Get rid of your SEO skeletons once and for all

I found hidden links within 60 seconds. Discovering the duplicate pages took another minute. And — lookie here — the code is really, really bad.

No, this isn’t a scammy corporation trying to spam their way to the top. This is a Mom and Pop business where the owners are honestly trying to do everything right. Yes, they educated themselves by reading books and visiting forums. Yes, they can speak SEO”¦to a point. But they knew they couldn’t do it all themselves.

So they did what most companies do. They hired out to SEO #1, who suggested adding 50 duplicate doorway pages, one for each state. That SEO lasted six months before getting fired for non- performance. Enter SEO #2, who thought hidden links were the way to go. Then, the owner of the company put his fingers in the SEO pie. He decided to add hidden text because, “It just seemed to make sense to me.”

And with that, the company (which will remain nameless) hid another SEO skeleton away in their closet.

This situation is so common that I call it “inadvertent spam.” The site owner didn’t mean do to anything wrong”¦but their site is full of violations. And unfortunately, their pages aren’t positioning as a result

If you aren’t seeing the results you want — and you’ve either optimized the site yourself, or worked with one (or many) SEO firm (s) — consider a SEO audit. Yes, they cost money. Yes, they’re pricy. But they are well worth it. Jessica Bowman at SEMIn-House does a great job discussing this topic, so I won’t rehash it here. Suffice it to say that I’ve seen audits pay for themselves many times over. We offer SEO content reviews through SuccessWorks – and it’s amazing how tweaking a couple things can make such a huge difference.

Would an SEO audit be a smart move for your site? Ask yourself:

  • How many people/firms have “touched” the site within the last five years? Different SEOs (whether in-house or outsourced) may implement different techniques. If the SEO isn’t skilled — or was trying to game the engines — those techniques may have hurt your site long-term.
  • Do you really know your site’s history? If you’re a new hire (or just moved to the SEO department) calling an audit allows you to see exactly what you’re getting into. Additionally, it helps you find new ways to leverage your search campaign that the last person may not have seen.
  • Does your IT department (or SEO) brag about having “secret ways to trick the engines” or “proprietary methods that will gain top rankings?” That’s like hearing your accountant say that she has a “proprietary tax preparation method” for keeping your taxes down and the IRS happy. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Get an audit and check it out.
  • And finally”¦if you’re optimizing the site yourself, are you sure that you’ve grabbed every opportunity? A SEO audit will outline what you need to do next, helping you focus your efforts and save time.
9 replies
  1. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hi, Mayank,

    It’s true that hiring a SEO costs money -and when you’re just starting out and it’s between paying rent and paying a SEO…well…the SEO goes out the window!

    Some folks have bartered with quality SEO companies – and that’s always an interesting way to gain a service without paying cash for it. Granted, not every company can do that.

    Additionally, there are some great local SEOs out there that don’t charge an arm and a leg, and do good work. If you’re in a place where a SEO budget is possible, it’s always worth checking pricing and providers.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. SEO Company
    SEO Company says:

    Right…its always a great idea to find a local SEO determined to actually show as well as see good results…because it really makes a huge difference once your website is optimized…nice article.

    Reply
  3. SEO Zombie
    SEO Zombie says:

    I am sometimes floored by the number of web based companies to “claim” to know SEO and may get their clients in trouble. I got into a fierce debated with a local web designer mail list, with all the big boys in my town. Some guy had hidden links and text wrapped in tags all in his code. When I called this out as a bad practice, I had a flood of designers telling me I was clueless…
    The world is full of “SEO” done by people who learned about the industry in 1998.
    In my town, only one company does “real SEO”, and I could blow them away because they lack serious skill. Just waiting until I finish up college and open my own seo firm.

    Reply
  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

    Reply
  5. Heather
    Heather says:

    SEO Zombie (love the name!)

    Yes, it is amazing how many “experts” are out there. I actually don’t worry about the folks who have been doing it since 1998. Those folks seem to be OK (as long as they keep up.) What worries me are the folks who jump on the seo copywriting bandwagon and push an “expert” status – and they have two years or less of experience…

    Good luck opening your SEO firm! Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
  6. e file
    e file says:

    The number of web based companies to “claim” to know SEO and may get their clients in trouble. I got into a fierce debated with a local web designer mail list, with all the big boys in my town. Some guy had hidden links and text wrapped in tags all in his code.Some folks have bartered with quality SEO companies – and that’s always an interesting way to gain a service without paying cash for it. Granted, not every company can do that.

    Reply
  7. e file
    e file says:

    Right…its always a great idea to find a local SEO determined to actually show as well as see good results…because it really makes a huge difference once your website is optimized…nice article.

    Reply

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