Welcome to this week's edition of the Friday Website review. I'm journeying to Bayside, NY this week in search of my website review candidate. Using Google Chrome, I searched for the phrase "jewelers near bayside ny" and saw these results:
Bell Family Jewelers appears first in the list for the Local Pack and for the organic results, so let's look at that site here:
This is what it looked like when I visited:
(click to enlarge)
Initial Evaluation and SEO
I was very surprised to see a website that looks like its using the old method of placing HTML frames side by side. I haven't seen a jewelry website using this method in more than 10 years.
Examining the code I found that it was, in fact, using an HTML 3.2 method of programming those frames. As a reference, the current HTML version we're using is 5.0.
I was very curious why this website appeared first in the organic listing when using such an antiquated programming style, so I spent a little time trying to dissect what Google was seeing. My best guess is that this site is triggering a Google algorithm effect that I've seen a few times--I refer to it as the minimalist website effect.
Web pages that have very little information on them, as in less than 100 words, including the HTML programming, often rank very high for whatever phrase they are trying to target. The only prominent words in the source code of the Bell Family website are:
www.BellFamilyJewelers.com - Bell Family Jewelers - Jewelry - Bayside Queens
When running a search for "site:bellfamilyjewelers.com" Google returns 7 similar results shown here:
In my estimation, my search phrase of "jewelers near bayside ny" very closely matches the phrase "Jewelry - Bayside Queens" found on the website, which is how it achieved top organic listing.
Most of the links on the navigation menu across the top lead to vendor websites. Even though the website is using antiquated frames, it would seem logical for those vendor sites to appear in the large left frame rather than linking to another browser window. If you're going to use frames, you might as well use them correctly, but they didn't.
I also found a few navigation links leading to blank pages on their website. Here's a diagram showing the offsite links, including links to e-commerce watch websites:
First of all, jewelers should not link to vendor websites any more. There's so much more value in having a product catalog live directly on your website rather than linking to another website. Second, if you do choose to link to other sites, then you should not link to one that allows the customer to search for another store. Third, you should never link to an e-commerce website unless you are getting a commission for that referral link.
Website Updates and Facebook
It sure seems like Bell Family Jewelers doesn't care about their website. The site we see here was created by kpsearch.com, a local marketing company in their area of New York. As of this writing, the kpsearch.com website says they offer websites for $665 setup and $29.50 per month. This is a clear case of paying a bottom of the barrel price for a website and getting exactly what you paid for.
Lastly, it looks like they were updating their Facebook page on a regular basis, but as of this writing, they stopped updating it 23 days ago on September 30, 2015 as you can see here:
It's certainly one of my pet peeves to see a jeweler updating their Facebook page, yet ignoring their website.
This really is a horrible website. They are ranking highly because of pure luck, but anyone visiting the site isn't given any value. It would not surprise me at all if they are losing more customers because of this site than what they are gaining.
My suggestion to them is to build a new website with a product catalog and all their designer information on it. They should continue to add new products to the site and then start posting to Facebook again using an clear strategy.
That's it for this week's review; I'll see you next time...
FTC Notice: I randomly choose this website and won't be telling the retailer jeweler that I'm doing a review. Unless someone else tells them, they will only find out about this review if they examine their Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. I'm not doing this to solicit business from them, but rather as an educational exercise for everyone. This review is completely impartial and all my comments are listed in the order that I discovered them.