Screw the customers; it LOOKS fantastic!

Having already suggested that the Australian Advertising Industry is generally clueless about marketing their own services on the web I thought to monster a couple of other industries. So I had a look at the web sites of 50 West Australian wineries – about 15% of the industry. I checked each for sensible use of Title and Description tags, site maps, animation and links. Here are the findings:

  • None of the companies seemed to have used link-building to increase their Google rankings. Only one site had more than 5 links pointing to its home page.
  • The importance of the Title tag to Google rankings is clearly not understood. 40% of sites left the tag the same on all pages. Only 6% of sites tried to include important keywords in their title tag. Even those were not well implemented. For example, not one site used the word ‘medal’ in a Title tag and only one used ‘award-winning’.
  • The second most important tag on a web page, the Description tag, was ignored by 40% of all sites. Among the other 60%, a large number did not vary the tag by page and most don’t seem to understand what the tag is for: it’s meant to persuade people to click your search result instead of the other search results that the engine finds.
  • Only one of the 50 companies knew to create a sitemap to help Google find all its pages.
  • A significant minority of sites are using frames or Flash animation, making it more difficult to be indexed by search engines.

  • Comment:
    Some pretty sites; 3 Drops, Moss Wood, Beckett’s Flat and Matilda Estate; shame no-one is seeing them. Honestly, what’s the point if you’re not getting traffic?

    Some fine examples of animation kitsch too by the way. If you’re into that sort of thing (then you’re as sick as I am): Amberley Estate, Brookland Valley

    Although my analysis here does not give the whole picture, it suggests a lack of web marketing sophistication, both in the area of web strategy and search engine optimisation.

    The larger businesses were only better than the small businesses in one respect; more traffic and more incoming links. They showed no greater online marketing skills.

    Businesses can improve their web rankings with a few hours’ work. Much can be done by adding text content that includes the keywords that people type into Google. If you’re selling ‘grenache’, make sure you have a web page, Title and Description tags that mention ‘grenache’. Yell out if I’m going too fast.

    Companies wanting to make the web a serious part of their marketing mix should develop a web strategy. This may focus on particular export markets, distribution channels or niche market segments. In almost every case, it will require the company to develop content that is relevant/entertaining/useful to the reader.



    1. No prose too purple. I loved “where the majesty of the ocean collides with the terroir of the land”. Those colliding majesties are the most bodacious ones. The subliminal torn flesh shots; very classy. Strangely, and I can only put this down to supernatural forces, links from the Worst of Perth are not showing up.

      Howling Wolves wasn’t included in my survey but it would have been another search engine disaster story. Only four of its pages are indexed in Google (no site map). Use of Flash is the main problem, but also, undifferentiated Title tags and no Description tag, etc etc.

    2. Mate, it’s a sad fact that the winery industry is probably a fairly average example of the overall web marketing consideration in this region (or even country).

      I’d like to think that would actually bode well for business for chaps like you and I, but speaking quite frankly, I’d rather be helping folks make their sites better and better and focus on some REAL marketing challenges rather than just getting them barely up to speed.

      I mean really, I would much rather be focusing on user behavioural data and some serious A/B testing instead of building yet another sitemap.xml. Maybe that’s just me.

    3. Completely agree Judd. I look at the work that the smart American guys are doing on Landing Page Optimisation and think, why aren’t Australian companies investing in that?

    4. I can only get one lousy tag in wordpress. The terroir of it all! After all the bottles I’ve bought and caused to be bought!

      At least a search for Peel Wines doesn’t bring up sites for fermenting wine in a hollowed out pumpkin with orange peel. Wait, maybe it should.

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