As I was putting the finishing touches our study of 34 website platforms as part of the 2009 ASMA study for car dealers, a question came to mind. By the way, the study will be released at the 7th Digital Dealer Conference
in Nashville on November 1st.
Question: Should website companies provide in their base website package a site that includes unique Page Titles and META descriptions, which would be Google SEO Compliant?
Google's SEO Starter Guide as well as Google Webmaster Tools specifically calls out the need to have unique Page titles and descriptions. You can see from the screenshot from the Webmaster Tools that Google alerts developers when it finds duplicates. If this is in the console, its important.
Sloppy Or Ignorant?
However, I find that a number of car dealer platforms deliver duplicate Page Title and META description tags for brand new
websites. If a site is allowed to be indexed for weeks with duplicate tags it would seem that some companies don't have a SEO compliance check in place. I feel that this has to be in place for all platform providers that want to compete in this industry.
I'm raising the bar and stating that all car dealer websites be delivered with basic unique tags so that a new site is not penalized in organic search results. This can be accomplished with a simple search and replace script on default tags for starters. Then an SEO specialist can tweak the pages further.
This problem is not just for new sites. A number of mature websites fail basic the Google SEO compliance tests.
Just this week I advised a new dealership that I'm working with, who has had their site up for over a month, that their META description tags were duplicated and that some Page Titles were also duplicated. See the screen shot below of the "site:" command which lists pages in Google's index:
From every test that I have done for organic search, these two factors play an important role
in search results along with other factors like page content, PageRank, etc. To leave the Page Titles and META description in this condition does not make any sense, especially when everyone is talking about the importance SEO and search optimization.
So, what do you think? Should dealership platforms be held to a standard that they deliver a basic Google SEO compliant website day one?