Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Death of Progressive's SEO-friendly Home Page (and What it Does Not Mean for You)

It's no secret to anyone who's taken an SEO class from me that I have admired the Progressive.com website for its SEO prowess. The (former) website was clean, simple, and followed SEO practices, especially the idea of "link sculpting." The original home page sported header tags, with links down to defined landing pages, and nifty thumbnails. They even had short sentences following subject / verb / object principles. Oh it was beautiful: an SEO work of art.


Cometh The Trainwreck



Click to see original home page layout.
Well, they've revised their home page!  Take a look at it now.  Yikes! First of all, there's TWO Flo's creepily looking out at you, like Flo suddenly has an evil twin. Gone is the SEO simplicity of simple one-click links to landing pages, around defined phrases.

Now, instead we have the graphics department run amuck.  Foo-foo graphics, and text simplicity. Whereas previously we linked down to 'Motorcycle Insurance' now we link to the phrase 'Motorcycle.' (Bye-bye keyword phrase). Not to mention that the entire element is now inside of an A HREF / anchor tag. It's code gone crazy, and SEO gone nuts now at Progressive.


Flo will soon be unhappy, no?


Not Exactly


Progressive will probably not see a dramatic decline in their Google rank. Why not?


  • Links. Unlike you or I, they have a massive amount of inbound links.  Link energy will forgive them for many errors, not the least of which this terrible, horrible, rotten no good new home page layout.
  • Competition. Most of their competitors (Geico), have also transitioned to foo-foo image-oriented home pages.  Geico used to beat the pants off of Progressive a few years back, and then Geico messed up its home page. So possibly Geico will now regain the number one spot, now that Progressive has gone off and shot itself in the foot
For you, or I, however, we usually have to play by the basic rules of SEO. Meaning: one click links from our home pages, around defined phrases.  We don't have the luxury of producing trainwreck home pages, as Progressive sadly has now done.  The rules for small sites are much more rigid than those for sites with the kind of link footprint that Geico and Progressive enjoy.

Do what I say; not what they do.