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Designers: The giant Google Panda is watching.

Creative agencies that design and build websites for clients, take note. Google is paying attention. This is good news – so good, in fact, you need to tell everyone about it.

Specifically, this is what you should tell your clients. Choosing to pay for a custom website is now more necessary than ever if you want your business to succeed. Here are the steps to business success today:

  1. To succeed, your business must have a strong presence on the web.

  2.  To have a strong presence on the web, Google must like you.

  3. For Google to like you, your website must be engaging.

Item 1 is not always understood by businesses. I have heard business owners say things like, “The only reason I have a website is so people can find my phone number.” That is completely wrong. Today, the only reason you have a phone is so someone who is looking at your website can ask you a question. Really. If I were told that my business must choose between a phone and a website, I would no longer have a phone. Attracting attention on the web is synonymous with success. Every other promotional effort is secondary to a dominant presence on the web.

Item 2 is just as carved-in-stone as item 1. Yes, I have heard of Bing and Yahoo! I’ve heard of a lot more than that – stuff like Alta Vista and Metacrawler and Ask. They are all goofy little distractions. They could all vanish tomorrow, and no one would notice or care. Google is it. Google owns the web. The true – and only – test to see if your web presence is strong is to see what Google thinks of your site. (Let me add that I know this could change in the future, particularly with the amount of complaining going on about Panda, but for now, Google is it.)

Item 3 is news. Since Google released Panda, the techniques to get Google to like you have shifted. Quantity of content is less important than quality of content. Relevance to search terms has been tempered with an eye for an enjoyable and engaging user experience. Inbound links are less important than keeping site visitors on your site. Google has actually automated metrics that predict what people like, including design. You can learn more in this interesting video by SEOmoz.

Google’s shift in focus to high-quality, interesting sites is good news for the creative industry. As industry professionals, we know that better copywriting, pleasing page layout, cool design aesthetics, and logical information architecture all improve the user experience. Google has now found a way to reward us for our efforts.

Dialogs has always been the best tool on the market for creating engaging user experiences. Give us a call or contact us to see how we make the web a better place.