CASE STUDY: Is Your On-Page SEO Hurting Your Search Rankings?
There are many ways your website could be holding itself back from ranking higher on search engines. Here are 2 stories of cases where the client’s own websites where holding them back from the rankings they deserved.
CASE 1: The Plunging Search Rankings
One of our clients came to us about a year ago in a tough spot. They’re an ecommerce website that was doing a lot of business with organic traffic and they had many good years behind them. But in mid 2012, Google came out with an algorithm update and their keywords went from page 1 to page 7, 8, 9 and 10.
He had spent the previous 2 years, before coming to us, hiring SEO companies to boost his rankings. They created blogs, they built backlinks and they billed him a lot of money, but nothing seemed to work. There was no “manual penalty,” a penalty that you can see in your Google Webmaster’s account, so they didn’t know exactly what the problem was.
In my interview with the client, he mentioned the date that his rankings began to plummet. Seemed like an obvious place to start. After looking up the Google algorithm update history, I found his date and one of the factors in the update was regarding keyword stuffing.
If you don’t know what keyword stuffing is, back in the early days of search engines, they used to look for some basic things, like how many times a word or term was used on your website. They simply figured if this website mentions chocolate chip cookies a lot, then it must be a good source for chocolate chip cookie information. Well SEO’s took advantage of that and started “stuffing” their “chocolate chip cookies” into the page content with reckless abandon. As Google got “smarter” they began to penalize website for doing “black-hat” things like that.
So, we ran the client’s website through a keyword density analyzer and sure enough, it was jam-packed with their keywords. When 5% keyword density should be normal, they we at 25% for many of their pages.
So, we went through every page of their website, almost 100, in all, and edited all of the copy. Within several days, their rankings returned to normal. Most keywords went up to pages 1-3. Unfortunately, spending 2 yeas on Google’s naughty list took a toll on their Page Rank. It remained stagnant while their competitors Page Rank’s increased. Now, our focus is on creating good, quality backlinks that show off what a quality company they truly are.
CASE 2: The “Overnight” Success
One of the fastest ways we see a company’s SERPs (search engine ranking position) is when they have little or no on-page SEO. This was the case with one of our oldest clients. They came to use with a dated HTML website. They weren’t even in the top 100 search results for many of the top products. They were a company that has been around since the 1950s, well respected in the community and had bought their domain almost 15 years before meeting us.
So, what was their problem? No on-page SEO. Many people think that when they have their website built, that the web designer/developer automatically does their on-page SEO. This is almost never the case. That’s like expecting your drywall guy to paint your house; they may seem like related tasks, but completely separate skills sets.
Doing proper on-page SEO requires lots of research; research on your industry, research on your keywords, research on your competitors. Once you’ve done your research, you may then proceed to apply what you’ve learned to your website.
In this client’s case, we build them a new responsive (mobile-friendly) WordPress website, we optimized it for their keywords and performance and within a few days they were ranking on page 1 and 2 for almost all of their keywords. It was very exciting to see such dramatic results in such a short time.
In their case, they had good Page Rank, they had a fair amount of backlinks, the problem was Google didn’t know what they were trying to rank for. Once we “told” them, by applying the proper on-page SEO, the results were almost overnight.
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