Google Webmaster Tools Issue – Googlebot Caching Wrong Website Due to DNS Errors from Shared Hosting
Today, I was looking at the Google Webmaster Tools report for one of my client’s websites and I noticed a couple of peculiar bugs. First of all, I noticed that the website was getting an influx of inbound links pointing to it from other domains. Upon additional investigation, I noticed that there were at least 10 different domain names that were credited as pointing thousands of links to my website, but these links were actually pointing to a whole another website altogether. None of these websites have anything in common except for the fact that they are all on the same shared webhost and share the same IP address.
But yet when I look at the cached version of one of the other websites, my client’s website shows up in Google’s cache. This makes absolutely no sense since none of the websites are affiliated with each other in any respect except for having the same IP address. I tried to do some initial investigation into the DNS records including A records, CNAME records, NameServer records, and even MX records but I couldn’t see anything that stood out.
Why would Google associate one site with another site for no reasonable explanation??
Small Business SEO Marketing Services - I have been providing web development, search engine optimization and search engine marketing services for small businesses for several years. While I am convinced that search engine marketing is the most effective form of advertising in the history of mankind for several reasons, it is still an everyday struggle to explain to some prospective and/or skeptical clients the justification for why this is the case. The majority of people that are skeptical of SEO or SEM services is because they got burned multiple times by incompetent so-called SEOs peddling their “search engine submission” services and “guaranteed click packages” on Google AdWords (I’m looking at you YellowPages.com!) which produce absolutely zero results. I know I am good at what I do because I have the results to back it up, but I am going to let you in on a secret – SEO is not rocket science! There are no hidden magic tricks to get you ranked at the top of the Google and there are no backroom deals to be made with Google employees to get you ranked #1. Even though I have been doing this for years, I did not take any MBA-level classes or receive any prestigious awards for groundbreaking revelations in the search engine marketing industry. Everything I know is a result of reading lots of SEO books, articles, forums and blog posts and then running my own trial and error experiments. I stuck with what worked, and ditched the things that turned out to be outdated or just outright false. All this being said, a small business owner that is at least somewhat web savvy can have a lot of success with SEO without getting burned by snake oil salesman or paying out the nose for a qualified professional. Here are a few of my tips for succeeding at small business SEO marketing:
1. Create a website in WordPress – Simply put, WordPress is my favorite web publishing platform. Even though it was originally created to be blog software, it has evolved to become my top choice to use as a simple Content Management System (CMS) for a lot of my small business clients. I have worked with several other CMS platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, MODx, Expression Engine, etc. and WordPress continues to be my favorite. Once it is installed, you can manage all of the content on the site within a WYSIWIG dashboard so you don’t need to know any HTML or buy any expensive web editing software like Dreamweaver.
2. Add SEO Plugins - While WordPress continues to improve the SEO features inherent in the system with each and every update, there are several plugins that help with SEO. I used to be a fan of All-in-one-SEO Pack by now my favorite is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
3. Write content on your site - If you have installed a WordPress blog and added SEO plugins, you are going to be better off than 90% of other websites on the web. Now all you need to do is constantly write articles, blog posts, news releases, etc. about your company, industry trends, etc. For example, if you just started a Chiropractor business in Chicago, you would write about things related to Chiropractors and/or things related to businesses in Chicago. If your target audience is located in Chicago, then this is critical.
4. Add a Location page on your website - If you run a small business with an actual brick and mortar location, make sure to add a page to your website that is dedicated to just information about where your company is located, the business hours, a phone number, an email address and a contact form. Not only is going to be one of the most popular pages on your website for your customers, but the search engines love these pages for ranking local businesses in their rankings.
5. Claim your local business listings - If you run a small business that caters to a local audience, it is absolutely critical to claim your Google Places listing as well as your local business listings on other sites like Bing and Yahoo. Check out http://getlisted.org for all of the other sites.
6. Join social media sites – Especially Facebook and Twitter. Those two sites are by far the largest so I recommend starting with them. Get involved with the people in your industry and the people that live in your target market. All that it takes is to become an active participant and let your potential customers become aware that your business is around, so don’t worry about trying to be a pushy salesman or else you run the risk of scaring everybody away.
I know these 6 tips may seem a little vague but to be honest, if you just do these six steps, I guarantee you will be better off than 99% of your competition (unless you are in a crazy competitive industry like credit cards or mortgages!). If you want any additional help, feel free to contact me.