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    Question Need SEO advice for a web design website


    I have a web design website romandesign.ca that I've been running for 10 years and it's my main business. My clients always found me only through Google organic searches and referrals. No advertising. However for the last year or so the site has begun falling in search results - I have also redesigned it last month (it was due anyway) for HTML5/CSS3 etc., the code I think is pretty good and tight, there are no messages in webmaster tools but it is really dropping fast instead of improving slightly. Monthly visits are getting lower and less inquiries are coming. Place for specific search terms are dropping. I don't think I'm getting penalized by Google. I never used any "black hat" tactics. Some of my client's websites have link to mine at the bottom of pages but that should only help and not harm I think.

    I'm wondering about these questions and need advice:

    1. Is there anything I'm doing wrong with romandesign.ca? Can you spot any problems? Am I missing anything or is it just Google updates that reshuffling my site that way?

    2. What is the best way to gain organic search ranking for competitive field like web design? I'm willing to spend some time and effort, but what is the best strategy?

    Due to the nature of my business I don't have very interesting contents that can be spread through social networks and trigger people linking to it. I have a basic blog on the site but it's not great. I left some relevant and meaningful comments in popular dofollow commentluv blogs, the link-back RSS links to my main site with right keywords, but I don't see much effect.

    I appreciate all advice. Thanks.
    Last edited by romanber; Nov 12th, 2012 at 04:22 PM.
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    There are may great SEO minds, I'm just a novice but it seems that you have a done a good job of SEO. Search for your domain with quotes yields over 9000 results. You have social signals, blog comments, forum comments, Toronto directories so have all the bases covered so am surprised why you would be slipping unless you got some links from bad neighborhoods?

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    • DarrenHaye : Please don't give advice when you don't know yourself :roll:
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    Originally Posted by johnfambrini
    There are may great SEO minds, I'm just a novice but it seems that you have a done a good job of SEO. Search for your domain with quotes yields over 9000 results. You have social signals, blog comments, forum comments, Toronto directories so have all the bases covered so am surprised why you would be slipping unless you got some links from bad neighborhoods?
    That's why I'm asking :-) I'm surprised too and it really costs me dearly because it's my main income. It's possible that my competitors are doing something actively (positive for them or maybe even negative for me) but I'm not sure what...
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    When you redesigned your website did you:

    Change your URLs?
    Change any title tags?
    Switch CMS's or went to or away from one?

    Did your rankings drop during the new layout rollout?
    Has it been a constant slip with time?
    www.V2INTERACTIVE.net - SEO Web Design | On-Page SEO | SEO Audits & Reports | Link Building
    BASED IN ATLANTA, GA. Contact: Skype/Phone/Email (Discounted rates available for SEOChat members only - email seochat@v2interactive.net)
    Please EMAIL me at the above address and do not send Private Messages. I rarely check them and your message will be lost.
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    Change your URLs?
    Yes, some URLs have changed. I have recently added 301 redirects but the result may not be apparent yet. Also recently I changed a bunch of page URLS and then changed them back after I saw the drop, but so far no improvement.

    Change any title tags?
    Probably yes, some meta tags may have been change or further optimized.

    Switch CMS's or went to or away from one?
    No, I have programmed this CMS so it evolves and things did change including at one point how URLs are formed: initially it was for example romandesign.ca/toronto-website-design and it did change to romandesign.ca/services/web-design-toronto (just an example)

    Did your rankings drop during the new layout rollout?
    They were gradually sliding down, which was one of the reasons of redesign, but after redesign there was a noticeable drop.

    Has it been a constant slip with time?
    Yes, but also a noticeable drop as I said after new redesign and some URL changes. I have added some 301 redirects for 404 errors reported by Google Webmaster Tools yesterday, so I gess there's no time to see the results yet.

    I see where you are going with those questions. Is there anything I can do now?

    Also, what would be the best way of quality link building with virtually no budget?

    Thanks.
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    Your change is what broke the camels back. What type of link building have you done? Any?

    Link building is free. It costs nothing to build links on your own. Other than time and little bit of common sense mixed with creativity.
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    Some of my client's websites have link to mine at the bottom of pages but that should only help and not harm I think.
    Footer links can definitely be harmful to a site. The Google quality guidelines contain this line under "link schemes":

    Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites

    Many sites have been affected by Penguin for having too many anchor texted footer links pointing to them.

    According to ahrefs, your most common anchor text is "web design". Now, that term only comes from 19 sites, but you've got 1358 links because they are sitewide. It's possible that you have been affected by Penguin, or it's possible that Google has simply devalued the anchor text benefit you got from these links.

    If you had a sudden drop in rankings after Apr 24, May 25 or October 5 then Penguin is at play somehow.
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    Originally Posted by Dr.Marie
    Footer links can definitely be harmful to a site. The Google quality guidelines contain this line under "link schemes":

    Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites

    Many sites have been affected by Penguin for having too many anchor texted footer links pointing to them.
    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    It's all in the CONTEXT of a link. One sitewide link can kill you while another can boost your SERPs.

    Don't believe me, I have case studies.

    NOT ALL FOOTER LINKS ARE BAD.

    NOT ALL FOOTER LINKS ARE BAD.

    For a design firm or SEO agency this is A NORM. Now, when you have a dozen footer links - sure, that might be shady. But a Designed By Original Poster, as the OP stated will NOT do that kind of damage.

    What's also neglected is the ANCHOR TEXT of footer links. Using a branded company name will and CAN actually help.

    Proof:

    I have two test sites branded as SEO companies and web design companies. No SEO EVER done any of these sites. The sites are a year old. I used these sites on my test sites as footer links. For example:

    SEO done by <link>Company Name, Atlanta</link>

    and "Atlanta Web Design by <link>Company Name</link>.

    And guess what. Both sites get over 20 organic visits a day from Google. Sure, 20 isn't crap, but that's the only SEO ever done to the website. It was a set it and forget it. Not even the TITLE tags are optimized and they're ranking page one for long tail keywords, such as "city name SEO consultant" "city name Joomla (or WordPress) SEO services".

    Yes, I know, they keywords are WEAK and rarely convert.

    What's the point?

    It's HELPED my SEO greatly and has not harmed any of these two sites.

    Nothing in SEO is black and white and thus, should be explained and explored to further detail.

    And if we all want to be honest, the majority of any work an SEO does qualifies as link schemes. So, let's keep it in perspective.
    Last edited by joshz; Nov 14th, 2012 at 07:26 AM.
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  17. Traffic drop sleuth. :)
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    NOT ALL FOOTER LINKS ARE BAD.
    Josh, you missed where I said "Footer links can hurt your site." I never said all footer links are bad. But, he's got a pile of footer links all pointing back to him using the anchor text "web design". I wouldn't know for certain if that was affecting the site without seeing the analytics, but it definitely is possible.
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    Originally Posted by Dr.Marie
    Josh, you missed where I said "Footer links can hurt your site." I never said all footer links are bad. But, he's got a pile of footer links all pointing back to him using the anchor text "web design". I wouldn't know for certain if that was affecting the site without seeing the analytics, but it definitely is possible.
    No, I didn't - I read that, you just didn't offer any supportive information regarding that claim or suggest to what extent footer links can cause harm.

    If you're going to say something CAN hurt then offer a context or situation where they might hurt or help. Providing real world details might help reduce confusion among members and posters.

    Putting a claim like that out would lead to assumptions by other members who might be using footer text in a mature and reasonable way. Moreover, suggesting many sites hit by Penguin had footer links. What's left unsaid is that if a site was hit with Penguin, odds are it wasn't just one set of links that caused damaged, rather, it was an overall poor link profile and ratios of anchor texts and URL's.
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    I can't be bothered to argue with you today Josh. I think I was pretty clear that anchor texted footer links were a potential problem, but we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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    Originally Posted by Dr.Marie
    I can't be bothered to argue with you today Josh. I think I was pretty clear that anchor texted footer links were a potential problem, but we'll just have to agree to disagree.
    Argue? This is a friendly debate. But if you can't take the heat...
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    I have to agree with you on this. You really need to have a better content, then you have to write your own, unique and quality articles...
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    Originally Posted by joshz
    Your change is what broke the camels back. What type of link building have you done? Any?

    Link building is free. It costs nothing to build links on your own. Other than time and little bit of common sense mixed with creativity.
    I've left come relevant comments in dofollow commentluv blogs. What link building strategies would you recommend?
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    Originally Posted by Dr.Marie
    Footer links...
    I think I'm going to listen to you both :-) Wherever I still have control I will try to leave one footer link on the homepage and remove links on other pages if there are more than a few. Having same link on every page surely does not help after those Google updates...
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