Each time there has been a major update at least some of my sites have suffered and each time with a bit of work they have came back. I'm not so sure that will happen this time but hey it's made me more than determined than ever to make this thing work.
All of my sites have been built by myself and I have also done most of the SEO too like many of you do. There is one site that I had been working on that just wouldn't convert (it's in my signature) and that has really made me think. Maybe it is just crap and that is why Google doesn't like it?
This site got slapped before. I fact I had done some pretty blackhat stuff on it to get it to the first page of Google until they cracked down heavily on that sort of stuff. So after the introduction of the Penguin update I got a new domain name and put it on a 301 direct it. Fresh start to it I hoped?
As with most of the other sites that tried this it worked great for a few days - back on page one for many many long tail keywords but then the penalty kicked in and down the rankings it fell again.
So then I searched the Warrior forum for someone to do the SEO for me for a monthly fee. After very careful consideration I found one guy that seemed to know what he was doing and had many good reviews. I signed up to his monthly plan and within about 5 weeks I was back on page one. Ok not all the long tail keywords came back but the main one was there so I was happy.
Then Friday night disaster happened I lost that site and all of the other as well. Just like many other people did. So I got in touch with my SEO guy for a little advice and to see what his plan of action was. He was very honest with me and basically said he didn't have one!
|I don't have a rescue plan, and no one has cause the update is still so fresh.|
I use a redirection script to send my visitors to the vendors. The idea behind it wasn't to be sly and hide the fact that it's an affiliate site from Google - It was there for the purpose of reducing the bounce rate and then letting me know which offers were the most popular.
So now I'm sat with no ranking websites and no income as a result. I have had a look at the other sites that are still ranking and noticed that the top website still uses a redirect script but it does something that really impressed me. What it does is it links to another page with just a few more details about the offer and the company and that asks if you want to carry on the site.
This in itself shouldn't be too hard to implement to my site. Yes it still uses a redirect script but in fact I don't think it needs to even do that. Bounce rate down and more value to the user is there to be taken - job done once I add it!
Something else that has been worrying me was the company banner image at the top of the page. I asked a friend about it to see what he thought about it and he told me that he wouldn't buy off the site simply because it didn't have a proper company logo.
Now I have started to redesign it with not only a company logo but also with the emphasis on the strengths of the website and what you can gain from by shopping with me so to speak. Tomorrow when I get to work (and I can't wait) I'm gonna finish it off and put it up.
Now this site had the worst conversion rate out of any of my websites and I've sat down and thought about why. My conclusion is simple - it is crap. My focus over the last few years is to make money money money.
Yes I've had a good run and am lucky enough to be able to work till the end of the year without making another penny but this has really got me thinking. Good bounce rate but crap conversions and people only spend on average about 1 minute 30 seconds on the site.
No wonder Google crapped on me because I'm not giving the user exactly what they want and where I do I'm not putting enough emphasis on the strengths of the site. It could be improved not just a little but in fact it needs to be improved massively. In fact all of my sites do. I make affiliate sites - what I should be doing is creating price comparison websites instead. Yes could be another word for the same thing but I don't think it is really.
Now social media! Hmm there's a black spot for me. I've attempted this a few times and failed to get any interest. I'm not doing it right and that need to change. I need to master this and get it right. I do have an idea but need many more to finally master this.
In the new 'more details page' that I am going to create for each product there will be an option to find out more or ask a question via a Facebook and Twitter page. Not much but maybe a start in the right direction. Not really sure until I try it but an idea all the same. I do know I need more ideas for social interaction and will need to think long and hard about it. The trouble I have always found is I'm selling other peoples products. This sites I make are intended for you to visit once and make a sale - no need to come back.
Another idea I have had is to finally add a blog to the site but more importantly a forum as well. The idea behind this is to let other people add relevant information to the site and be constantly updated by other people - surely this would be good for SEO and with minimal effort as long as I can get on top of the spam which would come with it. Also I should really start to write on other related forums to try and get a few of their visitors to my sites.
One of my biggest regrets looking back is the fact that from the visitors I have had on these sites is not giving them exactly what they want. If I had just concentrated a bit more on user experience instead of SEO I think I could have doubled the sales that have been made. So much lost money! That has to change.
I now have to make the most of the visitors that I do get. In fact one of my sites got rejected from Google Adwords because the homepage linked direct to the offers and as it existed for the 'sole purpose of making money' Google rejected it. They won't let you advertise a page that links directly out to another site. Bit weird because they are quite happy for you to put Adsense in which does exactly the same.
Anyway my main goal now is to completely forget SEO and look to see what the rest of the sites that are still ranking are doing. Not following their linking strategies but what they are doing onsite and replicate the good stuff. If I can get my sites approved for Adwords then I know I will be heading in the right direction to start with.
Sorry for such a long and boring post but I hope I does give people a few ideas as what to do for themselves or a least to think about what they could do. I'm fed up of chasing Google to earn some free advertising because in truth the time spend could be invested elsewhere. The way I see it I'm actually losing money by putting my efforts into trying to beat Google - No more. If my sites become good enough to convert a lot better then in truth I won't need it.