SEO Scams, You Need a New Website, is this really a Scam?
One of the most popular SEO scams to blog about is “you need a new website” to rank well. In general I agree with the principle that a new website is not a requisite for good SEO or good search ranking performance. However, we have run across many instances where the existing website is simply hopeless and it would be an SEO scam to take the clients money to optimize that website. Bluntly, those websites just sucked and there was no saving them!
So when do you need a new website and how can you tell if someone is scamming you for 1) you have to have a new website to rank well or 2) your website is fine send us money and we can get it ranking? Either one could be a scam; how can you tell the difference?
Do I need a New Website? 7 Reasons You need a new website.
- Age: if your website is over 2 years old the odds are it needs a refresh at a minimum and it may be less expensive to build a new website depending on the platform it was designed on. If your website is over 2 years old it does not automatically mean you need a new website, however, from our experience it is usually more cost effective to develop a new website than to try to rework an old one.
- Flash: If your website is done completely or largely in Flash and your homepage and key pages have all Flash you probably need a new website. In a nutshell a Flash website is invisible to Google, Bing, and other search engines and will not rank well. Yes you can add content to Flash websites, but our experience has been that in the end you will realize better results by developing a new website in HTML that is search engine friendly.
- CMS; Content Management System: If you do not have a CMS where you can create and edit your own webpages you need a new website for this reason alone. The benefits of being able to create and manage your own content are obvious. With a good CMS you will be able to add content more frequently and on your own which will help your search results.
- Blog: If you don’t have a blog you really should add one. This does not require a website redesign, but may be an indication that your website is out of date.
- Open Graph Integration: Like and Share features and options: Again, this can be added to any website and if your site does not have this it may be an indication that it is out of date.
- Website design and architecture: This is one that only an experienced SEO technician or analyst or SEO savvy website designer can judge, but if the information architecture and website design practices are out of date it absolutely affects your search rankings and it is often easier to do a new design than to fix an poor one.
- How does it look: Let’s face it, while I left this for last, one of the primary reasons most people decide to develop a new website is they are just tired of the old one and it looks dated. This is much like deciding to remodel a house, there is no absolute need for it, it’s just time for a new look or an update.
Make sure Your New Website Design Includes These Things
- SEO Analysis or Digital Marketing Strategy: Before you start to design your new website it is vital to clearly define your marketing goals, audience, demographic, targeted keywords etc. An SEO analysis and information architecture is a minimum that should be done before embarking on a new website design and we highly recommend developing a complete Digital Marketing Strategy for larger campaigns,
- Wireframe and Design Comps: We highly recommend that your website designer provide you with a Wireframe (essentially a line drawing sketch) first and once the basic outline concept is approved some Comps (composite drawings or renderings) of what the website will look like before you start the actual design.
- CMS, Content Management System: As we mentioned above the benefits of a CMS are huge and your new website absolutely must have this feature.
- CMS Training: Make sure your website design fees and services include training on your new CMS. Most are fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it, but you want to make sure that you get trained on how to create new pages, edit pages, add pictures, create links, create blog posts, etc. We use WordPress for nearly all of our website designs. The WordPress CMS is very user friendly, well documented, SEO friendly, and one of the most popular platforms in use today.
- Content: This may seem obivous, but it is often one of the things our clients struggle the most with. It is absolutely, positively, a must to have great content on your website. Your content must be relevant and comprehensive. We recommend at least 300 words per section page or primary page.
- 301 redirects: This is not part of the website design, but a critical part of the website launch and on going SEO. A 301 redirect are much like an index for the search engines to redirect links and references from your old urls (website pages) to the pages. If this is not done or not done correctly your new website will loose the benefit of the old website’s search rankings and your search results will actually drop in the short term. This is a very important part of your website design and launch.
- Open Graph Interface & Social Media: Make sure your new website will be compliant with and include the Open Graph Interface (Facebook Like and Share buttons that have now become a standard format) and that it links to your social media such as Facebook Page and Twitter.
- Blog: Your new website should have a blog integrated into it with a link via the top navigation bar. Your CMS should facilitate blog updates by multiple authors (WordPress supports this).
- eCommerce: If you do eCommerce or are adding it make sure the new website will support payment processing and you obtain an SSL so you can securely process transactions without leaving your website.
- Dedicated Hosting: This is always a debate. We always recommend having a dedicated server for your B2B or B2C website. Dedicated servers are more reliable and offer much faster load times which helps with SEO rankings. If your website is a very small one or your are a very small business a virtual dedicated server may suffice. We highly recommend that you pick a reliable host with a good reputation. Some of the lowest price hosts have the worst reputations and this is well earned by down time, virus’, and service problems.