December 22, 2008
Are you fed up waiting for your website to reach the top of Google? Or are you getting far less visitors than you would like from Google? If this sounds like you, read on and find out whether you are committing any of these search engine sins!
Sin 1 – Keyword Ignorance
One of the most common mistakes that people make when building a website is to completely disregard keyword research. The result of this is that you could end up building a website around keywords that nobody actually searches on or you could build a site using the most competitive keywords on the internet and have to wait forever to see any results.
At a minimum you should pay a quick visit to the free Google Adwords Keyword tool and type in a few keyword ideas. Take a look at the results and be sure that the keywords you pick have a good number of searches per month. Also type your keywords into Google and make sure that you feel confident about beating the competition and getting your site on to the first page of results.
Sin 2 – Keyword Spamming & Hidden Text
Mentioning your keywords hundreds of times throughout your web page or making big lists of keywords with a font color that is the same as the background color is not going to help your search engine rank. Neither is adding keywords that have nothing to do with the content of your page.
Remember that you are writing primarily for your visitors, not the search engines. You do want to mention your keywords in specific places such as the TITLE tag, H1 tag, alt text and throughout your copy, but don’t overdo it. If it doesn’t sound right when you read it back, you have probably gone too far.
Sin 3 – Only Optimizing the Home Page
Many people will spend all their time concentrating on optimizing the home page. The home page is often the most important page on your website with the most visitors, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of your website.
Choose different keywords for each page on your website and for each blog post you make. This will allow you to “multiply” your search engine traffic. Even if you choose less popular, less competitive keywords this can have a dramatic impact on your traffic if you have lots of optimized pages on your site.
Sin 4 – Not knowing your Competition
Before you go ahead and optimize a page on your website for a particular keyword phrase you should take a look at the websites that you are competing with.
Enter your keywords into Google without the quotes and take a look at the web pages on the first two pages of results. Most people don’t go past page 2 of the results when they are searching, so you need to be able to compete with the sites on the first two pages.
Are these sites big multinational companies? Do they have high page ranks or thousands of backlinks? If so, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t compete with them, but you should at least have an understanding of where your site is in comparison to these sites and make an educated guess about whether or not you can compete with them.
Sin 5 – Bad Linking
It pays to be careful about who you link to. Linking to “bad neighborhoods” i.e. sites that have been penalized by the search engines could have a detrimental effect on your own ranking. Similarly, selling text links on your website is also looked upon as bad by Google.
You should also be careful about how many links you have on a single page. The Google webmaster guidelines state that you shouldn’t have more than 100 links on a single web page.
Sin 6 – Poor Navigation
Sin 7 – Forgetting about Off Site Optimization
Finally, one of the things that you cannot afford to forget about is off site optimization. This means getting lots of backlinks from related, good quality websites and using your keywords and variations of your keywords in the anchor text. Building backlinks is the best way to increase your position in the search engine ranks and you should aim to grow your backlinks steadily over time.
Register for Suzanne Morrison’s Free SEO Course to get more valuable tips on improving your search engine rank.