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Australia’s Top 100 Company Sites Incompatible With Search Engines

9 December 2002

A new report released today has revealed that 99 percent of Australia’s Top 100 Public Companies have web sites that sabotage their ability to be found by search engine users.

Search Engine Compatibility and the Top 100 Australian Public Company Web Sites, published by search engine optimisation firm Web Rank, details how nearly every one of the web sites belonging to Australia’s Top 100 Public Companies contain design elements that in some way negatively impact their search engine compatibility. As a result, many of Australia’s leading companies are not easily found in the search results of the most popular U.S. and Australian search engines.

“You would assume that companies spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on web site development and online advertising would ensure their web sites were compatible with search engines”, said Kalena Jordan, Web Rank’s CEO and founder. “But surprisingly, nearly all of the Top 100 fail to address this issue. To invest such a massive amount of time, money and effort into an online presence and not ensure it can be found is like constructing a storefront with no doors.”

The results are even more surprising in that they reveal a lack of planning by these large companies to adequately reach their online market. A large majority of the Top 100 (65 percent) don’t include target search keywords and phrases on their home pages. But search engines rely on this data to help them determine whether web sites are a relevant match for search queries. Consequently, search engines have very little information about the Top 100 sites to work with and don’t rank them highly in the search results for related queries.

The study also describes how most of the Top 100 Australian Companies fail to use Title Tags and META Tags correctly in their site’s HTML code, preventing search engines from accessing more vital information about their site content. Search engines use the content of a web site’s Title Tag - the text seen at the top of a web browser when viewing web pages - to help them classify the relevance of a page for certain search queries. But 90 percent of Australia’s Top 100 Companies fail to utilise this tag correctly, entering just their company name or generic page titles instead of target search keywords.

Other key report findings:

4 percent of the Top 100 are not listed in any of the most popular U.S. or Australian search engines.

50 percent of the web sites are inaccessible to the visually impaired.

3 percent of Top 100 companies are using search engine "spam" techniques that could get them penalised by the search engines if discovered.

90 percent of the Top 100 fail to utilise their site Title Tags effectively.

38 percent of the Top 100 cannot be found for their chosen search terms.

31 percent of sites are not listed in popular Australian search engines.

65 percent of the Top 100 do not use target keywords on their home pages.

The report concludes by recommending that Australian companies invest in specialist search engine optimisation services to ensure their sites are made more search engine compatible and therefore visible to target markets.

“Studies have proven that search engines are the most popular way for people to find goods and services on the Internet”, Ms Jordan explains. “Typically, five of the ten most popular web sites accessed by Australians each month are search engines, with figures indicating that searchers in Australia have a preference for using U.S. search engines over their regional versions. For this reason, it is very important that Australian companies ensure their web sites can be found in both U.S. and regional search engines if they want to reach their local audience”.

“By sabotaging the search engine compatibility of their web sites, Australia’s Top 100 companies are preventing potential customers from finding them and at the same time, sacrificing an enormous opportunity to attract more traffic”.

Copies of the Report (in two versions) are available for purchase from http://www.webrank.biz/Top100.htm.
Researchers at Web Rank are currently working on a similar study of the Top 100 New Zealand Companies.
- ENDS -

Kalena Jordan
Web Rank
Ph: + 64 3 329 4334

About Web Rank

Web Rank specialises in optimising their clients’ web sites to help them achieve higher search engine rankings. The company was established in Australia in 1999 with one client and after rapid expansion, a second office was opened in New Zealand in 2000. The business has helped over 40 clients in eight countries and is now run primarily from New Zealand, at the company’s Christchurch office.

Web Rank staff have successfully optimised web sites for small start-ups, through to Fortune 100 firms, including some of Australia’s best-known companies. The firm has established an impressive track record, by achieving high search engine rankings for every client. Web Rank's web site can be found at www.webrank.biz.

Contact us to submit your comments or questions or to order the report.

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"(Staff of Web Rank) have assisted L.J. Hooker with the optimisation of our web site so that it ranks highly in search engines. (Our site) now ranks in the top ten results for many real estate related searches, in some of the most popular search engines worldwide. An increase in traffic to our site has resulted from improved search engine rankings".
Heather Grenville
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L.J. Hooker Real Estate



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