Redesigning Your Store or Website? Do Your Homework…
It doesn’t matter if you sell widgets, get real estate leads or have a full-fledged store on your domain… if you’re thinking about redesigning your site or adding new features, be sure to do your homework first.
Big-time programming & service companies are missing the boat when it comes to preparing for the search engines, specifically the consequences of not being SEO friendly to an existing website.
Case in point…
SitStay.com, an online retailer of goods for dog owners, grew steadily since its began in 1996. It now operates from a 20,000-square-foot facility in Lincoln, Neb. The owners of the 13-employee company, Darcie and Kent Krueger, invested slightly less than $100,000 in new Web site technology from I.B.M. that, starting last month, allowed them to more quickly post sales and product recommendations, among other things.
But because the new technology required SitStay to replace all of its old Web pages with new ones, search engines no longer rank the site’s products near the top of the results. Because few consumers click to the second or third page of search results, the effect was significant. Bigger merchants like Petco and Petsmart, meanwhile, can easily outbid SitStay for prominent ads. Read the full story here
This is a great example of a big company, IBM, developing a great storefront interface for it’s customers. I seriously doubt SitStay.com would’ve invested such a great amount of money if the technology & features of the new site were not superb.
Unfortunately, IBM dropped the ball on the SEO side and SitStay.com is paying the price. When they switched to the new website, they forgot to map all of the old pages to the new pages (using 301 redirects). The result… Google and the other search engines lowered their rankings and their traffic died.
SitStay.com will slowly work their way back up the rankings if the new site contains as much quality content as the old one, but they could’ve transferred all the value from the old site to the new one much more quickly w/ the 301 redirects.
You could fault IBM for this one (alone), but at least half the blame for the oversight has to go to the web guys over at SitStay.com, who didn’t prepare fully for the site migration.