NOT A SALES PITCH
I know a lot of inspectors use templated Web sites. Colors may change, logos may change, contact info may change, but overall each of the templated sites are the same from company to company.
I’m bringing this up because I am getting a lot of PMs and emails (along with reading posts) about why certain inspectors are not getting their sites ranked higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It recently occured to me after posting to another thread why some of you may be having an issue.
First, a quotation:
Here’s an IMPORTANT quote from Peter Kent, noted author and expert, concerning what I just described:
"Sometimes called mirror pages or mirror sites, these duplicate pages are intended to help a site gain more than one or two entries into top positions…
Some people who use this trick try to modify each page a little to make it harder for search engines to recognize duplicates. The search engines, in particular Google, have designed tools to find duplications and will often drop a page from their indexes if they find a duplicate…"
–Peter Kent, Author & eBusiness Expert –
Peter Kent is a noted experted on all things e-commerce, and what he is essentially describing there are Web sites that are identical (or nearly identical) in content posted to different URLs on the Internet. Though he is not specifically talking about a templated Web site (as there is no malice intended), the concept is still the same.
It is one thing to order a templated site for its pre-formatted layout versus using a templated site for its pre-formatted content. If the templated content is mostly text - and search engine crawlers only look for text keywords and phrases (i.e., text) - then by the very definition of Peter Kent’s explanation above, a templated site wherein the text is duplicated from site to site is a MIRROR of its original.
In short, that might not be a good thing for those of you trying to achieve a higher search engine ranking as the even the Holy Grail of search, Google, has written software to recognize and delist sites that are, or even resemble, mirrors.
The company that provided you with the templated site is not the “bad guy”, but hopefully you understood what you were getting, and hopefully they understood what they were offerings. What would make them the “bad guy” is if they told you that by using their template, you would achieve better search rankings (a common practice by unscupulous or unknowledgable Web developers).
Realize now that just because you have a “Web guy” or company building your template (or even an original Web site) DOES NOT mean they understand SEO. In fact, perhaps 70%+ do not. They are just good Web designers. SEO is really more of a “business process” between man and machine.
To fix any maladies that may affect your search engine ranking by having a templated site, you need to change the textual content on your site to make it dramatically different than other templated sites sharing the same layout and content. That’s it. Unfortunately, it will require to you to invest some serious time into this project.
Keep in mind, too, that most people misunderstand the the science of natural SEO (using things like ‘blogs’ to increase your rank) and the effectiveness of inbound links. To wit, natural SEO should be practiced as long as it is practiced on YOUR site. For example, a “blog” is the most common form of natural SEO, but it doesn’t do your site any good if you aren’t blogging from YOUR URL. Blogging on third-party URLs only increase THEIR page rank, not yours.
But what really catches a crawler’s attention is how often your site is clicked-on by people…or how “useful” it is. (NOTE: It does’t have to be “useful”, per se. That’s just a word that is used generically for a site that has a lot of visitors who visit a lot of its pages.) Most people don’t realize that ISPs log clicks-through on pages and links (called “hits”). How do you think you are able to use Web-Stat software to see which pages on your site are clicked on the most? Well, search engine crawlers look for that F-I-R-S-T. Most SEO companies won’t tell you that because that’s the one thing they CAN’T control…but YOU CAN…and so can all your SEO BUDDIES.
If you are using a templated site, you’d better start adding or replacing some pages with content that differs from other template users. If you don’t, it’s going to become harder for you to get indexed in the future.