Top 10 Search Engine Positioning Mistakes
When it comes to search engine optimization, there are certain common
mistakes that I see people making over and over again. Here's a list of the 10 most common
mistakes that I see people making. By avoiding these mistakes, you can avoid a lot of
anguish and frustration in the long run.
By Sumantra Roy
1) Optimizing your
site for the wrong keywords
The first step in any search
engine optimization campaign is to choose the keywords for which you should optimize your
site. If you initially choose the wrong keywords, all the time and effort that you devote
in trying to get your site a high ranking will go down the drain. If you choose keywords
which no one search for, or if you choose keywords which won't bring in targeted traffic
to your site, what good will the top rankings do?
2) Putting too many
keywords in the Meta Keywords tag
I often see sites which have
hundreds of keywords listed in the Meta Keywords tag, in the hope that by listing the
keywords in the Meta Keywords tag, they will be able to get a high ranking for those
keywords. Nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to popular opinion, the Meta
Keywords tag has almost completely lost its importance as far as search engine positioning
is concerned. Hence, just by listing keywords in the Meta Keywords tag, you will never be
able to get a high ranking. To get a high ranking for those keywords, you need to put the
keywords in the actual body content of your site.
3) Repeating the same
keyword too many times
Another common mistake that
people make is to endlessly repeat their target keywords in the body of their pages and in
their Meta Keywords tags. Because so many people have used this tactic in the past (and
continue to use it), the search engines keep a sharp lookout for this, and may penalize a
site which repeats keywords in this fashion. Sure, you do need to repeat the keywords a
number of times. But, the way you place the keywords in your pages needs to make
grammatical sense. Simply repeating the keywords endlessly no longer works. Furthermore, a
particular keyword should ideally not be present more than thrice in your Meta Keywords
4) Creating lots of
similar doorway pages
Another myth prevalent among
people is that since the algorithm of each search engine is different, they need to create
different pages for different search engines. While this is great in theory, it is
counter-productive in practice. If you use this tactic, you will soon end up with hundreds
of pages, which can quickly become an administrative nightmare. Also, just imagine the
amount of time you will need to spend constantly updating the pages in response to the
changes that the search engines make to their algorithms. Furthermore, although the pages
are meant for different engines, they will actually end up being pretty similar to each
other. The search engines are often able to detect when a site has created such similar
pages, and may penalize or even ban this site from their index. Hence, instead of creating
different pages for different search engines, create one page which is optimized for one
keyword for all the search engines.
5) Using Hidden Text
Hidden text is text with the
same color as the background color of your page. For example, if the background color of
your page is white and you have added some white text to that page, that is considered as
hidden text. Many webmasters, in order to get high rankings in the search engines, try to
make their pages as keyword rich as possible. However, there is a limit to the number of
keywords you can repeat in a page without making it sound odd to your human visitors.
Thus, in order to ensure that the human visitors to a page don't perceive the text to be
odd, but that the page is still keyword rich, many webmasters add text (containing the
keywords) with the same color as the background color. This ensures that while the search
engines can see the keywords, the human visitors cannot. The search engines have long
since caught up with this technique, and ignore or penalize the pages which contain such
text. They may also penalize the entire site if even one of the pages in that site contain
such hidden text.
However, the problem with this
is that the search engines may often end up penalizing sites which did not intend to use
hidden text. For instance, suppose you have a page with a white background and a table in
that page with a black background. Further suppose that you have added some white text in
that table. This text will, in fact, be visible to your human visitors, i.e. this
shouldn't be called hidden text. However, the search engines can interpret this to be
hidden text because they may often ignore the fact that the background of the table is
black. Hence, in order to ensure that your site is not penalized because of this, you
should go through all the pages in your site and see whether you have inadvertently made
any such mistake.
6) Creating Pages
Containing Only Graphics
The search engines only
understand text - they don't understand graphics. Hence, if your site contains lots of
graphics but little text, it is unlikely to get a high ranking in the search engines. For
improving your rankings, you need to replace the graphics by keyword rich text for the
search engine spiders to feed on.
7) Not using the
NOFRAMES tag in case your site uses frames
Many search engines don't
understand frames. For sites which have used frames, these search engines only consider
what is present in the NOFRAMES tag. Yet, many webmasters make the mistake of adding
something like this to the NOFRAMES tag: "This site uses frames, but your browser
doesn't support them". For the search engines which don't understand frames, this is
all the text that they ever get to see in this site, which means that the chances of this
site getting a good ranking in these search engines are non-existent. Hence, if your site
uses frames, you need to add a lot of keyword rich text to the NOFRAMES tag.
8) Using Page Cloaking
Page cloaking is a technique
used to deliver different web pages under different circumstances. People generally use
page cloaking for two reasons: i) in order to hide the source code of their search engine
optimized pages from their competitors and ii) in order to prevent human visitors from
having to see a page which looks good to the search engines but does not necessarily look
good to humans. The problem with this is that when a site uses cloaking, it prevents the
search engines from being able to spider the same page that their users are going to see.
And if the search engines can't do this, they can no longer be confident of providing
relevant results to their users. Thus, if a search engine discovers that a site has used
cloaking, it will probably ban the site forever from their index. Hence, my advice is that
you should not even think about using cloaking in your site.
9) Using Automatic
In order to save time, many
people use an automatic submission software or service to submit their sites to the major
search engines. It is true that submitting your site manually to the search engines takes
a lot of time and that an automatic submission tool can help you save a lot of time.
However, the search engines don't like automatic submission tools and may ignore your
pages if you use them. In my opinion, the major search engines are simply too important
for you not to spend the time to submit your site manually to them. In order to speed up
the process of submitting your site, you can use our free submission tool which allows you
to submit your site manually to all the search engines, without having to go to the
"ADD URL" pages of the individual engines.
10) Submitting too
many pages per day
People often make the mistake
of submitting too many pages per day to the search engines. This often results in the
search engines simply ignoring many of the pages which have been submitted from that site.
Ideally, you should submit no more than 1 page per day to the search engines. While many
search engines accept more than 1 page per day from a particular domain, there are some
which only accept 1 page per day. Hence, by limiting yourself to a maximum of one page per
day, you ensure that you stay within the limits of all the search engines.
11) Devoting too much
time to search engine positioning
Yes - I lied. There's another
common mistake that people make when it comes to search engine optimization - they spend
too much time over it. Sure, search engine placement is the most cost effective way of
driving traffic to your site and you do need to spend some time every day learning how the
search engines work and in optimizing your site for the search engines. However, you must
remember that search engine optimization is a means to an end for you - it's not the end
in itself. The end is to increase the sales of your products and services. Hence, apart
from trying to improve your site's position in the search engines, you also need to spend
time on all the other factors which determine the success or the failure of your web site
- the quality of the products and services that you are selling, the quality of your
customer service, and so on. You may have excellent rankings in the search engines, but if
the quality of your products and services are poor, or if your customer service leaves a
lot to be desired, those high rankings aren't going to do much good.
Marketing Your Website
Many people have the mistaken notion that
all it takes is to put up a great looking website on the world wide web and the riches
follow. After months of watching no visitors or no sales, many of them will get
discouraged and shut off the website. So, what is the magic, if there is any?
How to create your web site marketing plan
Creating a web site without developing a web site marketing plan
is the same as planning for failure. A web site marketing plan
is essential not only just to survive but to continue to thrive
and expand your business. You should spend 80% of your time
marketing your web site. It's the life blood of your online
To Drive Qualified Visitors To Your Site
Ever heard the term "sticky" website? Whether or not you know what a sticky website is, you need to have one in order to keep qualified visitors not only coming to your site, but returning again and again.
Web Site Marketing:
Ten Golden Rules
Attracting visitors to your Web site is the ultimate goal of every site owner out there, millions of Web sites all fighting for the same visitors. Many Web sites fail to attract visitors, not because of the sites content or general appearance, but because the sites owners have failed to promote the Web site effectively.
Sumantra Roy is one of the
recognized search engine positioning
specialists on the Internet. For more articles on search engine placement, subscribe to
his 1st Search Ranking Newsletter by sending a blank email to mailto:1stSearchRanking.firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to http://www.1stSearchRanking.com
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