Top 5 SEO Mistakes:

by Peter Sickles

If effective SEO is a concern of yours (and it should be!) there are many things to avoid when building a website, many of which will have a very serious impact on whether someone can ever find your site using a search engine. Some of these are simple fixes, and some not so simple.

Boy… where do I start! There are so many… hmmmm… Here goes, and be advised that these are not in definitive order.

1. Not having sufficient on-page content. This is amazingly common. The causes could be a variety of things. Pages built in Flash, text buried in graphics or design that doesn’t allow for the use of many words. But, the effect is the same. Google needs to find the words on the page in order to assign relevance to your website when compiling the search results. While lack of content can potentially be offset through other means, for the most part, you have to show Google and your customers what you are all about. And that means words.

2. Not developing a website with SEO in mind. Jeez, I wish I had a buck for every website owner that came to me for SEO services for their brand new, swanky website after it had already been built with a host of problems. Potential problems are many and varied, from having insufficient text (as in the above), excessive and clunky coding which hampers indexing, excessive javascript, or poorly designed pages with high bounce rates, etc. I even saw a site once that was built in such a way that you couldn’t implement H Tags! The truth is, many programmers/developers just don’t know the requirements of the search engines.

 

3. Inappropriate use of keywords. Keyword selection is really where you separate the wheat from the chaff. It is crucial more now than ever before that you select the keywords that accurately describe you and have the potential to lead to a high conversion rate. Essentially this is because of two overall factors: 1. the SEO landscape is starting to get pretty crowded out there. Unless you have a super powerful website, it is very difficult to compete for a wide range of keywords. You are better off focusing your energy on those that will give you the best shot at highly targeted traffic. 2. Google is now looking at how effective your site is at retaining search traffic. If you start attracting unfocused visitors who immediately bounce away, Google will start to drop you down the SERPs. Google likes happy searchers… ;-)

4. Not devoting enough (or any) attention to linking. As has been the case for a long time now, Google looks at how interconnected you are with a community of similar websites. It uses this to gauge how “legitimate” and valuable your site is… figuring that if many similar websites are linking with you, you must be good. Though this has been the case for a long time, it is shocking how many websites devote little attention to this. And, given Google’s recent changes, this is even more important than ever.

5. Lastly, only doing part of the job. Google looks at a huge array of factors when positioning a website in its SERPs. Optimization means looking at as many of these factors as possible, and making the changes required. I’ve seen countless “SEOed” sites that only went part of the way. Good content, but no links… good Page Titles, but no supporting content… matching Titles and content, but crappy keyword selection… and the list goes on. These days, if you only do half a job you may as well kiss your investment goodbye.

So… like I said, these SEO mistakes aren’t in any particular order, but addressing them is crucial to success. Oh yeah… and one more thing: do yourself a favour and consult an expert