Okay - so we've had the same issues as many other on this forum with website traffic to my travel website dropping in October. First of all a big thank you to Jill - because of your great articles I'm finally coming round to the fact that my 'old school SEO tricks and techniques' no longer cut it! And in all fairness - I had become a little lazy (but who can be blamed; after all it did the trick!). We used to be on the first page for many phrases such as 'romatic hotels' but have dropped to page 3 or so (I know this won't be the same for all users but gives an indication at least).
As I see it I have a lot of issues to address:
- Definite external duplicate content - we are an affiliate to another holidaqy accommodation website so list some of their properties - this forms around 40% of my copy and was always a simple copy & paste job with a link at the bottom to their duplicate listing where the accommodation can be booked. Should I stop Google from indexing these pages until we've created unique and good quality pages for them? Is creating unique copy the long term answer for this one?
- Possible internal duplicate content - we have quite a strong hierarchy: home > holiday cottages > holiday cottages in scotland > holiday cottages in argyll > holiday property detail page. The holiday cottages page shows a list of excerpts of ALL holiday cottages, the holiday cottages in Scotland page excerpts of ALL holiday cottages in Scotland etc etc. The excerpts are simply the first paragraph and image of each property with a 'more info' link to the property detail page. Each of these 'category' pages has a unique first paragraph and unique title etc. and then a list of the properties. I've always had a gut feeling that this strong hierarchy and number of optimised pages where the key to our seo success - has this changed with the new algorithms? Is it better to have a 'dump' of all pages in the website root and link to them in another way?
- Following on from this issue - we have some pages such as 'pet friendly accommodation' that work in a similar way - a unique first paragraph and then a list of properties where our furry friends are welcome. I view this as being user friendly but should we be careful with this?
- Social media - we have done a little on twitter - this seems to suit our type of site better than some of the other social media sites, but nothing else. The problem being I don't particularly like social media in the first place - being a very old 35 year old!
So, where to start? I'm already doing some quick technical fixes (redirecting non www. to www., moving to faster server etc etc) but which issue would you address first and why/how?
Overall I have to say I'm actually quite excited about breathing some new life into our website and focus more on building our brand, creating quality copy and engaging our users more - moving from old school seo tricks to something better so I'm looking forward to hearing from you to see how you would go about this.