Practical Ecommerce

SEO Report Card: OnlyHangers.com Has a Good Home Page, Bad Product Pages

This month fortune smiles on OnlyHangers.com for a free site review. We received the request from the company’s owner, Ron Maier. In a way, OnlyHangers.com is in an enviable position because it is in such a niche market; so the known universe of relevant search terms is relatively small (most include the word “hangers” as you might imagine).

Only Hangers Report Card In general, the site relies on a lot of “old school” search engine optimization strategies, like keyword stuffing and article submissions, tactics that were popular and effective five years ago. There could be an over-optimization penalty for the keyword-stuffed meta tags and anchor text. Yet the site ranks on page 1 in Google for its targeted keywords, such as “hangers”, “wood hangers”, “wooden hangers”, “metal hangers”, “plastic hangers”, and “clothes hangers”. It’s actually the home page that ranks well, often in the first half of page 1. Conversely, many of the category level pages that are targeting those same terms are not performing, yet the company is trying hard to get those particular pages to rank with both on-page and off-page tactics.

For example, the Wooden Hangers page is at a disappointing number 53 position in Google for the term, yet its home page ranks number 1 (a pat on the back for the latter!). For the term “coat hangers” OnlyHangers.com appears nowhere in the first 10 pages of Google search results pages. Looks like the most relevant page for “coat hangers” is a keyword stuffed page from its blog (with a title tag of “Wood Hangers Blog: Coat Hangers, Coat Hangers, Coat Hangers”). It’s not hard to come to the conclusion that a portion of the OnlyHangers.com site is being penalized/dampened. I doubt it’s a manual penalty; my guess is that it’s algorithmic. Some other internal pages do seem to perform, but for less competitive terms. For instance, various internal pages rank for terms like “glam hangers”, “satin hangers,” and “clear hangers”. Despite the page 1 rankings by the home page, there is much room for improvement even for the home page. There was only the one above-mentioned keyword where the home page ranks at number 1; most often I found it at number 3. Studies show moving from number 2 to number 1 yields about a 4-fold increase in click-throughs; moving from number 3 to number 1 yields nearly a 5-fold increase. So my advice overall is for Maier to make building up the home page’s PageRank the next priority (after cleaning up the spam).

Video: Stephan Spencer’s Review of OnlyHangers.com

HTML

More specifically, there is much site-wide keyword stuffing. I found keyword stuffed meta keywords and meta descriptions alike, across both category and product pages. For example, on the Wooden Hangers page there are two meta descriptions (there should be only one meta description tag); the first has eight words and the second has a whopping 116 words. Both are just big keyword lists separated by commas, and the word “hanger” is repeated countless times. The meta keywords tag (which is useless, so I recommend simply deleting it site-wide) is repeated as well, with 16 words in the first one and 83 words in the second. Again, “hanger” appears countless times within that tag.

Here are the meta tags for a representative product page, which aren’t as over-the-top as the above-mentioned Wooden Hangers page:

<meta name=”keywords” content=”Hangers, Wooden Hangers, Metal Hangers, Garment Hangers, Plastic Hangers, Suit Hanger, Garment Rack, Childrens Hangers, Hangers for Stores, Padded Hangers, Wooden Skirt Hangers, Child Wood Hanger, Plastic Baby Hanger, Hanger for Children, Child Clothing Hanger, Heavy Black Hanger, Natural Hanger, Walnut Suit Hanger, Closet Hanger, Brass Clothes Hanger, Wood Coat Hanger, Anti-Theft Hanger, Infant Hanger, Metal Coat Hanger, Plastic Pant Hanger, Clothes Hanger, Kid Clothes Hanger, Garment Hanger, Pants Hanger, Infant Plastic Hanger, Wooden Pants Hanger.”>

<meta name=”description” content=”Hangers, Wooden Hangers, Metal Hangers, Garment Hangers, Plastic Hangers, Suit Hanger, Garment Rack, Childrens Hangers, Brass Clothes Hanger, Anti-Theft Hanger, Infant Hanger, Clothes Hanger, Kid Clothes Hanger, Garment Hanger, Pants Hanger, Infant Plastic Hanger, Wooden Pants Hanger, Hangers for Stores, Padded Hangers, Wooden Skirt Hangers, Child Wood Hanger, Metal Coat Hanger, Plastic Pant Hanger, Plastic Baby Hanger, Hanger for Children, Wooden Clothes Hanger, Heavy Black Hanger, Natural Hanger, Walnut Suit Hanger, Brass Clothes Hanger, Anti-Theft Hanger, Infant Hanger, Clothes Hanger, Kid Clothes Hanger, Garment Hanger, Pants Hanger, Infant Plastic Hanger, Wooden Pants Hanger.”>

Unfortunately I found no H1 tags on the home page, category pages, or product pages. Only on the Blogger blog did I find H1s, and that was just for the name of the blog.

URLs

The site uses search engine friendly URLs for the most part, but this is done inconsistently. For example, the left navigation-bar-links point to search engine friendly URLs and yet image links (to some of the same categories in the main body) point to search engine unfriendly versions. Thus, the “Plastic Hangers” text link in the left navigation points to http://www.onlyhangers.com/Cat-72-1-8/Plastic_Hangers.htm whereas the “Plastic Hangers” image link in the main body of the home page points to http://www.onlyhangers.com/Content/72.htm?categoryid=8&ppid=31&categoryname=Plastic%20Hangers. The search engine friendly URLs use underscores between keywords, but Google can’t see those as separate words; hyphens should have been used instead. The site also has canonicalization issues. Specifically, the OnlyHangers.com URL without the www in front loads a duplicate site instead of doing a 301 redirect to the www version. The entire site is then crawlable at the non-www URL because all the links are relative instead of absolute. Thankfully the search engines were able to figure this out and not index the duplicate site.

Content

There’s only a small amount of content on the category pages, but it’s enough to establish a keyword theme. The product pages contain more copy. The category copy isn’t very compelling or valuable to humans, but it certainly has (an artificially large number of) keywords. The blog posts within the Blogger blog read as too keyword-heavy as well. Having the only links within a blog post’s copy be “wood hangers” and “coat hangers” are a pretty obvious signal that the blog is there for SEO purposes. The same could be said of the articles authored by Maier and his team that were submitted to ArticlesBase.com, EzineArticles.com and the like. The title tags are pretty solid: usually very concise and focused (e.g. “Wooden Hangers”).

Links

The site has weak link authority, propped up primarily by article submissions. The home page PageRank is a 3 out of 10, a representative category page is 2 out of 10. The domain itself is pretty good. Having the keyword in the domain does help with rankings, both directly and indirectly (indirectly by increasing the likelihood that anchor text of inbound links will contain the target keyword “hangers” as a separate word). The domain is somewhat aged (at three years, registered in 2006), which is good. And the domain has been pre-paid for an extra several years (expiration is 2013), which is also good. Both are minor signals, but every little bit helps.

I’m not a big fan of using article directories like ArticlesBase.com and Free-articles-zone.com as a link building strategy. I certainly wouldn’t rely on it as the main driver of link authority. These aren’t very valuable links. It would be better to become a regular contributor to trusted, authoritative group blogs on organization and decluttering. For example, I’m a contributor to the group blog Business Blog Consulting. Alternatively, or in addition, launch your own blog on Organizing Your Closet and identify as link building targets those sites linking to other organizing/decluttering blogs (such as It’s Not About Your Stuff), organizing consultants (like the ones listed here), businesses like California Closets, and the National Association of Professional Organizers.

My recommendation would be to get creative and use link bait and social media marketing to boost PageRank. For example, an MC Hammer “U Can’t Touch This” spoof music video could be created and named “It’s Hanger Time!” Parodies are allowed under copyright law. It doesn’t have to be a music video; it could simply be “performance art,” performed, for example, using a “flash mob” like the hilarious viral video A&E did to market its new “Hammertime” reality show. Another idea would be to run a contest of the Best Closet Makeover, where folks would submit before and after photos of their closets and the entries would all be posted to an online gallery on the Only Hangers site for public viewing. There are certainly plenty other big ideas to be dreamed up. You could try your hand at this link bait idea and execution internally or use an outside consultancy (we at Netconcepts do this kind of thing all the time for clients but there are numerous other SEO/social media firms that offer this service too).

SEO Report Card
OnlyHangers.com

Home Page Content B-
Inbound Links and PageRank D
Indexation B
Internal Hierarchical Linking Structure B
HTML Templates and CSS D
Secondary Page Content C-
Keyword Choices A
Title Tags B
URLs B-
OVERALL GPA C+

Request an “SEO Report Card” by emailing seo.report@practicalecommerce.com.

Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer

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  1. Bob McClain July 24, 2009 Reply

    On the hangers page shown, I have to give them a D for the keyword choices and the same for the desription. Google and most other search engines only pay attention to the first four keywords. Anything more than that is just "keyword stuffing" and is ignored.

    My guess is no one did a keyword analysis to find out what keywords offered the best KEI or keyword effectiveness index. Each page of a website must be optimized to promote one to four keyword phrases.

    As far as the desription goes, just repeating the keywords tells visitors and search engines nothing of value and, again, looks to the search engines like "keyword stuffing." Not something you want a reputation for.

  2. Susan Eastin July 25, 2009 Reply

    This review was very informative. It helped point out a lot of deficiencies in my own website that I had no idea existed. Thank you!

    One of the similiarities between my website and onlyhangers.com is the fact that I sell one type of product, too. I sell paperweights. My search terms are even more repetative because some people separate the word paperweights into two words. As a result, my keyword terms include both versions (talk about keyword stuffing).

  3. Tag44 July 26, 2009 Reply

    Thanks Stephan for the site reviews & for sharing such a wonderful information on this blog. Done a Good Job.