Lessons Learned from Tanking in the Search Engine Rankings.

Lessons Learned from Tanking in the Search Engine Rankings.

lessonslearned

Well just like you, my business is subject to take hits from Google that at times make no sense! I get it when customers say to me “It’s so frustrating I was ranking great and then all of sudden my site took a nose dive and I didn’t do any black hat linking.  Help, going from page 1 to page 30 has killed my business”.   I am not kidding when I say I can totally relate. My company was so busy there for a while when we were ranking on page one with sometimes double listings for certain keywords that I neglected my company’s own SEO when transitioning to a new site redesign and content management system a couple years back.

It was a tough lesson to learn but literally two weeks ago I started getting web inquiries from my site and knew something was up.  Sure enough after digging a little deeper my company website went from oblivian to ranking for a few familiar terms on page 2 and 3 which still isn’t back to where it was but, its a glimmer of hope that we’ve turned a corner and the website inquiries will start flowing in again freely.  And I do MEAN freely! That’s what I love about SEO it is free in a sense. It’s just hard work, takes time and is about having good content, a great site structure, and if your lucky, your using experience as part of your SEO strategy.

I remember getting started in SEO back 13 years ago when I answered an ad in Craiglist to help US Outdoor with link building. At the time, all I cared about was bringing in some money to allow me to stay home with my little baby.  We’ll she’s off to High School next year and a lot has changed in link building since then.   I owe my start in SEO to a friend of mine, Gregg Beddor, a local guy who ran an ad and gave me a shot at the job and introduced me to a world that was fun, exciting and at the time innovative and creative.  Way back then there weren’t many people doing what he was doing and over the years I learned a lot from him. After starting my own company, I would challenge myself to out rank him for certain keywords which was always fun,  but I will say, when I need some deep knowledge on SEO I turn to him still to this day.  Back then SEO was like discovering a new world and if you knew what you were doing you could dominate it in unbelievable ways. Now there is so much competition, bad marketing tactics and a dictatorship by Google that it’s just not as fun.  Don’t get me wrong there is still a ton of money to be made but for a small businesses the internet is not like it was 13 years ago.

When we did my site redesign I was so excited for the fresh new look and how professional it came across. But, when it tanked in the rankings I thought, holy hell what have I done.  After trying to survive and entrenching myself in new alternative ways to get traffic like Google Ads, Facebook Marketing,  Webinars and Craiglist ads I still haven’t found anything better than SEO. Don’t get me wrong I believe in a holistic approach to marketing and diversification of your marketing efforts. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever allow myself to be so vulnerable to having all my eggs in one basket again.  I’d recommend to anyone that your marketing strategy for 2015 should be  #1 SEO (assuming you have a great looking mobile friendly site that is optimized!)    #2 Video Marketing  #3 Marketing to your current client base.

As I write this article I could go off in so many directions and I am trying to keep this focused on my lessons learned, so let’s get back on topic.  As I struggled to, one – not panic, two – attend to current customers, and three- try new marketing efforts to diversify my incoming leads, I grew frustrated again.  As you know in marketing these days there’s a hundred different shinning marketing tricks and tips to go after and I’ve spent the last two years going down many different roads. Fun exciting roads but frustrating ones none the less.

Finally one day l I really looked at my content management system and not only that but discovered related issues to the version I was running. Here is a great article on related SEO issues with Joomla.  Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE Joomla as a platform for web design, but it is essential when building a site in Joomla or WordPress that whoever is building it, better know SEO and if you are doing a site redesign that you carefully make sure all redirects from your old site to your new one get done properly so you don’t have a bunch of 404 errors.  I’m not a 100% sure what turned my site back around but this makes me incredibly sensitive to my customers concerns for their websites and their business’ bottom line and how changes can effect it both in a positive and negative way.   So as a positive person I take that away as my silver lining and know that experience leads to wisdom, and I’m feeling pretty wise right now!!  🙂

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Written by Mary Killelea