We recently picked up some new clients who came to us initially with MAJOR Google ranking issues.
Their problems provide a perfect insight into how much businesses actually rely on Google. All of the issues encountered could have been avoidable. We thought it would be useful to list them so that you never experience the same issues these clients did.
Client A, who relies entirely on phone and email enquiries for sales, had got a website built (by another company) a year ago and had noticed on Google that they were now completely invisible – even for brand name searches.
After taking a close look, we had to inform the client that:
- Their website had been hacked with malware and had been spamming
- Google had noticed an increase in spammy links on the site so removed had it from their index
- After cleaning the site of all malware and submitting for re-listing it is incredibly difficult to predict how long it will take to re-appear – even though Google says it only takes a few days.
No website is safe from hackers and this could happen to anyone. Be prepared for attacks like these by investing in good website security and keeping an eye on your website using Google Search Console so you can react quickly in case something happens – it could limit otherwise dramatic damages to your business.
We had recently designed and developed two new websites in a similar sector for Client B; one was B2B and the other B2C. When the client searched for the B2C business on Google they noticed that it ranked a lot more poorly than the B2B website.
After some investigation, we discovered that on the first two pages of results, the B2C business was listed on loads of relevant directories with the B2B business URL.
Google quite correctly associated a business name with a URL because it had found a bunch of reputable sources telling it that this was correct. All the client had to do to correct this was to edit the listings on the directories that had the incorrect information. In tandem with this, we strengthened the Google Business listing and re-submitted the sites to Google Search Console.
Make sure your contact information is consistent across all websites and platforms where your business is listed. This will help Google point at the right website address and improve your ranking in local search results. It’s a lot better for customers too!
Client C didn’t have the login details for their domain name and hosting package and the person who set it up had gone AWOL and was completely uncontactable.
When the domain name came up for renewal the payment details no longer worked and the domain name was suspended. No domain name means no website and as a result, Google could no longer index the website so it disappeared from its previous first-page ranking position.
What followed was four weeks of call centre hell and critically, NO customer enquiries as the client tried to gain sufficient permissions to access to the domain name.
Always try to register domain names yourself or make sure the person registering it has all of your details listed as the owner. When you have these details. Store them somewhere safe both online and offline.
These three scenarios would have been entirely avoidable had the clients received proper advice and support at the time.
In each of these cases, it’s pointless blaming Google. Google’s aim is to deliver search results that are relevant, useful and informative. A website full of spammy links or “website not found” pages don’t deliver on any of these aims but they are easy to avoid.