looks at search in Web site revamp

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Searching for a treatment for breast cancer is an emotional experience — not a time for a frustrating search. So, when it was redesigning its Web site, nonprofit took that to heart as part of its overall rebranding. The new site is intended to make its research and resources about breast cancer easier for its audience to use.

The organization's mission is to provide treatment information and online support groups. “People often come to our site in a state of high anxiety, so we want to make it as easy as possible for them,” said Hope Wohl, CEO of

“The most basic way to assure higher search rankings on Google is to have good content,” said Derek Olson, VP of Foraker Design, which worked with

To this point, the group is focusing on its editorial content to make sure that it is clear, informative and easy to access. For example, the site includes long transcripts with experts on various treatments, which have now been broken up into a Q&A format with each question getting its own page. This makes the key content more accessible through a search engine.

The brand also found that better opti­mizing keywords will help searchers find them in the first place. Rather than search­ing for keywords such as “chemotherapy,” its audience often searches for a treatment symptom, such as “hair loss,” and the site has been optimized to reflect this.

“It's about understanding those 3am panic questions like, ‘Oh my god, my hair is going to fall out,'” Wohl said.

The site also optimizes search rankings by making sure that its content is tech­nically clean. All links from e-mails and other Web sites have remained constant. Content also renders in the most current versions of popular Web browsers.

“If you always change the links to your information, Google will stop linking to your information,” Olson added. “You have to make sure the [HTML] code is valid and that it is possible to read it in a logical order.”

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