Seeking advice for eCommerce site that fell off of Google

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by sourricepudding, May 14, 2015.

  1. sourricepudding

    sourricepudding Newbie

    May 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Thank you for the fast replies, let me start out by telling you my role in this website. I am the son of the person that created it, the younger son. My father created the site, and my older brother redid the site in productcart around the year 2005. When the website was created the creator had little knowledge of SEO and went off of what was relevant at the time. He focused on keywords (using B Central) , metatags (ScrubTheWeb), submitting the site to search engines.

    About the time the site was deranked on google organic for just about all of our keywords was when he hired a "white hat" seo guy to help him with back links, press releases, and using one of those article scramblers to help "boost" the pagerank. He told us that we needed more content for our products, we had too much duplicate content, and we were being penalized for "exact match domain".

    Well, I believe that the person that he hired, outsourced the work to those five dollar places where you can have someone submit thousands of backlinks with your keywords and website URL.

    Now we are at the point where we are having to pay google adwords a lot of money, just to bring traffic to our website. If our web site shows up for one of our relevant keywords, we don't show up until rank 55 or higher.

    I believe the main issue is that we have over 2,000 pages listed on google. when I search site[​IMG]ursite the majority the pages that show up are old pages from 1990-2005, which are all irrelevant and old pages.

    We are using an ecommerce platform called ProductCart, which itself is somewhat dated. However, they've recently released a new version (version 5). We are working on a new version of our website using the latest version of the ecommerce platform, but in the past few months we've been considering a few other options. From our research, there are a bunch of other, newer ecommerce platforms that would most likely work better for what we're trying to do. The main reason we've decided to stick with our current platform is our URL structure. We are worried that changing all of our URLs (ProductCart uses a pretty specific URL structure that wouldn't translate well to say, Magento, or WooCommerce) would cause us to fall even further on the search results.

    However, considering the fact that we're already almost entirely decimated from Google, would it perhaps be better to just switch over to a new platform, reorganize our URL structure (currently our product pages don't show any category hierarchy, just the product name) and basically re-build the entire website?

    That's the main dilemma we've been facing, and every day we continue to work on the new version of ProductCart is a day we could be working on a new, perhaps better, platform and site. Should we cut our losses now, knowing that our new site will end up with an entirely different URL (and HTML) structure, or should we stick with what we have and just get the new version of ProductCart launched?

    Our new site, as it is currently being built, will have a much cleaner HTML structure, as well as rich content (we're leaning towards JSON-LD rather than microdata, at the moment), but I can't help but feel that we will still be at a disadvantage by virtue of the fact that ProductCart is inherently not SEO optimized (or at least it doesn't seem that way to me, but what do I know).

    Much of the work we've put into the new version of our site could be translated over to a different platform, but of course something would inevitably be lost. However, at this point we're wondering whether the lost work might be worth it in the end if we can build a better site that's actually going to rank well and be user friendly.

    Regarding the timeline of this new site, we've been working on it for far too long now. The main person working on it has been splitting his time between this and other things for a while, but for the past week or so we've had him working solely on the new site. If we continue on our current path and work towards building a site on the latest version of ProductCart, we expect to have it completed by June 1st. However, ProductCart is such a, for lack of a better word, old and complicated platform, that we almost feel that we could switch platforms entirely and still end up with the site completed in about the same timeframe.


    Most of the above concerns solely the development and on-page side of our efforts, and I'm pretty sure we are lacking in many other areas, as well. Our top competitor has thousands of reviews, backlinks, and social signals, whereas we have relatively few. Regardless of what we do with our website and what platform we are using, I'm pretty sure we are going to need to make efforts to improve other aspects of our site, such as our social media presence, and especially our content strategy. At the moment, we don't have much in the way of content on our website. We have a few videos on YouTube that we created 3-4 years ago, and we have a few blog posts also from a couple years ago, but we have by no means been creating regular content, and we certainly don't have a "content strategy" in the way that we probably should.

    Speaking of "content", we have made a few attempts to update our product descriptions, but haven't yet managed to do a full refresh of our product-page content. We usually end up in a situation where the person who has the "domain knowledge" of our industry isn't comfortable working with spreadsheets or any other content organization method, and so we just can't get the information we need out of our heads and onto the page where it might help us on Google. Maybe there's some better way to organize something like, "refreshing the product and category descriptions" that we haven't considered?

    On top of all that, everything we've heard from the "white hat" side of the web lately is telling us that "you can't game the system and only content matters", but we can't shake the feeling that there's something they aren't telling us, and that there are some specific things we could be doing to have a noticeable impact on our search rankings and results. Are there any guides or specific resources we should be following?

    Finally, if we were looking to hire someone to help us with all of this, what exactly should we be looking for? Do we want to find a "consultant"? Or a "seo expert"? We're pretty sure we are going to need help with this, and would prefer do it ourselves if possible, but also understand that we may end up needing to bring in some professional assistance for at least some aspects of our web presence. At this point we just don't know exactly who to look for or what to ask them to do. We've had a few less than stellar experiences with SEO professionals in the past, and are having a hell of a time trying to figure out how to separate the wheat from the chaff, and how to find someone who will work with our particular budget constraints and the size of our business. Many of the guys we've approached seem to think (based on our gross sales) that we are this big company and can afford to pay thousands a month for SEO support, but we are at this point barely scraping by, and are putting far too much of our money towards Google AdWords. If anything, we're a "small business", maybe "medium" at this point, but we definitely used to be "a big player" in our industry back when we were in our heyday, and we'd like to get back there.