Search engine optimization is not for every website. Although search engine optimization can really improve the organic search results for some websites, there are a couple of considerations when search engine optimization should not be considered and maybe a full site redesign may be a better investment of money and time.
When not to do search engine optimization:
- If your site is created in a template and the site layout becomes broken when new content is added.
- Your site looks funny in browsers other than Chrome and Firefox.
- You have a site designed using Flash or tables for your layout.
- Your website looks dated or non-professional.
As search engine optimization is not inexpensive, in some cases the money that would have been spent on search engine optimization would be better spent on a new search engine friendly design with built-in optimization features.
I found this terrific article and wanted to share it with you. It is “10 Reasons Your Site’s Search Engine Ranking Dropped”
by Paul M Ventura on SitePro News. You can read the full article by clicking the article title above. Paul shows some terrific insight into why your site may have dropped organic placement on Google in light of some of Google’s recent algorithm changes.
In a nutshell here are his reasons interspersed with some of my own comments:
- The Google Honeymoon Ended
I’ve seen this before, new sites start out strong and then after about four weeks fall to their more realistic organic placement on Google. If you evaluate the site in the first several weeks that the site has been added to the index you may be placed well, but check again in about 8 to 10 weeks for more realistic expectations on where your site will normally reside so you can start improvements.
- Google Sandbox Effect Started
This isn’t talked about much, but I have seen in highly competitive industries such as real estate site’s not even get listed in the Google index until other sites have started to link to it. They can sit in the sandbox all alone for as long as six months
while Google evaluates where they belong organically. A good plan is to do article writing for links during this period to start building links. Another recommendation is to do press releases during this period to start building legitimate links as well.
- Algorithm Updates/Link Juice Lost
With the Panda/Farmer update having penalized many article syndication sites, I feel that Paul has some good insight here in that your site may have had links from these sites that were penalized and so your site dropped in placement as well.
Don’t think you have it? Well if you have a WordPress blog on-domain, you’d better be monitoring. Why wait until Google has you banned or blocked in the organic results. It is better to proactively scan your site and WordPress files on a regular basis. I was even hacked and never had been before. It can happen to the best of us with serious consequences.
- Server Issues
Has your site been down? We have several clients where they are hosted on small no name companies and on their Google
Webmaster Control Panel the robot is constantly reporting it cannot find or access files. Move to a new host when possible if you are seeing this problem.
- Robot.txt File Problems
Webmasters can get carried away with permissions to the Google spider. I’ve seen two situations where the webmaster inadvertently disallowed access in this important file that all search engine indexing spiders access before they spider your website. Make sure you have the correct permissions and block only the files you need to block.
Did your last SEO firm or webmaster use “black hat” techniques, hidden links, and keyword stuffing to get you organic
placement before? How about keyword dense text the same color as your page background? Think you are clean? Think again. I saw hidden text on a large attorney website that had been installed by their website designer to scam the
system. Don’t get your website penalized by these tactics. Google will not be mocked.
- Broken Links
Check and check again. For blogs you can use a plugin. For other sites use Dreamweaver to scan for broken links.
- Duplicate Content
I install on my site meta tags that show me to be the content owner. Make sure when you add new content pages that
you tag yourself in the code as the owner. Google is getting pretty smart on this one, but there are still scrapper sites that may grab your content. When I find them I send a cease and desist notice to the webmaster and if they don’t remove my content I report them and the page to Google’s spam department and if I get really made to their web host with a take down notice. Don’t make yourself crazy over this, but it is a good idea to check your top trafficked pages with online scanning tools. I use Copyscape and Dustball for this.
- The Google Dance
Grab your partner right? No, the Google Dance is a phenomena where your search results will fluctuate wildly the first week and sometime two weeks after Google does a big algorithm update. Hang on and don’t freak out the first time you check your placement. Check again in one week and then in a second before you start remediation just to make sure you
aren’t dancing with Google. If you are your site will pop back up at the end of the dance. Maybe not in the exact position, but nearly where you were before.
I think Paul nailed the ten topics in the article, the comments on each topic are mine garnered from years of experience.
Okay if you’ve read the posts this week, this is the solution if you can only blog off-site. First, based on our case study, we just don’t recommend blogging off-domain at this point. If you can only blog off-domain, I strongly recommend you evaluate organic placement for your off-domain blog separately. If your blog shows for your keyword on Google.com then I would consider continuing to blog off-domain and point links to your parent website. You may actually be able to place organically with your off-domain blog if you have been blogging for a while and you are not in a competitive industry.
If your off-domain blog does not place organically for your keywords then I would stop all blogging efforts there. I would instead take the money and time that I had invested in blogging and use it to start building on-site on-domain content. That content might be in the form of
- free downloadable white papers
- feature articles
- monthly press releases
- online newsletters
- additional website pages
You can do double duty with some of these types of items by disseminating them on Google Knol, American Chronicle, GoArticles, and article syndication sites in order to get inbound links.
I would strongly recommend that you review your current off-domain blogging approach as all blogging is not equal. Blogging is really only a good, rather a great SEO strategy for you when you are blogging on-domain. If you just can’t blog on-domain, I would use the time and dollars to build parent website content and value instead of spending that on off-domain blogging at this time.
If you need on-domain blog writing, remember we are the blog experts in the industry. We invite you to visit our blog writing services page for information on pricing and to review writing samples.
If your blog cannot be built on-domain what should you do? There are some situations where you just cannot build an on-domain blog. Some situations may be where you are using a template driven website and you really do not have your own server space and so cannot install WordPress, you have an e-commerce site and just cannot include the technology to run a blog on the server, or you are hosted on a Windows server and cannot install PHP which is needed for WordPress.
If you have any of these scenarios, isn’t off-domain blogging still good for you? I used to say yes, but let’s look at a case study done recently for a real estate firm.
This client could not install an on-domain blog as their website was a template driven website and they did not have “real” server space. We set up a GoDaddy.com domain and hosting to house their off-domain WordPress blog. We blogged for almost six month using keyword dense phrases. At the end of the study period, we evaluated. Did the off-domain blog bump up the parent domain due to one way inbound links and keyword dense blog posts pointing to their parent domain?
What we found was that the strategy of off-site blogging was not workable. The parent domain got no “SEO juice” from our blogging efforts. Not only did organic placement not improve, but the off-domain blog itself was not showing for the keywords we were using either.
You can run some searches yourself on this website yourself to see that we started out no where and ended up no where. The parent domain is www.MarcoIslandLuxuryEstates.com and the blogsite is www.Marco-Island-Luxury-Estates.com. If you look, you will see that the blog domain is not in the top 100 results. The parent website has been slowly moving up in the SERPs but when analysis is done on links to the parent domain, Google is not recording the links from the blog as a factor.
The key take away from this post is that unless you heavily promote and create a link strategy for your off-domain blog to build it up in Google, the site has no “authority” on Google and the other search engines and so one way inbound links from the off-domain blog to the parent website mean nothing to Google in regards to organic placement.
If you are going to invest time and money to promote, create links and push placement for an off-domain blog in order to help the parent domain, wouldn’t the investment and time be much better spent on the parent domain instead?
Make sure to read my recommendations on Friday on what you should do instead of having an off-domain blog.