaning that page loading times, readability and presentation of pages mean a lot more than was ever believed.

So slow loading page times, which everyone knew were penalised by Google, and everyone knows that visitors will accept a delay of around 4 seconds before some of them lose interest and move on to faster pages. But now we know that the team Google has, are not only affected by the same annoyance at slow loading pages as everyone else, but since they’re on a timeclock and have so many pages to deal with each and every hour, slow loading pages may receive a low ranking as the Google team may have to abort the checking of the page and mark it down due to them needing to move onto the next site.

While a lot of this is down to the speed of whoever is hosting your site, you need to keep an eye on the plug-ins you are running on your site, if the page is waiting for content to be loaded from your Twitter feed, and your Facebook, your Tumblr, images from your Flickr, etc. Then the page is going to load slowly as it waits for all of these to come in. So ask yourself. do you really need all of these on your webpage, surely many of them can be made into links so visitors can head off and view them for themselves, rather than forcing everyone to wait for them to load.

Readability of pages is tied in with presentation, the ease of reading the text, and the clarity and way the information is presented will affect a pages ranking, as will the use of colour and images, as making the teams job as easy to perform as possible, allowing them to read and rate more of the page, will obviously lead to higher search ranking.

So you should bear in mind, not only do you need to edit and prune your writing down to just what you wanted to say, but also to check your Grammar and Spelling, as if someone is trying to figure out what you mean then it’s slowing them down, and slow means penalty points on your search ranking. Make sure the font is readable, and large enough to read comfortably, as again this affects the speed the page can be read and comprehended. You should spend time making sure the text breaks in easy to read places, make sure your paragraphs and text are readable with sensible use of whitespace

And finally, you need to present the whole thing in not only a clear and readable fashion, but one that is attractive, and makes the reading process enjoyable.

It’s a lot to remember, but these things are obviously really, if your site is enjoyable to use, easy to read, and has great content, then it will get good rankings on Google.

So, while Content remains King, it appears that Loading Speed is the Queen, Readability is the Prince, and Presentation is the Pretty Princess, and all of them are important if you want to position highly in the search engines.

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