Not necessarily. In fact, some of the fancy features that make Web sites appear the most up-to-date and sophisticated might be getting in the way of your site performing at its best.
Flash-based graphics, for instance, while they can give a site a dynamic look, are invisible to search engines and may prevent visitors from reaching your site, says C.W. Kreimer, president and CTO of CommerSel Studios, a Web design firm.
Content is the single most important factor in achieving high search engine ranking, Kreimer says. Search engines love text-rich sites, but can only see HTML text on a page, not text hidden in graphics or flash animations. As a rule of thumb, he suggests, place about 200 to 250 words on each optimized page.
Kreimer also suggests the following to improve your Web site's search engine ranking, increasing the chances that potential visitors will find it.
* Put as much information as possible in HTML format. Provide at least a summary in HTML of white papers, technical reports or other substantial content at your site that is in Microsoft Word, Excel or Adobe PDF files. Some search engines will index .DOC, .XLS, and .PDF files, but you'll get a better ranking if you put the content in HTML as well.
"PDF files are great for spec sheets. They're awful for Web sites," says Kreimer.
* Don't hide your content in a database. Search engines don't crawl deeply into sites when the page contains links that contain question marks, an indicator for databases.
* Don't use graphics as links. As with Flash, search engines can't read them, says Kreimer.
* Regularly submit pages. Kreimer calls search engine ranking a "participation sport." But don't contribute too many pages at once, Kreimer warns. The search engines will think you're spamming them and won't index your site.
* Don't have pages that are devoid of branding and navigation to the rest of the site. Not only is it confusing to users if they reach a page that lacks navigation to any pages on your site, but your chances of having this page appear in the search engines is minimal.
* Make it easy for your customers to locate content on your Web site. Make sure it has an integrated search function, which will allow everyone who uses your site to locate the information they are interested in obtaining. How to reach: CommerSel Studios, www.CommerSel.com