Most of us are guilty of trying to “improve” our web site by updating the look and feel of the site or installing the latest-greatest plugins and components.
You know what I mean:
– rotating banners
– pop-up forms
– real-time chat boxes
– Flash animations and navigation
– video characters and auto-play music
The trouble is a lot of the stuff that looks fun and sexy on screen can be a nightmare for SEO.
One of the over 200 factors that Google uses to rank a web page is the code to text ratio. This extra code can also change the order in which Google spiders the page.
I’ve personally seen good old fashioned circa 1994 html sites that were ranking number 1 for a bunch of search terms get pushed back to page 3 or 4 once the site was “upgraded” to a new look.
“Help, I’ve just spent $6000 on a web site upgrade and now it’s dropped to page 10.”
The truth is nobody really cares about your cute dog animation. What they care about is a clearly articulated strong offer of value with social proof and an easy call to action.
And who actually uses those little chat box pop-ups? Do you?
When in doubt, don’t do it, and if you decide to make a change, keep notes, and make sure you can roll back to what used to work.