Experience has taught most of us that politicians generally fall into two categories: those who devoted their lives to public service and their families before taking office, and the army of others who would rather that we don’t look too closely into their past.
That may or may not be a good thing for our governing systems, but it does make a good example for business websites and Internet marketing.
If you’ve been online for long enough, then you probably already know why: there are a lot of website design and seo tactics that were once en vogue (and still are, in certain circles), but that have fallen out of favor now. Although they might not have ever been the kind of thing you were proud of doing, they undoubtedly worked, to a bigger or smaller degree.
What kinds of underhanded things are we talking about?
Here are a few of our favorites that we’ve seen over the years:
- Pages with white text on a white background, repeating the same keywords and phrases over and over again
- Creating thousands of inbound links to your website by creating “articles” with a few keywords and computer-generated text
- Auto-submitting (spamming) links on unsuspecting websites
- Maintaining domain names in pages that automatically redirect the visitor to another destination they aren’t expecting
- …and so on.
None of these work anymore, and if the major search engines (or your customers, for that matter) catch you using them, you’re bound to be ignored, ostracized or outright punished.
For that reason, a lot of successful business websites are following the political example and “white-washing” their search and marketing profiles to try to keep history from catching up with them. In other words, they are taking aggressive steps to undo things from the past.
If you’ve been the victim of improper techniques (or indiscretions), here are FIVE things you can do to right the wrongs:
1. Start with the obvious.
If your site has huge red flags, like a deceptive navigation structure or pages where keywords have been stuffed into one paragraph after another, your first step should be fixing those issues. It doesn’t matter what else you do if both Google’s spiders and actual customers are bothered by what’s on your pages.
2. Hang out with a new crowd.
Next, you’ll want to get rid of any of those links you have coming from other websites that aren’t trustworthy. Not only are those kinds of links virtually worthless now, but search engines will actually punish you for having them. Fortunately for you, there are ways to remove them altogether, or at least disavow them, to minimize the damage.
3. Build the right image.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the things you don’t want, it’s time to replace them with something better. That means building the right image with quality content, a strong social media following, easy-to-follow navigation structure, and lots of regular updates to your site. With these in place, it shouldn’t take too long (a few months?) for you to heal the damage.
4. Recover from a scandal.
If you’ve been relying on the wrong kinds of tactics for months or years, recognize that it may take some time to fix the damage. Take a lesson from your favorite disgraced politician and don’t dwell on what you should have done, but instead emphasize what you will do in the future.
5. Know when to switch parties.
On the other hand, there are times when the damage to your brand, and your website, is too severe to overcome. If you’ve been blacklisted by Google, for example, it might be time to build a brand-new website and start all over. If you take this action, be prepared to spend a year or more actively rebuilding your web presence with a team that knows how to do it right.
Could your website use a better public image? If so, talk to a member of our team today and let us show you how easy it is to start building the right kind of reputation.