When marketers get a job with a new company, they tend to know at least a little bit about the new employer, but not everything. They may know who the VPs are, but they may not know which ones can get things done. They may know the local restaurants, but they may not know which ones have the best happy hour. They may know the products and services offered, but they may not know which ones make the most profit for the company.
And of course, they probably have seen the website and have half an idea of what they think about it. But what they may not know until they get involved with it, is what shape the website is in (specifically with regards to the search engines). And some times what they find isn’t pretty.
Even websites that have a good looking exterior can have issues that would cause concern for anyone who wants their site to rank well in the search engines. This includes poorly written code, involvement in link farms, dynamic urls, tons of duplicate content, large file sizes and/or a history of changes that are not well thought out.
When marketers encounter this, they may want to just click out of their browser and submerse themselves in anything that doesn’t have to do with the Internet. But in this day and age that is hardly the best way to approach the situation, and may not even be possible depending on the business or industry. Instead, they should take a proactive approach and use the circumstances handed to them as an opportunity to shine. If gone about the right way, they can turn the website around and look like a company hero.
So what do they need to do? Here are some important steps to take:
- Take a deep breathe, and realize the situation is not their fault. Approach this as an opportunity to showcase some very important skills.
- Document what is wrong, and make sure that everyone knows about it. Make sure everyone that needs to know understands why this is a ‘bad’ representation of the company, and the potential benefits of remedying the situation.
- Get stats and reports that detail the current situation of the site. This will be a baseline, and will prove valuable to show how future efforts have helped the company.
- Learn who within the company can help work on it. Not everyone has the time, knowledge or willingness to help on certain projects. Find a group of people that can be counted on to help get the job done.
- Based on the website, develop an action plan that could include: asking bad sites to stop linking to the site, developing unique content – whether it goes on a new page or replaces duplicate content on site, finding someone within the company to help rewrite the code, see if static urls are a possibility, optimize images.
Yes, it can be scary to see the true shape of a website and how the search engines may see it. But this can be an opportunity for a new employee to show how they handle a difficult situation. Handling the situation the correct way can offer a quick chance to show what type of impact one can really have on the company.
Have you run into this scenario at a new company? How did you handle it?