Away Your Money on Search Engine Optimization
Throw Away Your Money on Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization consists of some relatively arcane issues
that are not obvious to anyone. That I can be thankful for, I suppose,
or I wouldn't continue to be in demand as an SEO specialist. But
why do clients throw money out the window with developers who don't
understand they are bulldozing down site naming structure and careful
page architecture when they do a site redesign?
Today I got a call from a very good client who was excited to have
me see his site redesign and sent me off to visit while he was on
the phone. I typed in the domain name and watched
the page load in my browser. Nice color scheme, interesting scrolling
header, clean design, good navigation. "Looks Good," I
said, and then my heart sank when I noted that my carefully
crafted title tag was missing from the browser title bar.
I clicked to the sitemap and noticed that my naming convention
for pages, subdirectories and image files had been discarded like
yesterdays trash. I went to the source code and saw that
independent off-page .js files was back on the page again, along
with the CSS styles. Oh, and no description metatags.
I began to groan audibly as I made each of these discoveries, forgetting
that my client was on the line. My heart leapt back into my throat
as I looked for all the great articles, press releases, additional
text content I had conscientously added and found them missing from
the site entirely!
My client responded to my noises with an exclamation that his new
site was "State of the Art!" and "Completely Automated"
as he pointed out the cool new functions and slick scripts. "Only
one problem," he said, still gushing about the expensive toys,
goodies and googaws on his pretty new baby - "We dropped from
our first page rankings in the search engines, what happened?"
I won't detail what I said as I exploded in anger at the havoc
his developer wreaked upon my lovingly optimized pages, but after
I calmed a bit (thank goodness he's a good client and a
friend) I detailed the developer's unknowing destruction.
Do you realize that ALL links to previous pages will generate "404
Not Found" errors from links in the search engines until these
new pages are crawled? Do you realize that EVERYTHING I did to get
top rankings has been destroyed?! Do you understand that ALL the
money you gave me to optimize your site will have to be spent AGAIN?
This exchange has happened with several clients over the past few
years. Even though I warn each new client that they must take care
to avoid exactly this scenario when they have a site redesigned
or upgraded. DON'T CHANGE FILENAMES, DON'T OVERWRITE TITLE TAGS,
This week I had a client call asking why the site changes he had
agreed to a month ago had not been completed. I reminded him that
he'd asked me to send those changes to his developer
so that the changes were in-house rather than giving me server access.
I've got a new excuse to use now. The developer did it, or in this
case - didn't do it. This developer saw no need to post my thoroughly
researched title tags, based on keyword density of each page, to
every one of the site's 300 pages. No matter that I'd spent days
researching keywords, adjusting page text and massaging all title
tags to match. The developer was busy.
The last straw for me came today though. A client called to find
out if we could avoid the extensive rework of his site needed to
do the "URL re-writes" that he'd agreed to do in
the contract we signed recently. Why? "My programmer tells
me it will take him a month to do this without breaking the site
scripts." I reminded him that this had been discussed in our
meeting last month when the programmer balked at all the work that
would be required of him.
No problem, I said, we can go another route, but it will cost you
twice as much for my immediate work and ultimately more than three
times as much in your Pay-Per-Click budget FOREVER. You won't rank
nearly as well in the organic search listings.
Most of your site will never be indexed by most search engines
unless you pay for mass URL inclusion, and that only works for one
search engine - Yahoo, since everyone else has stopped the paid
inclusion programs. Google doesn't offer paid inclusion. (Google
and partners send nearly 70% of search traffic to him and most other
"Oh!", he exclaimed. "Well, ultimately the programmer
will do what he's paid to do, like it or not."
Hmmm. Well I like it. Maybe my best weapon against developers and
programmers opposed to SEO requirements will be those PPC budgets
and Google's lack of paid inclusion program.
About the Author
Mike Banks Valentine
is SEO for http://InsuranceDirectory411.com and http://Auto-Accident-Lawyer-Directory.com
where he had some of the experiences detailed in the article above.