Getting Out of Your Own Way – How a Developer’s Staging Site Can Completely Destroy Your Google Rankings

When people think about SEO – and I put myself in this category – they think of the smartest ways to get to the top of the search engines. How they can outrank and beat their competitors for those tough keywords. They imagine this complex web of ranking alchemy that select search engine companies use to get clients to the top of search results.

The truth that is closer to home however – is that many times it’s just a case of getting out of your own way.

The idea that search engine marketers are people who have figured out some secret sauce is only half true. Read on to see how getting out of your own way is sometimes more than 50% of the challenge.

Google actually has a guide on how to optimise your site for their search engines – and its own software which is very easy to install – that tells you what issues it’s detecting on your site.

Yes – Google actually tells you how to rank higher in search engines.

The combination of a web developer that understands how to not only create an appealing website – but also how to get it indexed and ranked – is a rare combination. And I have not seen a clearer example of an excellent web developer combined with a complete dearth of SEO knowledge than what I witnessed in the last couple of days.

A client’s site whom I had not had contact with for a while had gone down and its brand keyword search was not coming up.

Upon researching in Google Console I had discovered that even though the site was coming up on clientwebsite.com.au – what was happening was the WP dashboard was redirecting to a staging site (which is a site that developers use to test code prior to pushing it live). The staging site had created an automatic sitemap which was submitted to Google – and this was the site that was coming up in search results – about the 4th one down.

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This video shows how a sitemap was submitted from the staging site – leading to the wrong URL’s being indexed – which led to a whole pleothora of problems for site indexability.

I had resubmitted the site URL in Google Search Console and it is now coming up – however this shows you how important it is to – at the very elast – get out of your own way when it comes to optimising your site online.

If you want to learn more about using Google Search click here for Google’s official guide.

Also if you would like me to setup your Google Search and tell you what errors are coming up with your site simply drop me a line and I can do this for free (limited time offer).

All the best – and remember – sometimes it’s not about competing – it’s just about getting out of our own way!