SEO Advice

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Hi All

We have an SEO chap of sorts working with us and a very capable PPC expert. Our keywords are tightly defined and critical to what we do. Google webmaster describes the significance of our principal term as 100% and the secondary term at 86% yet when combined as a keyword we cannot get relevance over 3/10. While not huge by most standards our google PPC campaign has a £650 per month spend.

Both the SEO and PPC chap and indeed an ofsite web administrator say that the problem lies with the C5 platform. Since we cannot afford a redesign and I just about know how to work our site I would like to know if anyone has got round this objection and if possible how this was achieved.



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Steevb replied on at Permalink Reply
Hi Mark,

All my sites rank well and are found using chosen keywords. C5 works better for me SEO wise, as opposed to your normal HTML page.
I presume your spend is actual clicks, are you not converting?

I have never had to use PPC, just rely on a good C5 build. The ability to add all necessary parts to pages in C5 is super easy.

Check that all proper parts are in place: Title, Description, Keywords, 'h' tags, content, especially first paragraph (for the other search engines).

ConfusedofLondon replied on at Permalink Reply
Hi Steve

Thanks for your reply. We are converting at a decent CTR. The problem is one of relevance for our keywords. No amount of gymnastics with the website settings seems to improve that. In fact we opened a ticket with C5 (who were very helpful) to address just the points you have raised.

We have analytics running and sitting at the top of the page; accurate descriptions; nothing but relevant content and all pages apparently appear as they should. There is in fact nothing left that we seem to be able to do to raise our relevance for the KEY keywords above 3/10. I know that this seems like a thread for a google discussion but because I keep being told that this is a consequence of using C5 I wanted to know if SEO problems were (a) a recognised C5 issue and (b) whether there was a way to resolve the issue.

This could just be people blaming C5 unfairly for want of any other ideas and in fact one of the reasons I am loath to consider a redesign is the possibility/probability that I would be no better off in SEO terms but several £000's out of pocket.

I have to say that having spent over a year worrying about SEO I am sick to the back teeth of trying to please google and may just shut gown the google account and stop worrying about it. I am in professional services rather than retail and so can live quite well without PPC.

Thanks for your help and thanks too to anyone else who may have a suggestion to offer.

Kind regards,

JohntheFish replied on at Permalink Reply
A couple of months ago a (pre C5) site I support that ranked fairly well on Google for the owners important keywords went live with a complete redevelopment in C5. It now ranks even better in Google.

I think a lot of it depends on your keywords and market sector. Some are saturated on Google, so you are fighting all sorts of spammers to get to the top. Others areas more open, so any well structured and linked site will do well without having to fight the spammers. C5 helps because it makes it easy to create a well structured site so Google can parse and rank it.
Steevb replied on at Permalink Reply
I say that it is NOT C5 that's at fault. Everything is relevant, so as I mentioned earlier, make sure webpages are laid out properly and your ad campaign keywords balance with your content.

Why would you need to redesign, that should not be an option?

Do you use a software package to help with SEO?

If your CTR and ROI are working perhaps you ought not to worry to much.

If you would like me to look at the C5 content, pm me your url.


Adreco replied on at Permalink Best Answer Reply
Hi Mark,
Just to clarify: you mentioned "combined as a keyword we cannot get relevance over 3/10"
The 3/10 refers to your new Keyword's "Quality Score" on Google Adwords? If so, your SEO of Concrete has little or nothing to do with it.
Keyword Quality Score in this context is derived by a number of factors including
1)HISTORICAL click-through rate of the keyword on the Google network (of the keyword in general, not just by your use of it)
2)Its weighted by your CTR of All keywords and ads in your campaign
3)The historical CTR of the "Display URL" (*not the actual url)
4)Quality of landing page (normally only a factor if its not relevant to the ad)
5)And of course relevance to the ad, the search, and the geographical region of display.

Hope this helps...If this is not what you meant by 3/10, I'm not telling you anything you can use (sorry)
ConfusedofLondon replied on at Permalink Reply

Thanks to all for your responses. I should say that I am by no means sure that C5 has anything to do with our problem, but having been advised that it is I want to find out from those in the know if it could be.

The guy who manages our CPC does so full time for a £60,000 a month account and works on ours in his spare time. The keywords with some adjustments to ad grouping etc. have been in use and linked to the same site for over a year. While as indicated we are in professional services company here a Keyword "Fresh fish heads" for example will be linked to a page which only provides Fresh fish heads and nothing else and again for example the ad creative will say "Find your Fresh fish heads here." but as you say adreco our score is 3/10 for relevance for Fresh fish heads despite the fact that this is all we do and all we have ever done.

We are in a competitive market place (Plaice)and all of the factors you describe will serve to make it more challenging to advance but we work with and are properly linked with (to stretch the analogy) the world's leading suppliers of Fresh fish heads and sponsor a number of Fresh fish heads awards.

I suspect that my problem is far more to do with the amount I am willing to cough up to google than the platform we use. The comment from Johnthefish in relation to the ability to parse and rank a C5 site does make complete sense to me and the fact that you chaps are not suffering the same problem means that my problem is either how we are using the platform, google or the nature of the market I operate in.

Thanks again,

Adreco replied on at Permalink Reply
I feel your pain Mark.
It may not make you feel much better about your situation but a quick read of the page at will show that your situation is not unique.
The good news is - you can definitely raise poor quality scores...
The bad news is - few of us have the patience or money to do so in extreme cases :(
ConfusedofLondon replied on at Permalink Reply

About a year ago we used broad terms great for google - sucked to be us. Absolutely every term within our campaign is exact match. Of course for long tail and multi-word keywords we are 7/10 but for the ones that are truly relevant to what we do it would seem that no force on earth will move them.

I do deeply resent giving money to a faceless entity that refuses to communicate with me and believes that it has the right to determine whether we are relevant in our industry (Bring on the competition commission) of course we could switch to other engines if we wanted to get excited about the other 30% of the market but meh it is barely worth the trouble of creating those accounts.

We really do have true PPC expertise on board and as a consequence have avoided most of the usual pitfalls; that said some months ago I was even more frustrated and even less well informed that I am now and penned the following (only read if you have nothing better to do!) : -


The mantra that the Google management try to get us to swallow is that they operate under the principal “YOU CAN MAKE MONEY WITHOUT DOING EVIL” quite apart from their offshoring all their revenue to dodge taxes they exploit their completely dominant market position to charge an absurd rate for a simple click: they then expand the meaning of a term not just to a broad relevance but to absurd irrelevancies to swipe undeserved revenue (it is not advertising if it is pointed at a completely disinterested party) to fill their coffers.

The only way that a normal organisation can mitigate their rapacious greed is to employ the service of a expensive and highly trained consultant who is able to understand the absurdly complex system they have created to allow them to continue to milk the ignorant and I certainly include myself in that number.

Arguably worse than the individual points above but as a consequence of each of them they act as a hideous barrier to new market entries and start ups – the Small business sector that is needed to drive the recovery in the world economy cannot possibly afford to gain the ranking and rating positions required for a meaningful market presence. To put this in context if I were to pay them the amount they recommend me to pay them of £150 per day I would be using up cash that could pay for two junior staff members to work in my company; two fresh graduates who will otherwise remain on the scrap heap and without work experience. Rather they favour the vast conglomerates that can pay what they want, centralise and automate their functions to reduce headcount and cost and so release more cash to pay over to Google to enable them to grab more market share and crush their competition.

They would argue that simple market economics dictate the prices they are paid but they are the market they dictate the terms under which we all must play. We small companies – the architects and originators of market growth and employers of 80% of the workforce are given no quarter, support, nor relief from the burden that their dominance and complexity places on us and accordingly our growth is stifled while our pockets are drained into the untaxed Google coffers.

Potential staff must remain unemployed; their state benefits paid by our taxes from the very tax pot that Google’s institutional complexity and accounting machinations protect them from. Growth in our small company must be slow, it must be dictated by the amount in tribute we are able to give to one of the largest companies in the world; growth in all small companies is similarly limited and so the economy is stifled and stagnant. Money which would have paid for people to have jobs leaves the country at the rate of £6 Billion a year or £115 Million a week and is untaxed; the unemployed receive benefits in part from the few that are employed and pay tax but this is insufficient and so governments borrow to pay them: there is no source of funds remaining to enable our government or any other to repay their debts and so economies contract across the world.

As I have amply demonstrated Google are solely responsible for the worldwide recession, unemployment, world hunger, failing crops and quite possibly the Spice Girls they are by all moral and economic measures available to humanity the greatest EVIL on Earth but they know that they CAN and will MAKE a lot of MONEY by DOING WITHOUT YOU.
olliephillips replied on at Permalink Reply
Great rant that takes me back 10 years!! Google played a role in the demise of one of my first online businesses.

What I would say is any business that has to rely on PPC 'long-term' will struggle, but since they control organic rankings as well it's a rock and a hard place position for sure. However, £650 a month could drive some decent marketing activity through other channels!

Re the speed issue you mention. There are a number of ways to further optimise C5. 12345j has a plugin that optimises client-side javascript and CSS (I think it's him - someone will correct me if I'm wrong), and some form of alternative caching such as APC or memcache on the server can make a real difference to performance. You don't say if you're doing any of this.
ConfusedofLondon replied on at Permalink Reply
Hi Ollie

Thank you. It is a great rant and I am somewhat disappointed that it has not recieved more general acclaim!

In relation to Google we have all but killed off our account. We do spend about £65,000 a year on things that actually work so while Google is a "nice to have" thing and in theory could produce easy wins it would never be a prime cash generator in our sector. We now have one adgroup with four keywords: their performance sucks but I now only give them about £200 a month and have stopped worrying about it.

I will ask our tech guys to look into the solutions you have mentioned but really as others have suggested the issue is more likely to relate to our host than to the C5 structure.

Kind regards,

frz replied on at Permalink Reply
I would love to have your experts tell us exactly what it is about
concrete5 that is getting in their way.

From my prospective, you can completely control everything (meta tags,
alt tags, URL structures, etc) so unless they can provide a specific
list of technical challenges they're running into, you're getting
up-sold on a needless redesign.

I'm no SEO expert (clearly there are many here that do love c5) so if
I'm wrong I'd love to be given a list of issues we can resolve.

best wishes

Franz Maruna
JohntheFish replied on at Permalink Reply
I tried searching for Fresh Fish Heads and got all sorts of stuff from all over the place, much from totally different sites - supermarkets, angling tackle, travel, restaurants, hotels, boats ....

Some are enormous web presences that you can never hope to beat in an SEO arms race.

As most googlers do not know to put quotes round a compound term, putting effort or money into massaging page text and keywords above what you have noted you have already done is, I suspect, a lost cause.

Better to put the same budget into direct advertising or adwords and optimised engineering. Stuff like minimising the number of files, cacheing etc (see the Miser thread).Also beware that Google looks for particularly spammy attempts to beat their indexing and actually counts that against you.
ConfusedofLondon replied on at Permalink Reply
Hi Franz

Thank you for your interest in this. I am told that the site speed is an issue and that C5 takes longer than others to load a page. Specifically on this point I have been told: - "Site speed is a factor in ranking. C5 isn't good at it. It's slow to respond, and to finish a whole page. It makes visitors wait, and it may incur search ranking penalties"

The other issue is said to be "What I call the aggregation-pagination problem is the way the site collects summaries of FISH HEADS and splits them 10 to a page under BIG FISH HEADS and SMALL FISH HEADS. In this context the Fish Heads are essentially two separate lists of products for sale which change on a regular basis (while remaining fish head related)and so represent the variable content of the site. I have to say I am not clear on why this should be causing a problem.

I don't feel under pressure to alter platform, partly because I am simply not going down that line but also neither of the people suggesting this are web developers and would not benefit at all if we were to take up their suggestion.

I did open a ticket with C5 a while ago and had superb support from someone called Matt and indeed I like knowing that that support is available to me when needed.

I think that part of our problem may be attributed to the speed question and the remainder to the development approach taken by the original developer who created the site for us.

For the record my only actual involvement with fish heads is to use them as bait when tuna fishing. As I said above our actual work is professional services, but I don't really want to "Out" myself.

Thanks again for your interest in this topic. The purpose of the thread was to discover whether the comments I was receiving represented a general problem; or if it was just us. I suspect that more significant to either speed or construction is the fact that we are trying to improve our relevance and ranking in a very competative (non-fish head related)market.

Thanks again,

mkly replied on at Permalink Reply
Speed isn't really that big with Google. C5 isn't that slow. jeeez.

Honestly, and I'm not a Concrete5 cheerleader by any stretch, I read the part where you said that "neither of the people suggesting this are web developers" and it kind of makes me think that your SEO guys are very familiar with one or two popular CMS platforms that are very popular with the SEO crowd. IMHO this is because those guys get paid to basically install plugins and theme that do a sizable amount of the lifting for them without having to really understand what they do. Not that they can't get results, but it's more of a "I read blog x, y and z and installed plugin a with theme b and used tool c" as opposed to understanding what any of them actually do.

Anyhow. I'm not bashing on your guys, it just really sounds like they are grumpy because they aren't used to Concrete5 and wish they could just use the tools they are more familiar with.
ConfusedofLondon replied on at Permalink Reply

Thanks for that I both enjoyed it and recognise a good deal of truth in it. I think the platform has become the scapegoat for a number of things. I would not go so far as to say that my chaps have "tried nothing and are all out of ideas" but when I started this thread I was doubtful that the platform had the claimed effect.

The headers, footers and tags were part of the work done by C5's ticket as well as "pretty Url's" and so far as I know they are now exactly as they should be.

My difficulty in getting to the bottom of this has been, and still is, that I am really not that clued up on these things and have to rely on information provided by others. We are still a small company and simply cannot invest the time and money to gain a meaningful web position in a competative market. Happily the web is by far the worst way to do what we do and so the impact on our business is not huge.

I do think that we would benefit at some stage from real developer support and for now I have cut off google PPC altogether and will simply focus on making money.


witwag replied on at Permalink Reply
I'm adding to this after such a long time, sorry but I felt this was important.

Speed matters. In fact it really matters a lot.
Here is the official Google position :

Think of it as this : Google invests millions of dollars in spidering websites. They own thousands and thousands of server. Every second of CPU time and bandwith is a commodity. If your site is slow, you cost them money. The equation is simple : if your site is slow, you have been warned and you do nothing, chances are you don't care about your users. Chances are your content is not so interesting after all. As a result you start to go down.

Concrete5 versions prior to 5.5 tend to be a bit slow, and need some optimisation, for instance with Miser. It has a real impact on search.

Concrete5 5.5 and above are much faster and should be used. If your site is still not running 5.5, upgrade it.

As for the AdWords quality, it's based on many things and one of those things is content. A very good resource for optimizing ads versus content is Perry Marshall's website. Google it, buy his small Google Adwords book. It's good.
synergeticrealty replied on at Permalink Reply
If it helps, I was told that the google ranking out of 10 is actually a ranking of your back links or other sites that link to your site. It has nothing to do with where you appear on the organic results of a search.
Adreco replied on at Permalink Reply
Google's Page Rank for web sites is based partially on back-links, but keyword quality scores are entirely different than page ranking. Keyword rankings are more closely related to historic click-through performance on searches.
johnnyfreud786 replied on at Permalink Reply
I use google adwords whenever I need to research keywords; it’s easy and gives fast results in researching. I will suggest you to use only google adwords keyword because your main aim is to rank well in search engine than why not use keywords suggested by google itself.
Tony replied on at Permalink Reply
this Concrete5 SEO Guide might be useful for people trying to figure out how concrete5 works with search engines. hopefully it'll clear up some of the confusion for those wondering why they're not ranking high enough or not getting found: