Back in January, Floral Management Magazine ran an article on Hoogasian Flowers regarding their SEO tactics on organic ranking (see issue: Jan. 2009, pg 33). In that article Harold Hoogasian noted that in years past he had spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on “pay-per-clicks” with little to show for it. Something I think most of us can identify with.
As Harold reflected on his coming strategies for this year, he told Floral Management that he is solely going to focus on ranking his website organically. In that regard, Harold mentioned that it is imperative for his website to rank for “San Francisco flowers;” which is of course understandable. After all, according to Google’s Traffic Estimator, just over 600 searches a day are performed on that phrase; roughly 18,000 searches a month.
After reading the article I went to Google with interest and searched for Harold’s website under the search terms “San Francisco flowers” and “San Francisco florist” but the results returned a ranking for hoogasian.com at 94th for former and 174th the latter.
Thinking that was rather odd as the article implied he was ranking on the first page, I returned to the article to re-read it slowly incase I missed something. Thereat, my eye-raised when I re-read that Hoogasian’s “landing page serves as a doorway to his e-commerce site” and that Hoogasian “has spent a lot of time trying to outsmart search engines.”
Knowing that Google frowns on doorway pages because the intent is always to “outsmart” them, it became clear to me why hoogasian.com is not ranking: because Harold did NOT “outsmart” Google. Yes, Harold’s site has been caught and is currently being disciplined.
What should Harold do? I recommend immediately removing any and all linkage from hoogasian.com to his FOL site and re-strategizing. If Harold simply got spanked by Google, his website should bounce back in the top rankings within a month. There is little reason for a website that has a PageRank value of “5” to rank so far back unless it has been penalized.
Just because Wesley Berry may get away with their doorway pages, doesn’t mean others will. Wesley Berry is apparently an exception to the rule.