Using a Website Builder and Need SEO?
These situations are challenging because they make SERP ranking difficult. A cookie-cutter website, also known as a template website, presents a few issues that may hinder SEO. Their appeal is that they are cheap and easy to use since the owner does not need to know code or how to build a professional website. While those all sound like good points, and they are, except when it comes to ranking your template in search engines like Google.
The problems associated with a cookie-cutter website begin to appear when the site launches. They are not unique. While a few marketers might feel that template websites are okay, they almost always agree that the template site must only be a beginning and never an end. Keep reading, and we will go through some of the obstacles you’ll run into with cookie-cutter sites and some of the solutions for improved search engine rankings.
Websites Built With Templates Are Not Unique
One of the driving forces behind SEO rankings is unique content. A website is not content, but the overall design and layout, including web copy and rich media amongst many more factors, are. In some cases – we discuss later in this blog post – may cause the site to rank lower. Websites built with templates are okay, but not great. They serve a generalized purpose for people who:
Cannot afford a custom-built website
Do not understand code or professional websites
Need a website that is easy to use and quickly available
The reason they are okay and not great is that they do all of the things on the above list for people who would not have a site. The negative part is that there are likely thousands of other websites that look the same. In the eyes of a crawler, that standardization translates into a similar ranking.
That is because while your site is beautiful, the hidden structure of the website remains identical to many other websites. The cookie-cutter format may also have limitations that impact user experience (UX.) That is a significant defect to a spider/crawler. Those defects may also be very simplistic the H1 and H2 titles are not optimized for SEO, the image load too slowly, etc. These little reasons add up to common opinion by marketing experts that cookie-cutter sites do not rank.
If your site is not ranking well, reach out to your local Calgary SEO Company. Here’s our list of how to fix cookie-cutter sites without giving up the positives.
We fix cookie-cutter template defects by improving the SEO optimization of your website. That process begins by taking away the cookie-cutter fit but leaving behind the easy to use format. Also, we add in a whole bunch of unique content, images, and headings that precisely fit the business attached to the site. In so doing, we marginalize the template in a process that amps up on-page SEO and repairs some of the damage to off-page SEO.
In short, we try to make the site as “you” as possible while addressing issues that a spider or crawler might have. This process is not always entirely possible as templates have their limitations.
What Calgarians Are Experiencing
The visitor experience is UX – user experience. It may be that UX is a positive thing on your website, at which point little needs to change. What justifies how much the UX is tweaked boils down to site metrics. Does your website have a high bounce rate and a low dwell time, or does the site have a low bounce rate and high dwell time?
What are the metrics for content? How does SEO stack up for both on-page and off-page? It may be that the cookie-cutter site does not employ any canonical tags. Canonical tags are a tool to lower incidents of duplicate content within a website. For example, the version of a blog that also fits a PDF, mobile-optimized, and desktop-optimized format. Canonical tags allow all three versions of the same content while notifying Google that the original content is one piece with options based on the user’s device.
One issue with cookie-cutter sites is the lack of CSS – Cascading Style Sheets. The CSS helps order the layers of a webpage or as printed media from the site. CSS is a tool used to help increase UX. Another major issue SERPs SEO found is that many of these website builder templates do not have a 301-redirect option, and this a crucial function for SEO services today and tomorrow! Our Fix is to look at the number and condition of off-page SEO tools such as canonical tags, CSS, and other assets that are either malignant or absent. We correct these to that they match industry standards for your niche. Doing so often improves UX and makes your site more unique.
Code and Progamming is Limited
Most of these do-it-yourself sites limit the type of coding that can be applied and will reduce the use of JS within the framework. This limitation keeps the website looking like many other template-sites and can cause low search engine rankings. Sadly, there is not much one can do to fix this as the controls of the site’s framework are often locked. What SERPs SEO does with that “is.”
That process is where we enhance what we can improve. The results are a real ability of the site to please both the crawler and the user. Sometimes the implementation of quality, unique, and value-loaded content can offset the ding of poor (unfixable) site structure.
SEO Structure is Limited
We touched on this earlier. The SEO structure is the quality of headings, alt-attributes, web-content, etc. It might be that photographs need optimizing for both desktop and mobile users. Doing so could make the UX improve. It might be that the default headings are:
Very limited SEO functions
Images contain no keywords
Have broken links and strange URLs
The site can’t correctly help visitors, find what they need
These types of problems can cause your site to drop in rankings. Because we are talking about a cookiecutter website, the search engine may already recognize this and not even crawl the site. Googlebots skip “anything” duplicate.
The Content is Standard
Sometimes cookie-cutter sites will populate the site with content that is standard and not unique, including the use of blogs, articles, photos, and more. SEO is about unique and useful content. Duplicated content will most likely cause a ding by the crawler. Sites that have duplicate content may also become unranked and will never appear in the search engine result pages. The only way to fix this is to remove the content, replace it with original content created with SEO in mind, and request the website be re-crawled.
There is no guarantee that Google or another search engine will place the site back on the SERPs. Same thing goes for a penalized website; you’re better off starting over with a new domain – in this case, a new URL.
Calgary Web Designers at SERPs SEO, work with many clients who have cookie-cutter sites. We utilize our tools the best we can, which helps their websites rank with honest on-page and off-page SEO. We understand that giving up that site may not be the best move for your business. That understanding is why we work with you to repair existing issues and tweak the site so that it becomes a better image for your business.
For a more personalized review of your website, reach out to our team. We work with businesses of all sizes and across all industries.