My New Year “Purge” – The Aftermath

When you run a web directory, you’ve got to try to keep the content (ie website listings) up to date! Otherwise, you become a repository of dead links, which have never been too useful for anyone LOL.

Normally I attack these as I find them, but annually, I run the whole list through a program called “Integrity Plus” to see what it can find!

And so began the great “purge” of 2019, where almost 5000 websites were killed over the past week!

And since this is still a very “hands-on” process, some of what I see when this is underway is quite interesting.

The first thing I’ve decided after completing the 2019 purge is this… I simply have to do this more often! LOL

When Integrity spits out literally thousands of “errors” to you… and you need to check ALL of them manually in your browser to see whether they really ARE serious enough to warrant deletion… it is a huge job. Much easier it is to do it monthly or even quarterly!

Error Messages – These Do Not Compute!

So I kill 99.9% of the “Hostname not found” errors – ie domain name has expired, or perhaps just not linked to a web server)- but still only AFTER checking them myself… because just sometimes things don’t always work as they should!

But a swag of other “errors” come up which are extremely annoying!

And the first is a 404 error – or “page not found”. So if you link to an internal page on your server from a directory listing, and then decide to change the website… and NOT redirect the OLD links… then ALL your directory listings and other links out there on the internet will no longer work.

So here’s a hint people… EITHER keep your link structure intact with any redesign, OR 301 redirect the old pages to their matching new pages (check this link out for details ).

It would be really nice if all web developers managed this as part of the update process!!! Imagine how much link juice you can lose if you don’t do this – a huge waste of time and effort from past link building attempts!

However, they aren’t the only 404 errors that pop up! I discovered far too many servers are not quite configured properly… and even just going to the “home page” of a site can throw up a “page not found” error. Really? Now, some of these might creep in over time with server software updates etc… but would you even KNOW it was happening?

You really need to be monitoring your server on a daily basis!

That means YOU either visit your website daily or get an automated web site monitoring service to do it – this one is free and I have been using it for years!

And the good thing is… all server errors will be reported!

So… I found lots of sites with stuff going on that you, as the website owner, are most likely not even aware of!!!

And customers can’t visit your site. Directories like mine will kill your listing. And the search engines will kill your indexing. That’s certainly not good for your business! LOL

Failed SEO Experiments

I did also see a lot of SEO experiments that failed… ie domain name variations that did their time… and weren’t renewed! For instance, there are several industries – movers, roofers, storage places, tradies etc – that play the game to try to get more SEO attention! And I did see a LOT of their experiments crumble!

Domain names like this – product-placename.com, service-placename.com, placenameproduct.com or placenameservice.com – just do NOT work anymore (that’s IF they ever worked in the first place!)

If these industries are not renewing their domain names and letting all these “extra” websites lapse, it sends a big message in my opinion!

So if any SEO person you are using recommends you should play this game… tell them they’re dreaming!

Perhaps the ONLY time you might use a place name in your domain these days, is if it is part of your business name! Otherwise, don’t try to play this type of keyword game!

Instead, spend your money and effort on building up YOUR MAIN WEBSITE. Doing all the things you can to consolidate your position in the marketplace!

DO NOT dilute your efforts by trying to build up a whole heap of what is basically just MORE competitors for your own site!

The same applies when developing content on OTHER PLATFORMS like Facebook, Youtube etc. Be careful there, as pages and channels get shut down OFTEN! Make sure you always develop your MAIN site content first, and then add complementary content elsewhere.

So What Closed Down?

Well, this is not a “blow-by-blow” list of sites that I removed… rather my general observations on the main business/website types that closed down.

The surprising one is that there were quite a few long-term businesses – both offline and online – which closed for whatever reasons! Perhaps it had more to do with there being no-one to pass the business onto after retirement? Who knows… just that I did “notice” quite a few long-term businesses shutdown!

Also, some areas did stand out as having a lot of closures. Make of this what you will…

These included: web site designers (including long-term ones), SEO companies (flash in the pan anyone???), and websites to do with children and toys, perfume, fashion, along with quite a few “adult” sites.

What this tells me is that in 2019 it’s going to be a LOT HARDER to set up a successful website/online business!

For example, one site that I put a lot of development work into almost 12 months ago is, despite my best efforts, only attracting BOT TRAFFIC! Why? Well, who knows??? Literally, thousands of bots visit each month… and they really only have one or two reasons to be there…

1. Either they are looking for “backdoors” to exploit my CMS (WordPress) and send spam mail etc from my server…

OR

2. They are “stealing” my content and reproducing it somewhere else!

As far as “human” traffic is concerned… there might only be a couple of “real” people a month. And as you know, you can’t make money from bots! And if I can’t work out how to get more real people to the site??? Hmmm…

In Summary

  1. Do regular maintenance regularly, rather than as one big job.
  2. Monitor your website for errors at least on a daily basis!
  3. While there are many “things” you might be tempted to do… focus your SEO and promotional/advertising efforts on your MAIN website/domain.
  4. It’s going to be even harder to get noticed online in 2019! Things will need even MORE time and effort to develop traction, especially for the small/micro businesses with little money to spend on advertising!

Cheers and best wishes for the New 2019 Year!

Stephen

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