SEO and The Hesitant Webmaster Syndrome

by Dev Basu January 31st, 2008 

Credit: Joakim_kna

Fear of The Dark

Are you afraid to implement the SEO techniques you've spent hours learning because you fear you may lose your existing rankings? God forbid your SERPs get knocked to the next page, but you can prevent such an event by taking some simple SEO leaps of faith :)

Low Risk, Low Return

This adage holds particularly true for any financial investment, and your investment of time and money in SEO should be no different. Playing safe will only work for so long, and inevitably you'll find the need to innovate on your SEO game plan. I'm not suggesting a major overhaul or drastic change that confuses those smarty spiders from Google, but rather a phased approach of changes that will lead to better results in the long term.

Credit: Addicted Eyes

4 Key Things to Optimize

There's a couple of things the best of us are afraid to change for CMS's, Blogs, and Static Websites:

  • Dynamic URL's – Dynamic content is both ugly to look at and difficult for search engines to interpret. Implementing SEF (Search Engine Friendly) url's will go a long way in gaining better SERPs, and doing so is not overly difficult, although it does take quite the leap of faith. A key consideration is to do so early on while building content for one's website, so that there are less retroactive changes for the spiders to follow.
  • File Naming Convention – Yes, this is very important for client sites – especially because 'hero1.jpg' or 'index1.html' doesn't mean much to a search engine. For webmasters, this advice is best applied when choosing post slugs for blog post titles, or when uploading images in a hurry (I've been guilty of this on multiple occasions)
  • Dynamic Meta Generators – If you're using a CMS with a fairly large base of content, you might want to use a plugin or extension to dynamically inject meta data into the webpage based on page titles, repeated phrases, and categories.
  • 301 Redirects – Possibly the most dubious reason for webmasters and seo's hesitating from 'doing the right thing'. Note that your rankings will dip temporarily if redirects are put into effect, but will improve considerably in the long run.

Credit: Csitcentre

I'm sure there's more to add to this list, but I purposely left it incomplete for you to add to it in the comments. What SEO changes have you been meaning to do, but are yet to implement? What's holding you back? — Dev

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10 Responses to “SEO and The Hesitant Webmaster Syndrome”

  1. Shana Albert says:

    Hey, Dev!!

    I know this feeling exactly. I became a Web Designer/Webmaster in 2001. And, up until recently I had this same fear…. it is terribly hard to get over. It feels like a gamble….

    1. Do you make changes and hope that you move up in the Serps and doing this take a chance that you possibly make a mistake and move further down instead. or,
    2. Do you leave things how they are and hope that the Serps don't get bored of you and move you down.

    It is terribly scary for the Webmaster… especially, the Small Business Webmaster doing it all herself (or himself).

    Great post!!

    Shana

  2. To my experience the best way to protect existing rankings is to make changes gradually. My biggest fear is often changing content on a site that has been static for a long time and maintains rankings. Will this impact KW density? What will be the impact of changing headers? etc. Kaya Tugcu

  3. SEO Pune says:

    Interesting post , do follow up .

  4. jansegers says:

    Although these tips are valuable, they don't get a new website into the search engines by their own.

    They improve however the results of the SEO company that ensures this.

    Anyway, my standard to now if any SEO is real good, is by consulting the greatest Chinese search engine and find out if my page is listing there:

    http://baidu.com

    Pieter Jansegers

  5. Dev Basu says:

    @ Shana – I think the fear is the greatest when you're on your own as a one man or one woman operation. Things become much clearer when you let the client know to expect a dip in rankings temporarily, but better rankings in the future. Hence, I think a big part of this process is managing expectations.

    @Pieter – These tips aren't meant to get a site indexed by SE's or ranking for better terms off the bat. These are addon steps that enhance fundamental SEO best practices. Is there a particular reason why you consult Baidu instead of Google? I prefer to use Google as a benchmark of my success based on its intelligent algorithm, highly relevant search results, and because it is in fact the industry's standard search engine.

  6. jansegers says:

    @Dev:
    Don't get me wrong, my search standard is google as well, but the difficulty to get any site into Baidu.com is a real challenge.

    For Google.com I'm dominating the search term "jansegers" with 9 out of the 10 first results referring to my pages. (27 of the first 30 result BTW)

    But I've only mentionned to obtain one mention in the top ten of Baidu…

    Any other open search engine, I have at least 3 mentions in the top ten (and more likely 7 or 8).

  7. Dev Basu says:

    Hey Jan – I suppose its a question of taregeteing both targeting the lowest hanging fruit, while obtaining the best results from your effort. I suppose if you had a site that has content targeted to the chinese audience, or one that has translated content for the chinese audience, then Baidu is worthwhile going after. For the purposes of a name search, I know most brand reputation searches will go through the big three G,Y,M and therefore I concentrate on these only. –Dev

  8. jansegers says:

    @Dev:
    "I know most brand reputation searches will go through the big three G,Y,M"; do you ?

    In the western world perhaps; but http://www.baidu.com and http://www.naver.com dominate a nice portion of the eastern world…

    The Korean naver isn't a problem to get into. The Chinese baidu is more difficult.

    And the Chinese market is the driving economic center of the world in this century.

    China is becoming more important then the EU, the UK and even the USA.

    Greetings

    Pieter Jansegers

    http://hi.baidu.com/jansegers

    NOTA BENE: most of my pages are about the French language and culture. France still is a great player in Europe and therefore of interest to the Chinese as well as to the Americans.

    Besites, establishing now a presence could lead to an advantage that can't easily be copied by anyone else…

  9. webmaster says:

    thanx for SEO and The Hesitant Webmaster Syndrome documents..

  10. Hostmonster says:

    Great article

    Sometimes you get lucky. Just the right formula and your on the first page.

    I'm starting to think SEO is bs. Everything i do is wrong