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Posted April 25th, 2013 under SEO

Help! My Web Rankings Have Fell Off!

Tags: Google Panda Recovery, Google Panda Recovery, Web Site Rankings Dropped, Web Site Not Ranking Anymore

Help! My Web Rankings Have Fell Off!

"Why is my web suddenly not generating leads!?!?!?

In the last 12 months this question/scream has been a common denominator to business owners who come to us looking for answers and solutions to why their web site has fallen off considerably.

The answer more often than not is that one of Google's recent algorithm updates affected your web site in a negative manner. More specifically, Panda and Penguin have hurt your web site and it's rankings.

To borrow a favorite parenting term of mine, Google has put your web site in 'Timeout', otherwise known as being 'sandboxed'. Sandboxing is the most common penalty I see with small and medium-sized businesses (the much more damaging but less common is getting 'de-indexed' which is essentially Google deleting your web site from their search).

Being sandboxed means the only way to find your web site in Google Search is to search for your web site name or company name. This means that people who search for your services or products will never find your web site. That means you’re not going to have leads coming through your web site. See the trend? This is usually what has happened when web site owners call us upset because their steady flow of inbound leads are no longer steady.

So How Did I Get Penalized?

Some common factors that get businesses penalized are:

  • Too much blog commenting
  • Too many links with the exact same anchor text
  • Links from spammy web sites
  • Links from web sites that have absolutely no relevance to your site
  • Spammy content
  • A collection of links that are not diverse

So basically all the things that obscenely cheap “Fly-By-Night” SEO companies (and sometimes really legit expensive ones too) do to get quick rankings are what gets you in trouble.

So My Site Is Sandboxed, Now What?

The key now for you to recover from Google's penalty is to identify specifically what's been done that has violated Google's best SEO practice guidelines and fix it. This process can often be a winding road that gets fairly technical, so if you have some time on your hands and don't mind jumping into the world of 'rel=canonical', I'd highly recommend hiring a qualified hiring a qualified professional to navigate these rocky waters for you.

So what should you look for when you’re hiring an SEO company?  Here are 5 questions I highly recommend asking when evaluating SEO firms:

  1. Are they transparent? Is this company willing to explain E-X-A-C-T-L-Y how they plan to get you rankings. If they get shaky or cite 'intellectual property' mumbo jumbo, I advise you to eliminate them from consideration. Why? For the same reason your friend who doesn't want to share his/her killer Tacos Al Pastor recipe is lame; the reality of living in the information age is that 99% of questions you can ask these days could easily be answered with a simple Google search. The reality is that the true value of an SEO service is their ability to execute a strategic SEO plan – it's not their super secret SEO tactics.
  2. Do they answer their phone when you call? If you can't get a hold of people BEFORE you hire them without jumping through hoops, what can you possibly expect once you are actually paying them?
  3. Do they have compelling, verifiable success stories? Again, any SEO company worth a flip should be able to rattle off a half dozen web sites you can search for yourself to verify. Extra points if they let you call them. 
  4. Is their name Bizroids? If yes, HIRE THEM! Just kidding…but seriously, we've never had a client get sandboxed or de-indexed under our watch and our cancellation rate is less than 5% a month.
  5. Are they too 'Sales-y'? I'm probably not telling you anything you don't know when I say that there are just way to many scam artists these days and the SEO Industry is chock full of them. Fear tactics, sales presos only highlighting best case scenarios and outlandish guarantees. So If the answer to the question is yes, I would avoid that company at all costs and here's why: SEO companies with really good sales people (aka "closers") tend to not have sales people who have any actual knowledge or expertise in SEO other than how to sell it. They are typically drifter-type sales people who have sold everything from real estate to telecom systems to mobile phones. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with any of those professions, but you want the person who 'sells' you your SEO service to have the ability to set realistic expectations for you and in my experience these individuals quite simply do not have the expertise to do that. Don't believe me? Go to your local craigslist job board and look how many of our competitors are hiring 'SEO Salespeople' with the always confidence inspiring "no experience necessary" or "If you can close, this job is for you!!" in the description. Put simply, you don't want your waiter from Chile's selling you the most critical component to your business's online success!

Steak Appetite, Bologna Budget

What if you want to hire Bizroids or some other super legit SEO company but cannot simply afford it? My advice for any business owner who's web site is critical to their business but lacks the budget to hire a good SEO company is that you are INFINITELY better off just doing your SEO yourself. Sites like SEOMoz, WarriorForum and even Google itself have very active communities of highly qualified professionals who can help you tackle highly technical projects.

I know plenty of small businesses who during their bootstrapping period did all their own SEO and have been able to dominate their industries and rumor has it, some of the staff here at Bizroids have been known to provide SEO advice and direction to those who ask nicely and/or offer up Chipotle gift cards as bribes ;).

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