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People judge your book by the cover

It's difficult to get high rankings on search engines. It's a lot of work and it takes some time until people can find your site for search terms that are relevant to your business.

When people find your web site through search engines, you must keep them on your site and you must convince them. A new study that was recently published in the journal "Behaviour and Information Technology" shows how important it is to make a good first impression.

The first impression is very important

A new study that has recently been published in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology shows that the snap decisions Internet users make about the quality of a web page have a lasting impact on their opinions.

It is very important that your web pages look good and that they have a trustworthy design.

You have 50 milliseconds

The study was conducted by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University in Ottawa. Lindgaard and her colleagues showed volunteers briefest glimpses of web pages previously rated as being either easy on the eye or particularly jarring, and asked them to rate the websites on a sliding scale of visual appeal.

Although the images were shown for just 50 milliseconds, the ratings were very similar to the judgments made after a longer examination of a web site.

Psychologists call this the halo effect. If people continue to use a web site that gave a good first impression they "prove" to themselves that they made a good initial decision.

What does this mean to your web site?

It's crucial that your site makes a good first impression. Otherwise, people might go to the next web site in the search results before finding out that you have great offers.

Make your web pages easy to read. Use a clear web site design and make it easy to find out what your web site is about.

Don't put everything you can on a single page. Focus on a clear message and tell your web site visitors what's in it for them when they visit your site.

Making a good first impression can be the determining factor for the success of your web site. If you're sure that your web pages don't deter web surfers, you can optimize them for top 10 rankings on Google, Yahoo and other important search engines.

If you have a compelling web site then more visitors will convert to sales. If you don't know how to get your web pages on the first page of the search results, take a look at our free search engine optimization eBook.

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Januray 2006 search engine articles