Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

A Cautionary Tale: Don’t Oversimplify Your Website

Rivergate Marketing - The dangers of over-symplifying your website

Avoid the trendiness of simplification to save your website’s SEO!

We have seen clients and other businesses recently go through website refreshes, which is not a bad thing. Keeping your website fresh, well-organized, user friendly, and modern is a good practice. However, current trends for website design and flow are not conducive to the engineering world. Simplifying a website might give a nice aesthetic, but it can be poison to your search engine optimization (SEO).

There are a lot of articles and books out right now by different authorities on the topic advising you to simplify your message and website; that less is more. No doubt, that is probably great advice for many industries, but we have seen firsthand how following this advice can be detrimental to your digital marketing efforts. Especially for this particular industry, given the audience you are trying to attract and the type of keywords you want to rank for, you need in-depth content to stay on your new website.

Why Should I be Concerned with SEO?

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, SEO is important!

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about how websites come up in searches. A search engine reads the words on your page and decides how valuable those words are to decide when it’s appropriate to serve that website up for a certain query. People want their websites to be beautiful and simple, easy to use, and not have a lot of cluttery words around. But it is the words that are getting you to show up in online searches.

The B2B Buyer Journey and SEO

When it comes to B2B selling within an engineering space, in the space that our system integrator clients play in, we are typically talking about large and expensive projects. We are looking at a long sales cycle involving multiple stakeholders. In the complex sales our clients are involved in, you need content to be able to guide a potential new customer through that buyer’s journey in multiple phases of it. Potential clients are not going to just come to your website once and decide to reach out to you. They first need to find and identify you.

The way they’re going to identify you as a potential solution provider is by either hearing about your company from word-of-mouth or they’re doing research online. If you’re able to come up in a Google search, they’re going to find your website. And they most likely won’t contact you immediately, rather they will return to your website multiple times before reaching out. But before your website can even convince them that you’re the right solution provider, you have to be found. You can’t be found online without good SEO.

Reports Based on Data Don’t Lie: The Dangers of Over-Simplifying

It is not a good idea to simplify your website and strip away keyword-rich, relevant content that you have built out over the past years.

We have proof of this: we have reports based on search data that backs our findings up. In a recent example with a prospective new client, before we started working with them, we pulled an SEO evaluation report from Moz on their website. Moz is an SEO tool that gives us a baseline for where a potential new client is at when they’re starting their marketing journey with us. When we pulled that first report, the data showed they were at 365 keywords ranking on the first five pages of Google. Their page authority was at 32, their domain authority was at 25, and they had 47 keywords ranking on the first page of Google. This was a tremendous starting point!

We went into our conversation with them saying they have a good base for us to continue their journey of building their digital footprint and gaining traction online. Lo and behold, they became our client. We were preparing a presentation for our first onboarding meeting and we wanted to show them their SEO status. We again pulled a report for this client, and this was about three months after we had pulled the original report. The client had gone from 365 keywords to 73 keywords ranking on the first five pages of Google. That set off a huge alarm for us.

The client had just launched a new website between the time that we began our talks with them and the time that we met with the client for our onboarding. They had been advised –again along the lines of what a lot of authorities are saying out there– simplify your message. They were told to strip away some of that content. That they had way too much for their website. So, they followed that advice. Unfortunately, their website is now not turning up in Google searches on important keywords that they want to be found on.

Repairing Damaged SEO

We are now working with that client to build back some of the valuable content that had been stripped away and to update the new website with all of those key terms that they had lost. After working with them for four months, they are now at 107 keywords ranking on the first five pages of Google with 23 of those keywords on page one. It’s a far cry from the original 365 keywords they had when we first engaged with them, but they are making progress to reclaim lost ground.


Heed this warning: please don’t simplify your message. If you’re an engineering company, you need to have good in-depth, keyword-rich technical content to educate the clients that you want to attract. They don’t want an over simplified message with fluff, they want to be educated, and to be able to be educated, you need to have that in-depth content.

If you’re looking for consultation on how to improve your website and SEO, reach out to us! We have extensive experience working with engineering firms and guiding them to build and improve their SEO.

Share this article!