Many search engine optimization specialists rely solely on keyword ranking results. While that may work for some, at ThatCompany, we work towards organic search query goal completions / conversions / sales online / sales offline. We work to improve keyword ranking results for specific organic search query terms, for improved desired conversions. However, what if you cannot get that specific term where you want it and make the cash register ring?
If you have done all of the following basic steps and are still not getting the results that you want, you may be facing a hazard.
- Keyword Research
- Keyword Competition Evaluation
- Keyword Selection
- Keyword Match To Existing Pages
- Keyword Content Creation – 10X Content
- Inbound Link Building
- Inbound Anchor Text Link Building
- Internal Anchor Text Link Building
- Meta Page Title Re-writes
- Meta Description Re-writes
- Existing Content Evaluation
- On-Page Optimization Revisions (based upon keyword match to existing pages)
- Site Quality / Structure Reviews
- .XML and .HTML Creation
It is time to dig a bit deeper. You may find that you have run into a hazard. Something that must be fixed no matter what amount of search engine optimization has been implemented.
Examples of Hazards
The following examples of hazards are usually found when taking on a new client with existing ranking result issues, however, many of the examples below can also occur under your management. This list is by no means complete. These are examples of issues that we have run into.
- No Metadata Access – The inability to change Meta page titles and meta descriptions. The ability to change page titles is SEO number 1 and the inability to change page titles is a game stopper.
- No Source code, Server or Template Access – The inability to add tracking codes such as Google Analytics (GA), Google Search Console (SC), Piwik Analytics or any other tracking codes necessary to provide site performance evaluations.
- Forms Not Working – Not sending to client causing an inability to record a lead / contact information; not sending a proper thank you response to the submitting party providing a poor user experience.
- Not Mobile Friendly – Hard to navigate on a mobile device; hard to view on a mobile device; shopping cart not resizing on product pages on a mobile device; check out process pages not resizing; Google penalty for not being mobile friendly; poor user experience; inability to convert.
- Bad Inbound Links – Links from unrelated sites; links from sites with low domain authority.
Note: Reviewing your inbound links can uncover things such as, stolen code or malicious, harmful link activity. For one customer, we discovered that another site owner had stolen their home page .html code, internal links included, and re-posted as an adult site that included links to their own adult content as well as links back to our client from the stolen source code. For this same customer, we also found that another site owner had copied the client’s proprietary images (company images including logos) and were using these to promote themselves as our client.
For yet another customer, a review of their inbound links uncovered a poor quality, foreign based, link farm with over 20,000 anchor text links on our client’s primary site theme keyword (in this case, the primary site theme keyword was the generic term for their proprietary product). Removal of this link required engaging an eastern European internet law attorney for legal action.
- Broken External Links – Links to pages that have been removed; links to sites that are no longer live or have changed domain names.
- Broken Internal Links – Links to pages that have been removed; links created and never tested; poorly created redirects.
Thankfully, Google has recognized that site owners may not be responsible for the links pointing to them and have provided resolution via the disavowal process. We built our own proprietary disavowal tool to automate this process for our clients.
- Poor Server Performance – Open to hacks; slow to load; unacceptable off line activity
- Duplicate Versions Of The Site – Running multiple versions of your site: http & https; www & non-www or in the case of one of the professional sports teams that we manage, you could reach the same content with http, without http, with http://www and http without www.
- Site Rebuilds – Indexed pages structure changes; leaving Googlebot crawl disallow in the robots.txt; major changes to site content, major changes to link structure, removal of indexed pages; URL changes for indexed pages; no redirects pointing to the new URLs.
- Domain Name Changes – Loss of all indexed pages; most likely loss of all bookmarked visitor traffic if not redirected properly; most likely loss of all direct visitor traffic if not redirected properly; loss of previous brand following; most likely loss of all inbound referral traffic if not redirected properly.
- Out of date .xml sitemaps – Pointing to removed pages creating crawl errors in Search Console.
In reviewing the previous list you may question why some of these items are hazards. Remember, at the beginning of the post, we stated that it was all about the client’s desired conversion. A client looking for leads / contact information from an online form would have a hazard if they did not receive that online form submission. It would not matter if they were the number one organic search result for all of their industry’s top organic search query terms, if they do not get the lead. A client looking to improve online product sales would be negatively impacted if their target client base was moving towards mobile device usage and their site was not mobile friendly. Possible purchasers could abandon the buying process in favor of a competitor that had a mobile friendly site.
Google may also penalize your ranking results for not being mobile friendly. Visitors may abandon your site if they cannot get to the page because the server is off line or your organic search query term results page was slow to load. Google may penalize your ranking results because, if the client cannot get to your site, most likely the Googlebot cannot get to your site. Page load speed is also a ranking factor as it plays in to the poor user experience. Google may penalize your ranking results because it cannot figure out which of the multiple versions of your site should actually appear in the organic search results for your organic search query term. The bottom line here is that hazards can impact ranking results and the user experience.
If you are not ranking well for your keyword term, you may be facing a hazard. If you are ranking well for your keyword term and not converting, you may be facing a hazard. In any case, all of the above should be reviewed and corrected, if necessary, to better serve your client, improve their ranking results and their desired conversions.
– Mark Gray, Senior SEO Manager