“Mayhem is everywhere” is the tagline of a popular ad campaign for AllState Insurance. It features actor Dean Winters playing the role of Mayhem, because you don’t expect the things that happen, things you need to be insured against. If you’re a business owner, you don’t think twice about taking out insurance for your business. Protecting your business against potential mayhem is a no-brainer when your own livelihood and that of your employees is on the line.
Your website and online presence are essential parts of your business in today’s modern marketplace, and an ongoing SEO program is built-in insurance for your valuable online properties. Things change in the world of search engines every day, and you need to ensure that your online presence stays at the top of search results. Here are a couple of the potential calamities that your website can face and how an ongoing program can insulate you from their effects.
Major Search Engine Updates
A couple of years ago, it was clear that Google had a major problem. Websites and media companies had been gaming their engine to serve low-quality pages for key terms that were in demand. It got so bad that every time you searched for something, sites like Yahoo Answers and other low-quality sites would get top placement over way more relevant results. For instance, a search for “breast cancer treatment” would have yielded a Yahoo Answers page getting placement over top cancer treatment centres.
This gave Google an online reputation problem. People were turning to other search engines and social media for higher-quality search results. To curb it, they introduced a major update called “Panda” that made content quality a prerequisite for high search engine rankings, and they have been enforcing it aggressively over the last two years.
Like the mayhem in the video – a driver’s blind spot – many websites and the people and companies responsible for managing them were hit hard by something they all knew about, but may not have expected to happen to them. This presented a problem for businesses that had started to optimize their sites in the same manner as the larger media companies, with lots of low-quality content to increase rankings, and many companies saw their results tanking rapidly as a result.
Google’s Panda update is just one example. Search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms and what worked six months ago to rank your site may not work today. This, more than anything else, is why you need an ongoing search optimization program.
Our clients will go through a couple of major website redevelopments and many minor changes over the course of our relationship with them. Being there with them through these changes is a key element of an ongoing relationship. We keep things clean in terms of website and offsite online presences so they don’t lose the good parts of what they’ve invested in. We’ll properly optimize new content and make sure all old content is transferred over properly.
While web designers have your company’s best interests at heart, most will not do something that you’re not asking them to. Their focus is on design and functionality. Unless they are selling you an SEO package along with their services, many things can get missed. Website redirects are a good example; these are key in ensuring that you don’t lose your standings with the search engines, and some designers will build in temporary redirects or, worse, no redirects at all. Rebuilding results after the fact when your site has dropped in search engine rankings is much more difficult than properly redirecting the search engines to your content in the first place.
For example, we got a call from a company that is a large utilities provider in Alberta. They said they just merged two websites and redesigned the new one and had just launched, and were surprised that their rankings were so low. Within five minutes of checking it out, we found that no proper redirects had been put in place, so search engines were just sailing right by their excellent content because they couldn’t find it anymore. In this instance, the search engine robots thought they’d taken their site offline, and they lost all that goodwill they had built up with the search engines with their two old sites.
In today’s fast-paced world, marketing managers and other personnel that have control over your online properties can come and go. With each new hire, you lose the knowledge of what your business has done online in the past. With an ongoing online marketing and search engine optimization program, the new hire can pick up where the old one left off with full continuity, ensuring that nothing breaks your digital stride. An ongoing program will help train your new hire on best online practices so they don’t make any missteps that can cost your business money.
The three examples above have probably clued you into just how important it is to form a relationship with an SEO company – because you never know when the mayhem will strike.