Web 2.0 sites need to be search ready: SES panel

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NEW YORK - As Web 2.0 tips and tricks were on the minds of many at last week's Search Engine Strategies New York conference, one panel discussed how Web 2.0 designs actually come through Web 1.0 search engines.

In session titled "CSS, AJAX, Web 2.0 and Search Engines," panelists discussed how Web 2.0 design techniques influence search engine optimization.

"AJAX is not supported by search engines, so make sure that every page exists as an HTML page," said Ryan Johnson, Web development manager at Critical Mass. "That way search engines can find and index your content."

Mr. Johnson and his colleague, Jim McFadyen, senior Web developer at Critical Mass, gave a tag-team presentation on good and bad Web 2.0 design.

The good examples included Rolex.com and Amazon.com Diamond Search, who have HTML pages that connect to search landing pages underneath the cutting-edge Flash and AJAX designs.

Gucci.com was different story. According to Mr. McFadyen, the site was well done from a design perspective but poor when it came to search engine optimization. The home page design was sophisticated, but if a consumer linked to it through a search engine the landing page was blank.

Another thing to consider when using Web 2.0 design techniques was whether the product or brand needs the Web 2.0 design to get the message across.

"AJAX is an enhancement, not a requirement," Mr. McFadyen said.

But don't expect search to stay Web 1.0 forever. Yahoo and Google both had representatives on the panel and both said that search is heading in that direction.

"Don't rely on the state of things today to exist in the future," said Dan Crow, product manager at Google Inc. "We are getting into being able to access content in Flash, CSS and AJAX in the next few months, and in the coming years you'll see a major shift."

For the time being, however, it may be something to keep in mind, he said.

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