September 26, 2013

5 SEO Don'ts


#1: Using the wrong keywords 

If your website doesn't use the same words that the people searching for you do, your content will never show up for those searches or be seen by the right people.
The solution? You can use Google Insights for Search to compare potential keywords,
and the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (both free!) to assess search volume for those terms. Based on your research, you should use the more common terminology in your titles and headings.
For instance, if you're a realtor, your research would lead you to find that 60 percent of people use the search phrase "real estate" when they're trying to find you on the Web, whereas only 5 percent use the phrase "houses for sale."

#2: Blocking search engines from your site
It's possible you don't want all pages of your website to appear in search engines. Two common methods of keeping pages "hidden" are placing a robots.txt file on your site or a robots meta tag on your pages. But sometimes, these methods accidentally block your entire site from being indexed -- and that's bad news.
For instance, you might block the entire site during development and testing and forget to remove the block for launch. If none of your site's pages are being indexed or they appear in search results without a title or description, check (or have your Web developer check for you) to see if the source code contains the following robots meta tag:

If you don't see that code, open a browser address bar and type in www.site.com/robots.txt (replacing "site.com" with your domain name). Check first to see if the robots.txt file looks like this:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /
If it does, then the entire site is blocked from search engines. This file can also be used to block particular files on a site. The easiest way to ensure this file is set up properly is to log into Google Webmaster Tools and use the robots.txt checker. You can list any page (such as your home page) and test to see if it is being blocked.

#3: Considering SEO at the End of Your Project
People love the creative part of building websites. Choosing colors, designing graphics, approving layouts and making videos is fun. By comparison, keyword research and writing good content is a little tedious. It’s often handed down to someone on work experience or whoever complains the least.
Don’t fall into that trap. Identify your customers before embarking on any web project. You should understand who they are, what motivates them, and the language they use in search queries. Ideally, your website content should be researched and written before your designer launches Photoshop.

#4: Meta-Tags will Solve Content Blunders
If you’re selling Blue WidgetsTM, it’s really a good idea to mention it.
Of course, you’re absolutely free to write about your corporation’s environmental ethics, leadership interfaces, organizational diversity and accountability strategies. But will anyone looking for Blue Widgets find your site?
And, no, meta tags are not a magical answer. Search engines apply considerably more weight to readable content than invisible text.

#5: Copied copy
Do you remember instances from your school days when a student copied another student’s work? It was considered the sin of all sins. There were sharp intakes of breath when little Johnny cheats-a-lot stole Perfect-Pat-with-a-cherry-on-top’s work.
When performing SEO audits for clients’ websites it’s common to find that another website has ripped off all of their original content. Or worse still, it’s the other way round.
Crafting unique, compelling copy can seem like a tall order. But stealing it from a competitor is not only illegal: Google can push your site so far down the rankings that no-one will ever find it, and in severe cases, de-index the whole website, so just don’t do it.

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