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SEO Case from Dallas

This is a free SEO white paper about a Dallas based restaurateur who own two different steakhouses that are about 20 miles from each other, who hired our SEO Company to fix the mistakes of their previous Dallas based SEO firm.

The client had been referred to us by another client of ours who owns an auto body repair shop in Dallas, and another one in Grapevine Texas. The client called us and asked us to look into the reason behind his site's homepage, disappearing from the search results. Even if you searched for the clients full URL, his terms page was coming up as the number one search result on Google, instead of his homepage. So we took a quick look at his homepage source code, and quickly spotted about 3 pages of comma separated key phrases that had the word steakhouse and a city next to it, and then the reverse of that, where they had the name of the city and the word steakhouse after the key phrase. They had used CSS to overflow the key phrases, so they wouldn't appear on the homepage. That is all the SEO we found on the site. There were hardly any backlinks to the website, other than the ordinary who is and review related sites that list every site on the Internet in the hope of getting cheap traffic.

The client requested that we find out how he lost his search engine positioning. He was #1 for every steakhouse related key phrase that followed the city. Meaning, the cheap SEO trick, for which he was paying $350 per month, was actually working for a while. So he was surprised as to why he lost his rankings. There are lots of ways Google can find such blackhat SEO methods. The most obvious of course is the excessive commas, followed by the sheer number of key phrases on the homepage. However, Google discovered the blackhat SEO Company's method, his homepage was dinged. Imagine when someone searches for a steakhouse restaurant and the first result that comes up is that restaurant's terms page. Instead of seeing mouthwatering pictures of juicy steaks, and hearty potatoes, you see a bunch of legal terms. Press back and you are off to another restaurant's site!

Here is what we learned:

First of all we advised the client that we cannot take money from him essentially just for removing the CSS overflow. That would not be ethical SEO. Fortunately, the client had a copy of Dreamweaver on his machine, so we asked him to FTP into his site, and directed him where to go in the source code to remove the offending SEO. He did, and he uploaded the corrected homepage back to his server. He thanked us and hung up. Back then, there was not much competition for key phrases like steakhouse Grapevine, so any site that was old and had unique content, good pictures etc would show up on the first page. The client confirmed this when he called us back six weeks after his initial call. His homepage was back on the first page, with nothing more than just good content and images. He just needed to remove the offending SEO. Granted his site was 5 years old, and it was TLD, hosted on a dedicated server and a dedicated IP address. When the client called us to thank us, he told us he is not going to sign up with us, because he doesn't need our SEO services. However, he wanted us to SEO his son's website, who is a personal trainer in Dallas. We took a look at the site, it was new, but had no penalties, so we gladly accepted the project. The client ended up paying for his son's SEO work, and is still a client with us nearly 6 years later.

SEO Lesson:

Don't use cheap blackhat SEO methods to rank your site. It may work for a while, but why risk your reputation and your livelihood when you can do clean white-hat SEO instead, and get sustainable results that way! Another business related SEO lesson we learned is that you may not immediately get business if you are ethical, but down the line something good will come your way.

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