Bad SEO finally reaches the Boardroom

12 April 2019 | B2C, Content, Integrated, Marketing, News, SEO

Ever since ASOS exploded on to the scene as a multi-brand retailer, they have been seen as a frenemy by most retailers. Most of our retail client’s first instruction would be, “we have to beat ASOS on Google”, which we have successfully done for a number of clients including French Connection – Dresses, black dresses… So it was a surprise to see ASOS suddenly dragged online by all and sundry talking about the fact that bad SEO had let them down and was the source of all their woes.

There are myriad opinions out there at the moment as to why this has happened ranging from:

  • PBNs getting penalised by Google
  • Doorway pages
  • Microsites
  • Inflating the site artificially through one or more of the techniques above

Our team looked into the problem in a bit more detail and using the interim finance report as a guide, this is what we found:

“Traffic was further impacted by some instability in SEO performance, which led to a decline in Search Engine Ranking Positions (“SERPs”). This was caused by multiple customer navigation changes to our websites and our release of 200 local web experiences, which whilst strategically the right thing to do, had an impact on SEO rankings in the short term. We have been working hard to rectify this and are now seeing early signs of recovery in our key SERPs.”

These issues could be due to implementations such as:

  • Creating pages tailored to specific markets in order to allow ‘local web experiences,’ but not properly implementing international targeting which resulted in duplicate content and consequently a drop in visibility
  • ASOS made changes to their site navigation which affected visibility; changes to site navigation and structure often lead to a short term decline in visibility, but once redirects – and other technical fixes – started to take effect, rankings began to recover

In most cases a combination of all the factors above lead to a perfect storm – however it’s always a good idea to check basic web hygiene in the first instance before conspiracy theories.

Want to talk more hreflang? Get in touch.

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