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Where to Buy Flying Ninjas…and Other Tales from a Cookie-Cutter Website Developer

If you want to know where to buy flying ninjas, happy or patient ninjas, ninja silhouettes or any other kind of ninjas, here’s where to find them. No kidding, we found them on a California-based body shop website that we, Optima Automotive, did an analysis for.

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BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and Web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.

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If you want to know where to buy flying ninjas, happy or patient ninjas, ninja silhouettes or any other kind of ninjas, here’s where to find them. Yes indeed, I found them on a California-based body shop website that we, Optima Automotive, did an analysis for. Buy your very own ninjas, just click: http://smartdata.tonytemplates.com/car-repair-services/shop/. This was a hyperlink from the website, connected to a button labeled, “Need Help?” This link takes visitors to a template page that has an entirely different shop name, logo, address, phone number and completely bogus content…which causes immeasurable confusion for search engines. This was just the tip of the iceberg! I’m just getting started…

Web Fight Brewing

We built this shop a new website two years ago. When searching online in their home town – a very competitive market area – we discovered they were on page one for two of the top four terms the public uses when searching for a body shop, and the top of page two for the other terms. This shop had not elected to do ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) with us or these search results would have been even better.

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A month ago, a rude, pushy rep from a website firm contacted us. He told us he had just built our client a new website and demanded access to the client’s web server. We own the rights to this server. We didn’t know this person whatsoever, so we contacted the client who confirmed this firm had indeed built them a new website. We don’t host websites built by other developers; there are plenty of options for that, and we weren’t going to give anyone access to where we host all the websites we build. Then, this developer demanded we transfer the rights to the client’s domain name to him. No way… EVER! You need to own the rights to your own domain name.

When the new site launched, this firm took down the one we built. That’s fine; these things happen in our industry every day. It doesn’t make us happy, but we always handle things professionally in case things don’t go well and the former client needs help down the road. We launched an analysis of the new site to see what this firm had going on and if we could learn anything, potentially improving our own offerings. Our first impression was that the new site looked very nice. It was aesthetically pleasing. But, upon deeper analysis, we found the following nightmare:

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  • Typos everywhere. As just one example, “Appointment” was spelled “Appoinment.”
  • Duplicate content everywhere on other auto repair websites. Duplicate content is a ranking killer! The blog page was completely duplicated on dozens of other sites. Blogs are supposed to enhance ranking potential, but not when duplicated. This was the worst thing we found.
  • The basic SEO 101s were missing.
  • A “Shopping Cart” was on the top of each page, even though you couldn’t order anything (other than ninjas) – a clear sign that this was a cookie cutter template
  • “Our Services” listed 24 mechanical services, but no collision repair services.
  • There was a “24 Month/24,000 kilometer” nationwide warranty. Kilometers?
  • The client testimonials referred to a mechanical shop and mentioned pre-inspections for anyone interested in buying a used car. None of these applied to the client’s shop and were duplicated on dozens of other websites. Not authentic!
  • The Google maps had an error message stating, “This page can’t load Google Maps Correctly.” This was because they used a temporary “for development purposes only” plugin on an actual website. Therefore, no direct connection was made with Google, thus confusing visitors. • They state that this shop is part of the second largest repair network, but it isn’t.
  • The developer owned the copyright, meaning if this shop ever ended their relationship with them, they would have to start from scratch.
  • The “Our Team” section listed the same name over and over again for each employee and had the wrong names for the owners.
  • The important “Request an Estimate” feature threw an error message.

What a Mess

There was lots more! What a mess! And this shop was left holding the bag. Their rankings are already suffering, too. One ranking went from position 9 to 217! Soon, this site won’t rank at all, making it invisible on searches. Who suffers? The unsuspecting shop owner who doesn’t know any better and was sold a bill of goods. Know what you’re doing before making similar mistakes when building a new website. For a free analysis of your current web presence, visit: optimaautomotive.com/optima-automotives-website-analysis/.

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