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Why am I SEO Stoopid?
I'm SEO Stoopid because I didn't properly take notice of what my stats could have told me.
If I would have done, I would have noticed something sooner and factoring that something into my response would very probably have saved me a goodly number of lost posters and art print sales.
My site, www.kruse.co.uk/, is about SEO. I've been doing it since 1996 or thereabouts and have clients of many years standing. Halfway through last year, I started adding posters pages to it. It's restful and unoressured compared with a lot of SEO, plus I wanted to see how fast I could get unrelated pages indexed and where and with whom, plus unexpectedly I found that I enjoyed doing it, lots of reasons.
When the first two phases of Jagger hit, I was cool. It washed over my seo clients the way I expected it to (it had no effects at all), and it washed over my (by now only mostly) SEO site the way I expected it to (it had no effect at all there either).
Then came the third wave. Oh dear!
My site's serps (not my clients' - they're all fine) went into a decline that they still haven't come out of. I was getting damp postcards from my serps telling me what depth they were reaching. They told me in one message they'd dived deeper than any known footballers. Imagine! If they ever come back up they'll need time in a decompression chamber before they can surface again.
I decided that since I was tanking anyway no-one would be finding my poster pages from the engines and so now was the time to hive my poster pages off to their own site, something I'd been meaning to do for some time as a site is unlikely to do well for two such diverse subjects. I got myself a new domain for them too, www.here-be-posters.co.uk/ in anticipation of the day when I have more time and can settle them down on their own dedicated space - the demand I had for them shows that they deserve it and I'll be attending to this in the new Year.
I put them in a little backwater personal hosting space I have with my Broadband ISP. I have a custom 404 on my main site and I adjusted it to make it plain to folk that I'd moved the posters to a new domain as they were swamping my SEO efforts.
Now I always kept a good eye on my stats but I'd failed to note that results from Google, these days, aren't just from Google any more. They're from Google Images too - and despite the fact that I'd tanked in Google.co etc for text seaarches, unknown to me as my old stats package didn't make the distinction, my posters were still very very well ranked in Google Images. I only found this out by studying my Google Analytic stats, a service I'd only recently signed up to in anticipation of clients expecting me to keep them abreast of Search Engine and SEO events.
I checked out "Michael Sowa Prints". I was in the 80's in Google.com but to my amazement I was at positions 1 and 3 in Google Images. I checked out "Salvador Dali Prints" and "Escher-prints". Same kind of deal, I was well off the main map and out in the boonies in the text-driven Googles but top 5 in Google Images. Go see, they'll probably still be there even now.
So, what was I to do? All those potentially hard-to-get serps were going to waste as when people didn't see the result they expected when they clicked through, just my 404 page (polite though it was) they just went somewhere else.
Hurriedly put all my pages back up again is what I did, and on my SEO site too, (www.kruse.co.uk/), thinking to catch what business I can from what's left of the Christmas rush. I've left all of the links to the new site (www.here-be-posters.co.uk/) in place as they'll get people hopping back and forth from each site to the other, hopefully without realising. All the posters and art prints, the wall tapestries too, will have to be moved over eventually and on a permanent basis. You can have a site about SEO or a site that uses SEO to sell posters, you can not, not for any length of time, have just the one site that does both.
Not the way Google are ordering the universe anyway.
I'll change over slowly in January using individual 301 redirects and this time they really will be permanent.
For now I don't believe it'll matter as Google, according to their own stats via Google Sitemaps, have no info about www.here-be-posters.co.uk/ and given everything else they have on their plate just now I don't suppose they'll be indexing it all and handing out a content penalty before I've moved everything over permanently.
But look at the sales opportunity I very nearly missed, eh?
Moral of the story is, make sure your stats package is the best that it can be. I don't think I'll be using my old stats package too much from now on, but I'll keep it on as it does have some individual visitor tracking capabilities that Google's version of Urchin currently lacks. Reading your stats regularly will save you money and time in the long run.
But do make sure they're as detailed as possible - you may miss important information if they aren't! Don't be an SEO Stoopid!
About the Author: Bill Kruse is available for SEO Services at www.kruse.co.uk/