What’s scarier than your website not showing up on Google?
Or a hacker accessing the backend of your website?
We can’t think of anything more horrifying.
We’ve all heard the stories... you put your trust in someone, only to be stabbed in the back.
There’s no surprise we here at Webgrowth have had a handful of those experiences, which is why we want to warn you of the horrors that lurk around the corners of the web.
So sit back, turn off the lights, and get ready to hear some scary digital marketing horror stories.
Part I: Don’t turn on the switch
A client we had recently onboarded came to us with a brand new website built by their developer. They came to us after they experienced trouble getting traction on Google for several months.
After taking on the account, we conducted a sitewide audit and caught a tiny detail that made a huge impact...
The 'noindex' tag was toggled ON (dun, dun, DUN!)!
If you don’t know, this is extremely important in getting your website noticed.
Essentially, if the 'noindex' tag is switched on, your site will NOT show up on the search engines results page.
Who knew one flip of a switch could make all the difference?
Lesson Learned: Entrust someone who will go through your site with a fine-tooth comb.
Part II: Do you want to play a game?
One client’s former website agency held their site hostage and demanded payment to release their website, all because they were upset they were moving marketing providers.
Can you believe it?
The website was taken down completely, leading to them losing business and search engine visibility by the day.
Now that will send shivers down your spine.
We had to quickly develop a new site from the ground up, which we thankfully successfully completed before they lost all of their Google rankings.
Lesson Learned: Make sure you always retain ownership of your web hosting, even if you have a professional managing it for you. Moreover, ensure your website agency has your best interests in mind...
Part III: Mismatched URLs, deleted pages, and more (oh my!)
One client’s website migration was done by a previous developer who did not consider SEO.
There were mismatched URLs, deleted pages, and more that had their traffic plummet by 90% essentially overnight.
Website migrations should always have a pre-migration SEO audit to avoid this and allow for a smooth transition. Although we were able to resolve the issue, it is completely avoidable.
Here's an example of a domain migration we successfully conducted - you can see that a website migration may not only be an opportunity to maintain your rankings but it could increase your rankings in the long-run:
Lesson Learned: DON'T allow your website to be developed by someone who doesn’t prioritize SEO.
Part IV: Too many cooks
We've been working with a client who's had multiple developers, multiple freelancers, and agencies all doing work on the backend of their website.
We've installed important tracking scripts only for them to mysteriously disappear in the night, never to be seen again...
Due to this, we were unable to track important metrics such as how the site is doing in terms of holding a visitor’s attention, or what content visitors are gravitating towards.
It's important to have a unified team working on your site to ensure a cohesive site that is set up for success and visibility.
Lesson Learned: It's okay to have multiple teams involved, especially if you have a big website - but make sure there's only one cook in the kitchen.
Part V: Attack of the hacker
Due to outdated plugins, a client’s website experienced severe security vulnerabilities and was eventually hacked.
There were hundreds of hidden spam pages on the website with content talking about anything you can imagine, from ghosts to ghouls and everything in between.
It was only able to be picked up during one of our thorough site audits since the average user and even website owner did not know they existed.
Once we did a full cleanup of the site, our SEO rankings improved dramatically, and we were able to get the site back on track.
It is extremely important to keep your plugins up to date to ensure website functionality and avoid security vulnerabilities.
Lesson Learned: Always remember to have your plugins updated. Thankfully, Webgrowth can fully manage your site, so you have ease of mind that your site is running efficiently.
This Halloween, don't be that movie character who walks into the oh-so-obviously haunted basement, only to be never seen again.
Work with an agency that can protect you from the dark web and the monsters that lurk there.
When you’re out trick or treating for your next agency, remember these horror stories so you’re not next.