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As you know I love to tell you my tales as I travel around town and meet new people.iStock_000057947400Large My newest story is about a website that had its traffic drop off by half over the last year.  As everyone knows, that can be a deathblow to a business.
Often there is a desperation play to hire someone…anyone that sounds like they know what they are talking about to fix it. Most times they
make it worse. Often by the time the folks get to use they are 3-4 SEO firms down the road and we are the big gun they call in to fix it.

We have encountered many a site that has found itself in hot water. Commonly its links that have caused the issue. When I look at a small local business that has 15,000 links, it becomes an instantaneous red flag. Most normal small businesses would never have that. Usually we have to spend time on cleaning up those bad links and anyone that has ever done a link audit knows how time consuming correcting 15,000 links can be. I suppose I also don’t have to spend time explaining the implications of the SEO team who has created 15,000 spammy links in 2015. Every site we take over these days this is now the first thing we do. I don’t think you can do effecient SEO on a site with a bad link profile. Bad SEO firms don’t even know how to do this and honestly can do more harm than good.

The next problem we see is bad content which may caused the site to be Panda-ed. Yes, that is now a real term. It is when Google algorithmically penalizes a site because the content is thin or repetitive. So on the new , there were many pages on this website that were product pages with server specs on them. Pretty beefy pages in the word count realm, but pretty much a regurgitation of the manufacturers server spec pages. There were no usable pages that help buyers make informed decisions. These pages aren’t really repairable and it will take time to get good quality content in place to off set the issue.

There is no accounting for the quality of writing really. What one person likes another person complains about. But don’t hire writers over seas. Make sure you review the content your SEO firm is putting up to make sure they aren’t hiring writers over seas. There is a definitive way a person writes when English is not their native language. Google now has the ability gauge the quality of writing so bad writers beware.

And then of course there is the web design issues. There are so many designers that have no idea how to put a website together properly for SEO.  What it really means is that they don’t know how to put  a site for the end user really. Worse yet is there is the group that says they know SEO, but then build a website that although may have title tags, it doesn’t have much else.

It is always hard for me to have to tell someone …site looks great but its poorly assembled and then have explain how to fix it. Sorry you wasted your money.  It seems to be an never ending battle. As recent as today,   we looked at today, and there was no NAP on the site anywhere, yet they didn’t’ understand why they had no google local listing.

Fixing broken websites or algorithmically challenged sites has become something we all are faced with these days. I suppose its good that there are so many bad web designers out there because it means plenty of work for us good ones. But, if i could tell a consumer one thing, it would be to do their homework and make sure you know who your selecting to do your website and that cheap or inexpensive is not always better. A bad web design firm or SEO firm can do far more harm than good.

 

Beth Guide - ACTWD