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Web Development Mistakes That Impact Search Engine Optimization Results

How many times do your successful Search Engine Optimization campaign efforts get set back because of web development mistakes?

I have seen plenty and am still amazed that these mistakes keep happening up to the current moment in time.

Here are some of the challenges outside of our control that we face in the search engine optimization industry:

Making on site page changes without consultation

two people talking consulting over the changesWe see this mistake all too often. This can consist of altering the page title, metadescription, h1 tag usage and/or the manipulation of existing, indexed code.
Change for change’s sake is not a good practice for proper search engine optimization. I am known to say, “it’s all pretty on page fitty”.

I fail to understand how those working in the internet industry do not understand that the existing code is already on file (in the search engine index). When you change that code, it forces a re-evaluation and re-indexing, sometimes for the good, most times for the bad.

You are paying for search engine optimization consultation, why destroy the effort with bad decision making and not utilizing your paid consultation services?


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The result is usually thrown back in the search engine consultant’s face. “Why are my rankings dropping?” “Why is my visitor traffic declining?” The simple answer, “Your web developer or somebody has changed the code that has been indexed by adding a new chunk of code, thus forcing the re-index process which Google evidently doesn’t like. You did this without consulting. From this point on we will be working to correct this error. This is why you have us. Thank you.”

Making full site migration without consultation

We’ve seen this all too often. Migration without consultation or at the least notification. Again, migration causes the code in the index to change. The results are usually negative unless you have consulted with your search engine optimization consultant and mitigated any possible negative impact that may result from the migration.

Making full site migration without consultation and going into a weekend or over a holiday

This one really gets me. Performing a full site migration and walking away over a weekend only to log in after returning to work and seeing months and/or years of work erased; all because there were no eyeballs on the site during the weekend or over the holiday.

Launching a new site re-build without notification

How many times have we seen this? Too many. You have worked for week’s and/or months to provide proper search engine optimization recommendations. Maybe you are still making recommendations.

You log in to the client’s site to continue to review for search engine optimization recommendations and discover that the client has pushed the button to go live and not allowed for proper review of the recommendations.

Soon after their keyword rankings fall along with visitor traffic and conversions / sales.

Of course, the search engine optimization consultant is to blame, when the blame lays elsewhere.

Launching a new site re-build without notification and going in to a weekend or holiday

man frustrated over website launchMuch like launching a full site migration / upgrade, you never, ever want to launch a new site on Friday going into a weekend or holiday. If you insist on performing this action, expect to have a very sad Monday morning.

This one is just poor, sloppy web development

Launching a new site re-build and leaving the Googlebot disallow instruction in the robots.txt file

Well, this is a real boo-boo. This results in an immediate negative reaction to your existing rankings. De-indexing the site is never a good idea. I am always conflicted to how this can be missed. Thankfully, it is a quick fix to remove the block, but it can have a long term negative impact to your site’s ranking results.

After a new launch this is always a 1st step go to check.

Updating a site without consultation and removing critical search engine optimization elements

This one always causes some sort of grief.

Your web developer notifies you that the site needs some critical updates. Never mind the fact that there is some custom coding that is required to enhance your search engine optimization efforts. You know, things like being able to have page titles and h1 tags different. Or, being able to create urls different than the default page title urls. Or, that annoying, appending your page title with the site name. Little things like that.

The upgrade goes in and your search engine optimization elements go out! And, your rankings sink.

Oops. Who was asleep at the switch?

Adding new pages without proper search engine optimization review before posting

Yep. This one still happens; however, my long-term clients have done this enough and experienced the outcome that they rarely do this one anymore.

What happens? Well, strangely enough the pages on a website are tied together in more ways than one. They are tied together via your top navigation menu, side menus, footer menus, .xml sitemaps, .html sitemaps and internal linking structures.

When a page fails it can impact the performance of other pages.

Think about it? Why do have a search engine optimization agency working on your behalf? If they are worth their salt, they are working to make every page on your site shine when the algorithms run.

Throwing pages up live that are not fully optimized will negatively impact the current results of your existing pages. You take the shine off the apple and it looks less appetizing, at least to the search engine algorithm.

Removing pages without using proper redirects

This happens more than you would expect. Existing pages get removed and are not redirected properly. Navigation items generate 404 response codes. External inbound links generate 404 response codes. Internal links generate 404 response codes.

Generating 404 response codes are not the end of the world, however, when Google calls out this data in your search console account, you should pay attention.

Not to mention the impact that this has on visitors to your site. Navigating a site and coming across 404 response code ‘oops’ pages is just a poor user experience.

When I come across these I go to another site as I figure “if you cannot build and maintain a working website, then what is the buying experience going to be like or what is the quality of your product or service going to be like”?

Not testing CTA’s/Form functionality

This is a biggie because it impacts your ability to get leads, turn conversions and / or make sales.

Piddling around with the code on a CTA page and not testing is just taboo but it happens.

You have spent a lot of resources to get visitors to your site, a/b tested to see which CTA performs best and then you go and break the form submission functionality or break the CTA thank you page.

Shame on you. This type of error, when discovered, can be a pink slip generating activity.

Not building for mobile

person holding mobile This one does not happen all that often any more, but we still come across it occasionally. Believe it or not there are still some websites that are not mobile friendly.

This can impact user experience, however, according to many in the search engine optimization and Google, it is now a mobile search result world.

Get mobile or get out!

Improper use of href lang tags

Is your market global? Are you targeting different regions and / or languages around the world? You need to study up on the use of href lang tags and implement.

There are all sorts of issues that can happen with web development that can negatively impact your site’s ranking results, organic performance and overall profitability. Look for these items and fix them. Better yet avoid them by doing it right in the beginning.

About That Company

Founded in 2007, That Company is one of the largest agencies, by staff size, in the United States dedicated to specializing in digital marketing: search engine optimization campaign management, pay per click advertising campaign management, social media marketing advertising, online reputation management and organic campaign management, white label seo, ppc and smm campaign management.

Mark has been with That! Company since the day that we opened the doors in May 2007, starting as a commissioned, subcontracted website salesman providing website development and hosting services to SMB’s (small to medium sized businesses). As the company neared its first 6 months in business a fourth employee was added, and Mark became the fifth full-time employee. Aside from the company’s CEO, Mark was the first employee to manage PPC campaigns. As the business’ SEO client base grew, Mark added SEO content curation and on page optimization implementation and testing to his resume. As the company neared its first year in existence, Mark became an SEO consultant with a full load of clients to manage. Mark’s strengths include: On page SEO implementation and testing, backlink disavowal discovery and data evaluation, Google Search Console use and data evaluation, Google Analytics use and data evaluation, client communication, reliability, accountability and SEO content curation on an ‘as needed’ basis.

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