“Low-quality” Technology can have catastrophic consequences on your Google rankings
We often take on clients whose previous SEO companies failed to deliver either the traffic or the services needed to succeed in the context of Google’s, and other search engines’, ever-changing algorithms. Our unparalleled expertise in SEO, in addition to our expertise in helping practices recover from poor SEO are just two of the reasons we are frequently invited to speak on the latest trends, challenges and solutions in SEO and Digital marketing.
We thought you might find it interesting to know some of the many factors that contribute to SEO and Website success as well as some of the more critical pitfalls that you need to avoid. This article will address how you can avoid the more common errors and will provide information you can use to ensure your SEO Company has your website on the right trajectory for growth.
Avoid Website Shortcuts
It’s common knowledge that Google’s algorithm has become increasingly sophisticated. What is less known is that Search Engine Optimization is now affected by the technology used to create and power your website. Why should you care? Because in this new paradigm, simple coding errors on your website can now have catastrophic consequences on your rankings, traffic and revenue.
This problem is exacerbated by the expanding array of website platforms being used and the often limited skill level of web developers. Many SEO companies provide their clients with off-the-shelf websites because they are easy to implement and anyone with minimal training (i.e. cheap labor) can get the initial website live. However, easy is as easy does and in many (read: most) cases, these off-the-shelf platforms are not search engine friendly. Unfortunately, web developers who are used to simply “assembling” a website with off-the-shelf plugins, typically do not have the skills needed to write website code to fix these critical technology-driven SEO issues. To make matters worse, they lack the expertise and skill to even detect internal coding problems that might arise.
And Then There is… Index Bloat
In order to serve up the best search results to the user, Google must first have knowledge of the pages that are available online and know which pages are relevant to each and every search. How do they do that? Google creates an “index” of website pages by having the Google algorithm software “crawl” through each page of every website and then store the content and code of the various website pages in its index. When a Google user searches a key word or phrase, Google’s algorithm scans its index and identifies the pages that Google considers to be most relevant to the user’s search term. Google then displays this list of pages (URLs) to the user.
In order to evaluate all websites “accurately” and have the ability to rapidly display the best results to the Google user, Google must store in its index literally billions of pages from millions of websites. Storing all of this information is an expensive proposition, even for Google. As such, Google has begun evaluating websites with greater scrutiny, attempting to ascertain whether (or not) it needs to store in its index every page of every website.
If Google determines that a page is “low-quality,” it can (and will) choose not to store that page in its index. Further, if a website has numerous low-quality pages, Google may determine that the entire website itself is low quality and decide not to rank any page of the website. And while catastrophic for the website owner, this practice is simply a budgeting tool for Google, which, to control its costs, must limit the number of pages and data it has to store. The magnitude of this potential devastation to your website cannot be overstated; if a website page or entire website is not indexed on Google, it is nowhere and will be seen by no one!
What is Low Quality?
There are several types of “low-quality” pages, as determined by Google’s algorithm.
One type is a page with either a limited amount of content/information or content that is duplicate (or very similar to) other pages on the website or on other websites. Some examples of limited content include pages that have only a few sentences of text, pages that display only images/videos, and location pages where the content is similar on each page except for location information.
A second type of low-quality page is one with content unrelated to the website or industry it purports to represent. For example, if a plastic surgery site has a page(s) about gambling or a legal site has content about how to purchase generic drugs, these pages will be considered low quality. This often occurs as a result of a website being “hacked.”
A third type of low-quality page is one that is automatically (but erroneously) generated by website software, a relatively new phenomenon that is related to the underlying code of template website platforms. For example, when blog content is posted, some website software platforms automatically generate multiple pages with exactly the same content. Another example is when before and after gallery software generates a new page for every gallery photo, even though there is only one image or one case per page with little or no text.
Any of these errors can cause Google to conclude that a page is low quality.
This is Happening … Why?
Digital marketing has evolved, as all technology does. It is now a mainstream discipline that demands sophisticated solutions and professional expertise. By default, it has become more competitive. This is why, in recent years, many less-skilled SEO companies have begun relying on generic template platforms — because they can be implemented by web developers with limited skill level; anyone with minimal training can get the website live. Unfortunately, in many cases the websites generated by these lower-level platforms are not search-engine friendly. And, to make matters worse, the web developers implementing them lack the skill needed to fix critical technology-driven SEO issues when they crop up, let alone detect internal coding errors that might arise.
Hackers have managed to make a bad situation, worse. Websites that use simple, generic template software are easily hacked. However, hackers can also be a problem for those who employ software like WordPress and Squarespace when the software is not properly implemented and managed. Hacking companies use their skills to place non-relevant pages on websites in order to sell things — anything from generic Viagra to gaming to porn. These low-quality “hacked” pages often clog up Google’s index and drag down the overall quality of the websites on which they reside.
Below is an example of a few indexed pages from a “hacked” ophthalmology site in northern California. In addition to being totally unrelated to eye care and highly inappropriate for a practice website, these pages would be considered low quality by Google. The core website has about 20 pages of content, but the Google index shows more than 1,100 pages. To say this is Not Good is an understatement, and sadly, this is very common. This site has no chance of ranking well on Google.
Check Your Index
Fortunately, most index issues are fixable, but only if you know you have a problem. Unfortunately, because these (hacked) pages were never intended to be part of the website and do not show up in the navigation they are missed by many SEO companies who either lack the diligence to continuously monitor the health of the website or who simply lack the skill and experience to know whether there is a problem or not, let alone how to fix it. Bottom Line: If your site rankings and traffic begin to fall, you could have a problem with your index that needs to be addressed ASAP.If you have question about your website index and would like a free index evaluation, please contact us.
Negative Reviews Dragging You Down? CEATUS has the Solution!
Background: A prominent plastic surgeon has a longstanding, very successful practice. Like many plastic surgeons, he has performed thousands of surgeries over the years; as a result, he has accumulated reviews.
Problem: Although he had acquired a good number of positive reviews, unfortunately, as is often the case, his negative reviews were hurting his online reputation. In total, he had about 55 reviews distributed across the 75 health care-related review sites. Because of a few negative reviews, his average review score was 3.9 on a 5 point scale (i.e., a high C). Compounding this problem was the fact that his negative reviews appeared on some of the most popular review sites, at the top of the page, when people searched for his name.
Solution: The surgeon needed more positive reviews to increase his overall online rating and push down the negative reviews. So in late 2017, his practice contacted CEATUS and implemented the CEATUS Reviews Management program. The practice used the exclusive CEATUS Text Option to solicit positive reviews — particularly during follow-up consultations, when patients were experiencing the “WOW” factor. (The best time to solicit a review is when the patient is most excited about the treatment.)
Result: Immediately, the surgeon and his practice staff began accumulating positive reviews — and as a result, the surgeon’s average review score surged upward within just a few months. By spring 2018 the surgeon reached 97 reviews (from his original 55), and his average review score went above 4.5. As we speak, using the Ceatus Reviews tools, his reviews and review score continue to increase!
Now, his positive reviews are giving him the stellar score that he deserves and have overwhelmed the few negative reviews that used to show up at the top of the reviews sites. Even more importantly, his new reviews strategy is increasing his practice revenue.
Ask the experts
Q: I’ve noticed my Facebook Post Reach has decreased over the past couple of months. What could be the reason for this?
A: In August 2017 Facebook began making algorithm changes that reduced the frequency of posts being sent from Facebook Business pages to Facebook users’ News Feeds. This has affected all FB Business pages, not just those in healthcare. The good news is that it’s not related to the actual content but to how Facebook chooses to distribute a business’s posts.
Why is FB making these changes? Because more and more content is being shared every day and the bandwidth required to deliver this content is, in essence, FB’s biggest expense. By limiting, i.e. reducing, the amount of business content being delivered and “shifting” the focus of content to friends and family, FB claims they are returning to their original “social” intent. However, this change in strategy also serves to provide an incentive for businesses to purchase FB boosting and advertising.
FB has applied this change unilaterally across all business pages. However, CEATUS has been able to maintain — and in some cases, increase — post engagement for CEATUS social media clients, and this trend is holding steady.
Does your Facebook content need a boost? To learn more about our engaging social media strategies call us today at 858-454-5505 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maximize Your Internet Strategy
Come by the Ceatus booth for a FREE website evaluation!
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
August 2-4, 2018
Dominate your market with CEATUS’ innovative concierge Digital Marketing Strategies!
CEATUS’ Digital Marketing Experts will be standing by at our booth to answer any questions you may have about your digital strategy. Don’t forget to ask about your Free Online Strategy Analysis and Reputation Score!
September 22-26, 2018
Visit us at booth B342, and join Ceatus CEO David Evans, PhD, and Ceatus VP Marketing Tamara Evans for the following must-see digital marketing presentations!
“Integrating Traditional and New Age Digital Marketing for Millennial Success”
Saturday, September 22
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
“Building a Successful Online Footprint: From Reviews to Next Generation Social Media”
David Evans, PhD
Tuesday, September 25
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
September 26-29, 2018
Looking to “Go Big” with your Digital Marketing strategy? Visit CEATUS’ expert team at booth 617 to answer all of your Internet marketing questions and for a FREE Digital Marketing Evaluation and Reputation Score!
Not attending any of these shows? Give us a call (858-454-5505) for a FREE Digital Strategy Evaluation!
10 unusual, fascinating golf courses in the U.S. and abroad
With its rugged terrain, deep gullies, towering cliffs and secluded access, Cape Kidnappers is just what you’d envision from a New Zealand golf course. Situated between the headland of Hawke Bay and the nearby coastal community of Te Awanga, the course involves navigating through sheep and cattle stations as well as bush land, among other challenges. With its unique layout and breathtaking views around every corner, it’s no wonder Golf Digest magazine named Cape Kidnappers the 10th best course outside of the United States in 2007.
Luck of the Irish is needed here at Old Head Golf Links atop the Kinsale peninsula. One of the world’s most exhilarating golf sites, Old Head makes you feel as though you are at the edge of the world, which may be why the skill level required is otherworldly! One of the most memorable holes is the 17th — home to the famous “Lighthouse” and its blind approach to the green nestled in a punchbowl on the edge of the cliffs. And if one pauses for a bit one can’t help but feel the eerie presence of the ships that have wrecked at the foot of these cliffs over the years.
Only Indianapolis could combine the excitement of auto racing with the serene, natural beauty of a championship golf course. Brickyard crossing makes its home in and around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. With holes inside the famed oval one can almost hear the cheering crowds and smell the burning rubber.
This course gives a whole new meaning to water hazard. El Camaleón is dotted with subterranean caves and majestic lagoons with names like “The Devil’s Mouth.” This course gets its name from the chameleon because of its ever-changing challenges. Also watch out for the sand dunes and mangroves that line the fairways.
Travel back to when dinosaurs walked the earth with fossilized triceratops footprints on holes 11 through 15. Though millions of years later the terrain still excites as well as challenges, locals consider its layout one of the best in the state. Watch out for those boulders!
Operated by the Louisiana State Penitentiary Employee Recreation Committee, this 9-holf golf course gives “shanking” a whole new meaning. Before you can play its greens or book a tee time, a background check is required. Be forewarned that play may be suspended at any time due to institutional need or at the Warden’s discretion. Yikes!
You better bring a lot of balls to this course. Don’t let the traditional layout fool you, as surprise awaits at Hole 14, which features an island green that can be moved by a cable as far as 218 yards. Once you’ve lost a couple of balls to the clear waters and catch it on the green you will need to take a ferry to finish out the hole. Land ho!
When you think of playing golf, an active volcano probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But that’s exactly what you’ll face at Merapi Golf Course in Indonesia. Smoke billows in the distance from Mount Merapi as you move through the holes. Small eruptions occur every two to three years, and larger ones take place every 10 to 15 years. The most recent eruptions took place in 2006 and 2010. Dante’s Peak, anyone?
On the golf bucket list this course reigns supreme, boasting one of the toughest par-3 holes in the world which is only accessible by helicopter. Legend Golf & Safari Resort is located in the Entabeni Reserve — home to lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, warthogs, rhinos, buffalos, hippos and other safari animals. Just be careful not to hit a lion with your ball; they aren’t known to play nice with others!
Situated in Death Valley, CA, with desolate terrain and summer temperatures reaching 130 degrees, we would think this would be the last place on earth someone would want to golf. The course used to be closed in the summer due to the high heat but now can be played year-round if you feel like breaking a good sweat. As a 1934 guide book put it, “Only the Devil could play golf on its surface.” Oh and watch out for the coyotes that roam the greens.