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    Why is my (great!) company website PageRank zero?


    Hi everyone,

    I am seeking advice on PageRank for a small business (legal management consulting firm) that I work for. As a new graduate with little SEO experience (beyond what I have read in SEO for Dummies and conflicting information I have gotten from the internet), I have been tasked to diagnose what is going on with our company website's PageRank.

    The problem is that we have a great site with solid design, robust content, and have been around since 2006, yet our PageRank sits at a measly zero. We cannot figure out why.

    Here is a quick overview of what we have done:

    - The website was set up by people without technical backgrounds in 2006. These were bright liberal arts types who first set up the site using Homestead.

    - Then we upgraded the site and started using Squarespace as our design template. Our website redirects to the Squarespace site, where the Squarespace site is masked.

    - We have never engaged in any malicious activity, never done anything inappropriate, and have not broken any Google rules (to our knowledge).

    - Our site has over 40 backlinks, 30+ pages of quality content (several hundred words each page), we are indexed, our pages have metatags, we use headers/bullets/italics correctly, we link internally on each page, are navigation/user friendly, and have an updated sitemap.

    Any advice you would have for me would be extremely appreciated. What are we doing wrong? Are we being punished by Google? You can find our website by searching for Argopoint (it says I can't post a URL as a new member?).

    I am new at this job; thank you in advance for helping me make a good impression. Also, I have never posted on a forum before today, so please excuse any forum etiquette breaches that might arise in this posting!

    Best,

    Fi
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    put up the url without the dots
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    Originally Posted by finguyen
    Do you mean like this: www[dot]argopoint[dot]com ?
    That's good.

    I would normally expect a site like that to be at least PR3 after a few years. PR isn't the be-all and end-all though. How well does it rank?

    The most obvious problem I see is that you have a lot of duplicate content in your "In the Media" section. Google sees this and thinks you're ripping off all sorts of high profile websites. You'd be better to write your own original articles and link to these pages as a reference.
    Last edited by drelly; Oct 4th, 2012 at 05:03 PM. Reason: grammar
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    Thank you!


    Thank you thats great advice. I will put that in my recommendation plan for my boss during our meeting next week. Any other ideas for improvements? Id love as many suggestions as possible.

    Your response is very appreciated!

    Fi
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    Google has picked up mail.argopoint.com and pop.argopoint.com, so I'd get those removed and try to find out why they're there.

    Some of your title tags could be more descriptive.

    Unless someone else sees something I don't, I suspect that if you remove all the duplicate content and resubmit, your rank and eventually PR will improve.
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    Argopoint Site Details


    Its Alexa rank is at 490,079.

    Prior to our site upgrade in August, we only had our media pages in PDF form, which were not at all searchable. Now, we decided to put articles that feature topics related to our services (where often we are key players, but not mentioned due to confidentiality reasons). This is because legal management consulting is a relatively new industry, and we want for people searching for this niche service to find us though these keywords. Also, some of the articles we feature on our site were written by employees of this company.

    If we add links to the actual articles on the corresponding page, do you think this would massively alleviate the problem? I would like to optimize the content to be used to our advantage -- do you have any other recommendations on how to do this?

    Thank you again for your response!

    Fi
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    Response


    Originally Posted by drelly
    Google has picked up mail.argopoint.com and pop.argopoint.com, so I'd get those removed and try to find out why they're there.

    Some of your title tags could be more descriptive.

    Unless someone else sees something I don't, I suspect that if you remove all the duplicate content and resubmit, your rank and eventually PR will improve.
    Oops, I submitted that last reply without seeing your last one. Thank you for that additional feedback! I will begin investigating those channels asap.
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    One other thing I noticed is that if you check the page source, there's a massive (and I mean HUGE) chunk of script for your page navigation long before any page content is visible. That's followed by even more code for mobile navigation. This can't be a good thing. I've never used SquareSpace, so I'm not sure if this is what it does or if it's been manually coded that way?

    There are also some really odd tags that include the page content twice. Overall, the source looks really messy. Perhaps someone else can take a look who has used Squarespace?
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    Your page titles could also use some TLC. I'd make them clear and decisive. No reason to add your name in the title, you'll be found with-out it in there. Others may disagree with that, I think it's a waste of title space.

    Comments on this post

    • JBacchi agrees : Page Titles need tons of work.
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    Originally Posted by finguyen
    If we add links to the actual articles on the corresponding page, do you think this would massively alleviate the problem? I would like to optimize the content to be used to our advantage -- do you have any other recommendations on how to do this?
    Just adding a link won't help you. It will help Google identify who you stole it from though! LOL What you need to do is write your own original articles on the same topic.
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    Resubmitted to Google PR Team


    Thank you all for your responses. You've given me lots of food for thought and I appreciate it immensely. We have made what quick changes we could and have submitted a reconsideration request to Google's PR team. I am actively investigating all suggestions you have given me. My only concern is that I am extremely hesitant to edit the source code itself, as I am still new to HTML. Squarespace is a great template provider but also clearly has its limitations. Hopefully my team will be able to fix the page titles and clean up the source code soon.
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    The driving force behind PageRank is incoming links. "Over 40 backlinks" is a very small number... Unless they're coming from high PR pages with few outbound links (and assuming they're all "followed links") you may simply not have enough incoming juice to warrant any PR (although it does seem unusually low).

    I agree with my colleagues about the company name in the titles - it's on every url (or at least the 60 that Google have indexed) which is a terrible waste of prime SEO real-estate; and the fact that the company name is the ONLY word in the home page title is a big mistake - get some of your prime KW's in there asap.

    I don't think the reconsideration request will change anything (but would be very interested in any response, so please do let us know).

    Also agree with drelly about the source code... Wow that's a lot of java... If it was moved onto external txt docs your home page source code would be reduced by >65%

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    Response from Google PR Team


    I have a few updates on our situation. We submitted a reconsideration request to Google and they responded saying that they have not done any kind of manual punishing. Clearly our site is doing something(s) their bots absolutely hate. I have gone through and added metatags, shortened title page names, and have made a first pass at renaming photos with key words. We also have gotten a few more (10ish?) backlinks since I last posted. We are steadily working on getting more.

    About the java in the page source -- I recognize this as bad (I read before about how CSS should be external?) but I do not have the expertise to change it at this point. I am considering contacting Squarespace about it, but I doubt they will be able/willing to do anything.

    As for the company name in the URLs -- isn't that what every company does? I thought this was standard procedure. The "legal-management-consultants" part on each URL I am less sure about. This was done by someone previously in my position, who did it as a keyword attraction. Would you dissuade me from using this tactic?

    I recently realized that many of our pages (66) have "rel=canonical" in the source code, which alarms me. Is this why Google bots are not picking our text up as much as I would want?
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    Please don't take offense to this, but your code is the reason (majority) of your ranking problems. In addition, you have problems here:

    Image size. Compress your images.
    Compress JS into an external file
    Compress CSS into an external file
    Check your robots.txt file
    Do you have GWT? See any errors? Correct them.
    There's no proper HTML SEO done, meaning, optimizing HTML code, header tags, desc. alt tags for images and internal links. Nothing there that I can see.
    Your title tags are WEAK. Reformat your title tags.

    Now, to reality: Alexa means NOTHING. Ignore Alexa.

    You have no decent links. The links you have are literally worth nothing. There's nothing that screams about them. Not relevance nor PR.

    Per my research, this is the strongest link you have: http://www.consultingcase101.com/list-of-top-management-consulting-firms/

    Which weighs literally nothing compared to a proper link.

    You have sitewide links that give the illusion of a higher link count than you have in reality.

    You're wrong about URL's. Your URL isn't to brand your company, it's to create a relative description about the page for the USER (and thus SE's).

    I don't know your keywords, so I won't suggest a real world example. But for fantasy island, I would say let's say you have GreatCompany with keyword blue widgets

    A good URL would be greatcompany.com/widgets/blue-widgets

    Just as an example - it makes no logical nor SEO sense to create greatcompany.com/widgets/great-companys-widgets

    Ya know?

    Re: your canonical - are the pages duplicate or repeating? If so, leave the tag. Are they original and unique? If so, remove the tag.

    I have more, but let's catch up to here and continue.

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    • ChillDot agrees : Great Post Josh!
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    Further to ClickyB and joshz's comments above. A quick MajesticSEO of your backlink profile shows that there are just 9 referring domains pointing links to your site. This simply isn't enough I'm afraid; both for PR purposes (which you really don't need to worry about BTW) and ranking purposes.

    Achieving rankings for keywords is relative to the competition you face, but 9 referring domains and just 20 total external backlinks (to be honest, the actual quality of your backlinks isn't particularly great either) isn't going to get you far for even modestly competitive keywords.
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