Now without wishing to blow my own trumpet (I tried it once and strained my back), the SEO work I did for them was very successful. So much so that over 90% of their business now comes from their website (it was less than 30% before I tweaked their site).
The problem is that they actually want me to reverse engineer the site because they can’t cope with the demand generated from the website.
How do you build a website so that it ranks badly on the search engines?
Now I’ve never proclaimed to be an SEO expert and I told them that before I took the project on. Sure, I understand the mechanics of search engine optimization but I wouldn’t refer to myself as an SEO. Prior to my meeting with the client I spent a couple of hours on the train reading print outs from Search Engine Watch (when it was good – i.e. when Danny Sullivan was still there) to get to grips with things, pick up on buzzwords and suchlike and I must have given a good enough presentation to get the contract. Either that or I was cheap.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make was that I was shocked when I revisited the site and saw how I’d achieved such good SERPS for them for so many of their keyphrases.
Keyword stuffing, generic meta descriptions, poorly formatted pages, non unique title tags, next to no work on backlinks. Need I go on?
I remember reading an article on SEOmoz. I can’t remember who it was by. It was probably Rand Fishkin. The genius and logic of the article can only have been written by someone with a beard. Anyway, the article referred to how to tell the difference between an SEO expert and a novice and one of the things he mentioned was that SEO novices tend to dilute the value of their work by trying to promote the same keywords/phrases on every single page of a site rather than focusing page by page. Sure enough, this was exactly what I’d done – the same meta information across the whole site.
The work I did for this client has got them to #1 in Google for pretty much all of the keyphrases they were targeting. This is despite the fact that I’ve broken pretty much every rule that I’ve subsequently learnt in terms of SEO (i.e. no keyword stuffing, getting quality backlinks is essential, you must have unique title and description tags, no duplicate content, utilise analytics). As far as I can see, they should be wallowing in the supplemental index for most of the pages and should not be getting the traffic they are.
So here’s the question:
If crappy, old style SEO tactics have got a company to #1 in Google for their chosen keywords/phrases, how should I change things?
As far as I can see, what I did 2 years ago shouldn’t be working but it is. How can I reverse engineer the site so it doesn’t perform as well?