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.