As a small business owner on the internet you probably already know that one silly mistake can send your rankings spiraling down to page 100 where you will never be found, resulting in lost revenue and for some complete failure.
You might be thinking that you are about to read about some Google penalty like Panda or Penguin but that is not the case.
What I am about to share with you is a true story about how one small business owner received the wrong advice and is now paying a very big price. But before we get into the story here is a link to help you can get an idea of what this site does. You may want to have a look at the products it sells.
Currently there are only three products, however they are very popular in Australia for water storage in new homes and businesses. They are the most innovative slimline tanks that I have seen to date. If we can kick-start this business again there will be additional products being added at a later date.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you think you know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~ Mark Twain ~
This story actually starts back around February 2013 when the owner of this small business website Thintanks contacted me to say he was going to use a different company to redesign his business site for him. I was initially a little annoyed, as I had spent hours of my time trying to convince him that he needed to move away from the older HTML site he had and upgrade to a more modern and preferable Mobile Responsive WordPress Theme.
I specifically told him that he needed to use a WordPress site as well as making sure it was Mobile Responsive or he would be wasting his money and time. He said he understood and that his new designer had guaranteed him the site would meet those needs.
After some weeks had passed the phone rang, and to my surprise it was the owner of Thintanks calling me to explain that he had made a huge mistake. He actually called to ask if I would take his website back over and in his words FIX IT. I told him that I could not give any guarantees as I had not seen the new design or even what had been done on the back end of the site.
Needless to say I was horrified at what I saw.
The site was built using a free template from WordPress and was full of very thin content specifically targeting locations rather than products. The location targeting was a collection of pages that all had identical content with only the location changed on each page. And to make it even worse this designer had also created a number of doorway pages on different sites targeting capital cities within Australia all with the same content with the title of the page changed to reflect the city.
Oh and to make it even worse all the content on those doorway pages was copied straight from the main website. Each page also had two identical links with anchor text and URLs all the same.
This web designer had also contacted a Thintanks distributor in New Zealand and had sold them on the idea that he could build them a better website than the one they had which was also HTML. What this designer did was copy all the content from the main manufacturer’s website and place it on the distributor’s website as well as the exact same WordPress template including images.
This was the first mistake, the distributor site in New Zealand was launched before the actual manufactures site resulting in lower ranking than what it once had.
The next mistake was the web designer after removing all the old HTML pages – which by the way had PageRank ranging from PR1 to PR3 on all pages – to NOT Redirect the old HTML pages to the new WordPress pages.
This resulted in the site disappearing completely from the Google
search index and no page-rank passed back to the newer pages.
In effect, by not doing any redirects from the old to new pages it seems to have confused Google as to which site has the original content or even which site is the manufacturer.
My name is Ron Cripps and I have been creating mobile responsive WordPress sites for clients on a regular basis for the last two years. I even convinced Gail the owner of this site Growmap that she needed to switch from Thesis and use a real mobile responsive site from Studiopress. As you can see that has actually happened.
In closing: At the end of the day when you are deciding on a website or updating an existing site, you need to know what is needed and not just take someone’s word for it or you to could end up paying a very big price – just like this site has done.
Gail, who is an avid supporter of small business, has been kind enough to allow me to write about this on her site in the hope that many of her readers can avoid mistakes such as these. If you are reading this and want to help this small business out then please visit Thintanks and even like or share the site on your favorite social media sites.