Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Top 5 SEO No-No's

Posted by Rob Fleming on 17 July 09

As a SEO professional the majority of my time is spent correcting the SEO errors and mistakes made by my customers. The art of effective SEO optimization is convoluted with many variables, and although you can Google SEO optimization and find literally thousands of results on the subject with tips, tricks, and strategies; until you remove all unfriendly SEO code your site is doomed in gaining prominent placement on the SERPs.

1. Avoid the use of flash, DHTML, and internal java script. These coding practices offer slick visual enhancements, but are some of the biggest SEO killers. Search engine spiders see flash objects as big chunks of empty web space because there isn’t an effective SEO method to tag them to be crawled by the spiders. If you are using flash for photo slideshows then convert them into pop-up pages and reinforce them with keyword rich content and anchor text.

DHTML and link roll over effects bloat the html coding of your website and remove the important “alt” and image “title” tags which help to further weaken your SEO ranking potential. The best menu linking method is “text” based links with keyword rich anchor text. The same goes for internal java scripting this coding just pushes your relevant content down further into your code and slows the search engine spiders crawling your site. Convert your internal scripts into external .js applets and drop them in a folder in your site.

2. Non-unique, duplicate, or non-relevant content. Your websites content should be fresh and always match and relate to your sites niche. If you are selling party supplies then it would be a bad idea to have pages or content about bowling balls. Duplicate or redundant content is a big no-no as well; part of the Google PR algorithm is based on fresh relevant content.

3. Keyword stuffing and hidden text. Google and the other major search engines view these practices as spamming and can get your sites sandboxed (dropped so low on the SERPs that no one will ever find it!) or banned altogether. Keep your keyword density to no more than 5%, and never use hidden text.

4. Poor Meta data. Your Meta data is the information that tells the search engine spiders what each page of your site is about and how it relates to your content. Research your keywords and phrases and always a unique keyword rich tile for each page, avoiding stop words like “and, or, the, if, it, were”. Keep you title to 57 characters or less. Your description tag should be short and no longer than a sentence or two. Your keyword tag should always have your primary keyword first, and that keyword should also be in the first sentence on your page content. Don’t bloat this tag with dozens of keywords; this will only hurt your ranking potential. Use no more than 10-12 per page and build landing or gateway pages to promote additional keywords.

5. Always use “alt”, link, and header (H1, H2, Etc) tags. Each image and hyperlink on your site is meaning less to the search engine spiders if it isn’t tagged with relevant keyword descriptive phrases. When tagging your menu links never use tags like “click here” etc. always be descriptive. Your content needs to be user-friendly first then SEO friendly. Avoid long paragraphs. Use bullets and numbering to summarize and break up long text. This will make your key points stand out to your web visitors and to the search engine spiders as well. Always use header tags to highlight important information. A trick I always us is I start of using the H2 tag at the top of my pages and use the H1 tag further down. It seems that almost every SEO tech starts off with the H1 tag and this has caused the major search engines to give less weight to the H1 tag as a result. This doesn’t mean it is useless, but when used second or third I have noticed better results.

There are so many important strategies in achieving top ranking on Google and the other search engines, but by getting back to basics and making your site SEO and user friendly, you will have a clean web pallet to work with and build upon.

Keep your site filled with fresh relevant content, avoid “Black Hat” and deceptive practices and keep your pages easy to navigate and informative and you site will gain higher SERPs long before those who disregard or do not follow SEO best practices!


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