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Google Dance – Florida Update

Posted on Dec 30th, 2003
Written by Lee Odden
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    When the Florida update occurred our site felt it like many others. On a Saturday morning, I checked a particular phrase on Google that has driven many, many new customers to us and our site was gone. I know better, but that sinking feeling set in.

    About 3 weeks before, we began the process of changing our domain name from a keyword rich, hyphenated name to a shorter name that included the name of our SEO service The shorter name had already been used in radio interviews and our listing in the Marketing Sherpa Guide to SEO Firms.

    At the beginning of Dec, our ranking for phrase in question, “online marketing” reappeared on Google at #2. (previously held #3). But, Google still has our old URL in it’s cache. We’re currently re-directing any requests to the old URL to the new one so there is no lost traffic. The key is to make sure there is no misconception that there are 2 identical web sites. Rather, it’s a case of an old and a new domain name pointing to one web site.

    Now we have the long and tedious task of contacting all of the sites that have decided to link to the TopRank site and inform them of our new domain name. It’s the only way to stamp out the old name. Additionally, we’re getting our ISP to change the redirect to a 301 since that’s a permanent redirect that will get Google to change the reference from the old domain name to the new one.

    Effects on our clients has actually been minimal if at all from Google Florida. In fact, several clients hit top 5 positions when they had not broken the top 10 previously. I don’t believe it’s worth belaboring, but if a client relies heavily on organic Google listings for business, it makes a lot of sense to diversify lead generation channels for 2004.

    As we grow, we’re allocating marketing funds to advertising online and in print. As usual, we track everything to death and will determine ROI after the first half of the year.

    The new year is coming up fast so it’s back to the grind today. Happy New Year!