Several years ago we worked with the President of an Arizona flight school on a new web presence for the flight school he worked for. Through careful planning, Search Engine Optimization training for the flight school staff, and a website fashioned with ease of use in mind, RLC Design was able to raise the business profile online and direct more potential students to the school on a daily basis. The search engine rankings continued to climb over the years, and helped build more credibility for the flight school!
The results were amazing. More than 7 inquiries a week starting out, and at the high point up to 20 inquiries a week. The outreach program helped drive new students to the flight school, and in the end, helped increase the bottom line for the school.
The new flight school president’s job was to get the school into the black. And after several years with the company he achieved his contracted goal, and departed the flight school. A little over a year ago he contacted us with an interest in working with RLC Design, as he was thoroughly impressed with the results we drive. Today he consults with us on client projects and is an integral member of the team.
All that work…gone in a month
With the changes in management and staffing at the flight school the decision was made to bring the website oversight and maintenance fully in house. We understand that some businesses like to do that, and we didn’t take it as a slight in any way. We bill higher than a designer fresh out of college, and the decision was made in order to help lower overall costs for the business. The new designer contacted us weeks ago in order to transition the website to a new platform that he was more comofortable with.
Since cutting over to the new website, we’ve sadly watched the site’s rankings, keywords, and outreach TANK. We’re not talking a minor flop here. We’re talking traffic going down by over 80%. All of the carefully crafted SEO and keyword planning we did to get the business over 800+ relevant keywords has been destroyed. The site is now down to 134 keywords, and not all of them are relevant.
When crafting the new website, the new designer created a website with a sleek design to be sure. Many designers’ focus lands on how a site looks. Often times they completely forget about how the site performs. In the case of this website re-development the designer paid no attention to keywords or SEO of any kind. A pretty wrapper with no content at all.
So how do I get in touch?
The most shocking thing we witnessed over the course of the last few weeks has to be the lack of contact information. Fortunately the new website finally has a phone number on it (for several weeks no way to contact through the site at all). Information about signing up for classes is completely missing. Contact forms to reach the admissions office are gone as well. When the site was first converted, any visitor coming to it had no way to contact the school.
Fortunately they recently added 2 phone numbers, so that’s a plus. But an obvious contact form or other online communication options aren’t available on the site. Especially given that fact that the school had a lot of international student interest, you’d think there would be another contact method beyond just a phone number.
Continuing to follow the downhill slide
After the new website was deployed by the in house designer we started watching to see the changes in ranking. After all, the website we deployed years ago grew over time. With the training we provided for the original site, the school expanded it’s visibility to an international audience. And as this transition continues we have been watching all of our hard work turn to vapor.
When re-designing a website, or building a new website from scratch, one of the most important parts of the process is Search Engine Optimization. It’s not snake oil, although many people believe it is thanks to all the fake SEO companies out there. A proper plan and approach to optimizing your site can make the difference between page 1 on Google or page 10 (where you’ll never be found). And continuing maintenance and growth of your SEO is a must. Without it you might as well be advertising your business on a bill board sign in the Antarctic.