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Seo Help Appreciated

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3 replies to this topic

#1 RippedsheetsWM


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Posted 23 February 2015 - 05:26 PM

Hello all,

My name is Sierra and I am the Webmaster for REMOVED.  I have been the webmaster since June, so roughly 8 months.  During this time, I have transferred the website from xml 1.0 to HTML5 and CSS3 with small amounts of Javascript here and there.  The website was created one page at a time with no real focus on a template.  As long as it looked similar, that was ok.  Some pages had styles that other pages did not, some were made using tables, some with divs.  It was a mess.  The thought of any page achieving W3 Validation was a joke.  Currently, I am well over halfway complete in rebuilding the website within the correct style and once done, I plan to narrow the pages and load times more by seperating out the static elements in the page with PHP.

As far as the meta text, about 50% of the pages had the exact same information.  The same title, the same description, and the same keywords.  As I work with the pages, I take the summary description on each page and create the description, then use the header name as the Title.  I have removed keywords altogether.


There were links all over leading to non-existant pages and they 301'd any and all old pages, leaving the links active on the pages.


The search engines should've leapt for joy and lifted the website up as high as it could.  Did this happen?  No.

The website has dropped in placement for many keywords, sometimes up to 3-4 pages.  The website isn't getting as many Organic hits and the website and phones have slowed by about 25%.


Currently, I am working to achieve W3 certified status and am pushing to beat last years numbers.  So far, I am much lower than last year.


I have a great robots.txt and sitemap.xml, I am connected to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and I read article after article.


If anyone can please tell me what I am missing, I would really appreciate it!

Thank you all. :frustrate:

#2 chrishirst


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Posted 23 February 2015 - 06:24 PM





The website was created one page at a time with no real focus on a template.  As long as it looked similar, that was ok


And the problem with that is... ??? ...

#3 torka


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Posted 24 February 2015 - 11:22 AM

You're making major changes to the site: the underlying code, eliminating pages, updating links, etc. I think from a site administration standpoint, the things you're doing will make your life and the lives of any subsequent webmasters much easier, so it's probably a good thing to do... but in the meantime, you've potentially confused the search engines a bit. It may take them some time to catch up with all the changes you've made. This could at least partially explains the effects you're seeing.


Beyond that, the site code is a relatively minor issue in terms of search optimization. As long as the code renders in a browser, it's likely "good enough" for the search engine bots to figure it out. So -- while it makes your life easier as a site administrator -- your code clean up will likely not result in huge improvements in average rankings (or traffic).


If you were thinking what you're doing now would lead to big increases in traffic, that's most likely not going to happen. You may eventually see the site return to where it was before (or you may not), but there are a lot of other things that you'll need to work on instead if you want to see big improvements in traffic and sales.


For instance, in all this you haven't mentioned the quality of the content or what sort of outside links you have pointing to site pages. Those factors (especially the quality of the content) will make a much bigger difference than "clean code," not only in rankings and traffic but also ultimately in conversions. When it comes right down to it, most rational business owners care far less about how elegant their website code is, what their rankings are, or what sort of site traffic they're getting -- as long as the actual number of sales closed or leads generated by the site is looking good. In other words, for them what matters is the bottom line.


Think about it this way: if you were a business owner, which would you prefer? Getting 10,000 visitors and converting 0.1% to sales (10 sales) or getting 1,000 visitors and converting 10% to sales (100 sales)? Of course, most business owners would prefer 100 sales instead of 10. A higher conversion rate will allow you to post much better numbers (the kind of numbers that matter to management) even with lower numbers of visitors. (And when your visitor numbers do increase, a higher conversion rate multiplies the effect.)


Bonus: it's often a lot easier to increase your conversion rates than it is to bring in more traffic. The changes needed to improve conversions are entirely under your control, while traffic numbers can be influenced by search engine changes, optimization efforts of your competitors and other outside factors.


If you're concerned about the sales numbers, you might want to put the code clean up on the back burner (don't necessarily stop the cleanup entirely, but just don't spend all your time working on the code) and instead put your primary effort into conversion optimization. You can check in to The Conversion Scientist, MarketingExperiments, PsychoTactics or GrokDotCom for ideas on how to improve conversion rates.


My :02:


--Torka :oldfogey:

  • Jill and davidjhon like this

#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 02:06 PM

W3 validation is completely unimportant.  As Torka says, what matters most is that the site renders well in a browser.


Things that could be hurting the new site's performance might include:

  • Page clutter

  • Less focused page titles

  • Less focused page copy

  • Loss of internal linkage

  • Hiding too much text with CSS


Page Clutter includes a lot of things and is hard to pin down, especially when people make excuses for including more and more stuff on the page.  The rule of thumb is that if you have so many links and images on a page that no reasonable visitor is going to access them all then you have too much page clutter.


Page clutter either obscures the important content on the page or it distracts the visitor from what is important.


Long lists of navigation links are one of the most common page clutter issues.  Large banks of image thumbnails are another example of common page clutter mistakes.


Page Titles that were working before may only have needed a little bit of tweaking.  You want a page title to be similar to a query that is a good match for the page.  You can include the query in the title or make the query the title.  But you also want the title to provide some brand information (usually the company or Website name).


Page Copy is another area where "cleanup" may produce undesired results.  On the one hand, some old "SEO copywriting" styles have proven to be really bad for Websites.  On the other hand, the search engines tell you to include the keywords you want to be found for in the page copy. If the page copy is easy to read aloud it's probably okay.  If it sounds awkward when you read it aloud you may want to reduce the number of uses of some keywords.


Hiding Text with CSS was always a bad idea but search engines are starting to ignore it, punish sites for doing this deceptively, or at least warn people to stop doing it.  Examples of hiding text with CSS include:


  • Hidden DIVs (using negative coordinates)

  • Expanding menus

  • In-page TABbed navigation


Although many web designers like these things they have been abused by Web spammers and often are so poorly implemented they create a poor user experience anyway.


In general I advise people to:

  • Only include on the page content that visitors see immediately

  • Use small mastheads that do not force users to scroll down to see the content

  • Use inobtrusive advertising (I hate popups)

  • Use images to enhance the points the text is making


You will always find exceptions to any "rule" people share, but at the end of the day if whatever you are doing is not working then you MUST try something else.  Arguing with a search engine (figuratively) by pointing to counter-examples just doesn't improve traffic in any way.

  • davidjhon likes this

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