In a very special, very scary edition of Ask an SEO, Brian Harnish talks about some of the ten horror stories you will likely face in your SEO career.
From robots.txt blocking indexing, to DMCA takedown requests, to manual penalties, this video has it all.
For an SEO professional, some of these could send chills down your spine.
Leaving the lights on while watching is recommended.
Ten SEO Horror Stories Transcript
SEO Horror Story Number One: Robots.txt Blocks Indexing
Brian Harnish 0:59
Hello, and welcome to a scary Halloween edition of Ask an SEO. Buwahahahahahaaaa.
Number one: robots.txt blocks indexing. This is a big one. So you have a site and somebody had accidentally set robots.txt to block all indexing and crawling from Google. So what do you do, you have to go back in and set robots.txt back to crawling and indexing.
SEO Horror Story Number Two: Traffic Drop After a Redesign
Brian Harnish 1:51
Number two: a traffic drop occurs after you have redesigned the website. This could not necessarily be due to the redesign. What could be happening is you might have accidentally triggered a Google algorithmic devaluation due to the low quality of your site, in which case, you will want to do a deep dive into what’s specifically causing that actual penalty.
SEO Horror Story Number Three: Stolen Content
Brian Harnish 2:27
Number three: your content has all been stolen and duplicated across a number of different domains by an unscrupulous spammer. Okay, well, assuming you have found all the domains, then you have information needed to contact the web host of those domains, then you can file a DMCA or Digital Millennium Copyright Act request with your web host asking that they take down content and show – at least that way – they should comply when, when you provide proof that you own that specific content.
SEO Horror Story Number Four: You Suffered a Google Penalty
Brian Harnish 3:13
Number four: you have suffered a manual penalty. Now the thing about manual penalties that can make them the worst is you don’t always necessarily know exactly what’s going to be causing it. And when you go through link requests and other things of that nature, then you might have to go through quite a number of those before Google will allow you to reconsider your site. So that is going to be a situation where if you have a manual penalty, you have to put in the time and effort that you put into getting those rankings. Basically the same amount of effort, or more, that you put into getting there in order to get out of that penalty. So really, it’s just a good idea to stick to practices that don’t violate Google Webmaster Guidelines.
SEO Horror Story Number Five: Your Client Wants Results Tomorrow
Brian Harnish 4:13
Story number five: you have a client who wants results tomorrow. Sadly, with SEO, results are not going to come that quickly. So what – unless you have an extremely uncompetitive keyword that had no searches, or whatever. So this is an area where you can overcome that by really just making sure that during the client discovery process that you actually explain the risks, the pitfalls, downfalls, whatever, of everything that you’re proposing and make sure that they know that things will take – will generally take a while. They’re not going to be an instant overnight sensation.
SEO Horror Story Number Six: You Didn’t Pay Your Web Host
Brian Harnish 5:03
Nightmare story number six: you forgot to pay your web host and your site’s down! Well, this is something that is going to be a situation where you just have to pay your web host, and your site will be back up. That’s pretty much the end of that.
SEO Horror Story Number Seven: You Didn’t Pay Your Web Designer
Brian Harnish 5:30
Story number seven: you forgot to pay your web designer, and they have gone into your site and somehow activated a page explaining payment. Okay, so really, yeah, the situation here is they should have been paid. And even if you disagree with the work or whatever, the fact is, that the work was done. And unless it was really a terrible job, there’s really not much you can do about that, right? So it’s really best to pay your web designer, and they can, they will likely go ahead and restore it, whatever. So really just…just pay the designer and get it over with.
SEO Horror Story Number Eight: Another SEO Pro Has Died
Brian Harnish 6:21
Story number eight: This one’s kind of more of a macabre one. Simply because it is referring to SEO professionals, our favorite ones, who have died in the last few years. One of the ones that was a big shock was, of course, Eric Ward. And then we have Erik Stafford and we have had a couple of other SEO professionals who have passed away before their time. It’s always sad, we always miss them. And this is our chance to really recognize what they have done for the industry and to say, thank you so much.
SEO Horror Story Number Nine: Social Media is Down
Brian Harnish 7:10
Okay, story number nine: you sign on in the morning to find that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever, are all down. This has happened several times over the past year. And it has always really been quite a nightmare each time simply because like, that’s what we do, right? We market our websites on social platforms and get them to influencers, and so on and so forth. So it’s always a shock, to go online and find that, hey, a main function of your job is down, what are you gonna do? Well, anyway, you can’t really prevent what, what happens there when, and all you can really do is just shrug your shoulders, and it happened, right. So that’s, there’s really no major steps on this or whatever. But if that’s a major part of your job, maybe go back and look at tasks you might have had on the backburner for a while, and kind of make sure that they’re completed whatever. Either way, if it’s just one of those things that we never hope happens again, right?
SEO Horror Story Number Ten: Staging Site Has Been Indexed
Brian Harnish 8:34
And finally, we come to story number ten: you find that your site has a staging site at one point in the design process, right? But, you find about several months later that the designer did not deindex it and they didn’t go in and check “discourage search engines from crawling the site” and robots.txt is left wide open. And as a result, Google has indexed all of your staging site pages in addition to your site. So yeah, that is a major issue. What you can technically end up doing is really just go to the designer, make sure that they take off those particular places in robots.txt and WordPress if you’re on WordPress, and just make sure that all the staging site is deindexed.
Brian Harnish 9:33
Well that’s it for today’s Halloween edition of Ask an SEO! Buwahahahahahaaaa!
We hope you enjoyed this very scary edition of SEO horror stories! Be sure to tune in next year.
Have a great day!!