SEO 101 Common Mistakes by KunAgatossi

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									SEO 101 Common Mistakes
For all the "SEO isn't rocket science" crap you get from certain quarters it's funny to see that
companies from huge concerns down to one-man bands continue to commit the same errors
they were making 10 years ago. If you're an SEO, you could easily add to this list yourself
(and I'll have to thank the whole SEO team for chipping in about 63 ideas to bring this list to
a nice round number!) If you're a web designer who thinks that "good CSS = SEO", a writer
who thinks that "good content = SEO" or a developer who just thinks "SEO = bullshit" then
here are a few pitfalls to bear in mind if you're considering using SEO as a way to bring your
products to market.

     General Strategy

    SEO isn't just a discipline that exists outside the goals of your business. It should
complement and be informed by wider business smarts.

     Treating onsite SEO as a 'one-off' project without a plan to regularly review the site -
especially if your site has a high product or content rollover, or has big seasonal changes to
push new messages and offers

     Changing horses mid-stream - revisiting keyword lists month by month in response to
internal politics

     Not consulting existing Analytics data to identify best performing keywords

     Targeting all markets simultaneously

     Forgetting about Bing and Yahoo, where rankings and traffic can be easier to find in the
short term

      Failing to understand (or convey to a client) that an SEO campaign is a long term
strategy and results will not necessarily be evident in the first weeks or even months in
competitive markets

    Failing to utilize universal search options for increased SERPS visibility eg images,
news, blog search, product feeds etc

    Failing to work out initially if you can get a ROI from a sector you are targeting (profit
margins, keyword volume etc)

     Putting SEO in a silo outside core business objectives

      Failing to include SEO input during the building of an online business plan and creating
a site development spec.

     Market Research

     Concentrating on trying to concentrate on acquiring the 'same' links as your competition
     Looking solely at offline competitors

     Not tracking industry news and events for new, fresh content ideas

     Identifying 'competitors' purely based on results for broad, vanity keywords

     Not using tools like Google Insight or paying for data from the likes Hitwise to identify
seasonal trends

    Not using the valuable data available from a concurrent PPC campaign to monitor
converting keywords

     Being unprepared to deal with social media

     Failing to deal with negative feedback and reviews online

     Failure to do your own market research through reviewing interaction with your site
through Analytics, click tracking, customer surveys etc

    Failing to have any form of conversion tracking software on the site to see what
keywords are the ones that you have to go after

     Keywords

     Focussing on a small number of high volume 'vanity' terms rather than a deeper and
better-converting long tail

     Allowing keyword choices on the basis of "the MD checks this every day"

     Chasing unrealistic keywords for your budget

     Choosing keywords from internal industry-speak rather than consumer-led terms with
actual traffic

       Deploying brand / company name as part of a tedious "Company.co.uk - About" page
title formula

     Setting too many keywords to dilute linkbuilding and content efforts

     Believing the numbers for likely traffic

    Using the "other users found this page by.." method of including misspellings and
synonyms

      Forgetting that 25% of all searches have never been seen before and that search queries
are typically much longer than single words

      Not reviewing keyword choices to understand where your site is failing to convert
visitors and why
      Content

      Copying content from other sites - potentially tripping penalties

      Stuffing content with unnatural frequencies of keywords

    Keyword "wishlists" in page titles ("UK SEO - SEO in the UK - UK SEO Agency from
a UK SEO" etc)

     Duplicated meta descriptions, which encourage Google to create their own snippets
which can be nonsensical and harm clickthrough rates

      Deploying content in images and Flash files

    Creating content that has no value to human readers and fails to back up your market
messages

    Syndicating content to higher authority sites which are likely to be indexed before your
own site and thus become canonical

     Placing a large block of keyword-stuffed "seo content" a mouse scroll below the footer
on the home page

     Outsourcing content writing to the cheapest provider that you can find… you get what
you pay for

     Putting text within images rather than using background images under HTML text
content

      Links

      Building links from a narrow range of IP addresses

      Demanding link volume rather than looking at quality

      Using more than one company to build links without co-ordination between their goals

     Buying blogroll links from sites with dozens of unrelated, anchor text links to companies
in completely different markets

     Using toolbar PageRank to determine the value of a link in isolation, without
considering the content of the page, quality of the domain etc

      Not re-checking link equity from established links to make sure good links haven't gone
bad

     Relying on a small number of sources for links that could be
nofollowed/deleted/removed by policy at any time

      Over building links on a small set of anchor text
     Not creating links to sites and pages that already link to you naturally

    Believing that linking to the search engines or an SEO company will deliver you any
benefit

     Watch your URLs

     Not redirecting URLs to a canonical domain - leading to huge duplicate content issues

     Leaving the non-www version and the www live simultaneously

     Not sending correct 404 HTTP responses for broken pages

     Using long strings of variables in URLs rather than short, static URLs with a proper file
extension

     Not using the correct 301 response for old content that has moved to a new URL

    Using links for territories and currencies that create duplicates of your content in all but
minor ways

     Using 'unfriendly' characters in URLs, such as underscores instead of hypens

     Allowing the indexing of URLS with session id variables

     Not using keywords within URL structures over numbers and internal shorthand

     Having a directory structure that includes terms like 'seo'

     Channelling your Equity

     Deploying sitewide links to low-value pages such as "categories" with 1 product in them

     Linking every page to every other through an over-prescriptive menu and diluting equity
spread to non-critical content

     Leaking equity to external sites by not deploying the rel=nofollow attribute

      Using 'click here' and 'read more' as default choices for internal links, rather than more
descriptive phrases containing keywords where appropriate

     Not using the homepage to channel power to the most important market sectors you're
targeting

    Not using other properties you own (parent company websites, partners etc) to direct
keyword equity to your target site

     Using internal nofollows to try to sculpt PageRank
   Failing to protect your site from exploits - everything from basic keyword spam in blog
comments to sophisticated hacks

     Using XML sitemaps to mask poor internal link structure

     Not understanding the importance of 'first link first'

     Code

     Deploying lots of inline Javascript and CSS and increasing the site's download time

     Keeping CSS and Javascript files on the same domain, reducing threading and
increasing load times

     Leaving dozens or hundreds of 'keywords' in the meta keyword

     Having page titles that deploy "keyword wish lists"

     Using navigation that can only be accessed through Javascript

     Not considering the use of AJAX to bring in content and links to keep load times low
and control equity spread without compromising user experience

     Serving unoptimised images with large file sizes

     Failing to label images with relevant alt attributes containing keywords as appropriate

     Serving different pages to spiders and human visitors through cloaking without an
obviously justifiable reason such as personalisation

     Denying access to spiders through Robots.txt

     Relationships

     Not keeping the SEO company in the loop with changes to the company's wider strategy

     Allowing web developers to build/change things on the site willy-nilly without
informing and consulting with SEO

     Changing contact points frequently so that messages and learning get lost

     Not introducing SEO agencies to other parties like offline marketing companies, PR
agencies etc. This misses massive opportunities for content synergy and pooling of ideas.

     Not responding to requests for information and content

     Not ensuring that SEO recommendations are implemented as fully as possible

     Blaming SEO partners for falling traffic without first seeing if there are wider market
reasons such as seasonality that could be playing a part
     Enacting SEO recommendations from other third parties without consulting with an
existing SEO partner

     Being unwilling to gain a small understanding of HTML / CSS

     Not paying your SEO company!

     The First Rule of SEO Club is…. "Don't Talk About SEO Club"

     Leaving "clues" in source code like

      Using obvious file names and document structure.
http://www.yoursite.com/styles/seo.css is going to attraction attention and all that "text-
indent:-100em" stuff is going to highlight your hidden content pretty much off the bat.

     Having dozens of obvious keyword landing pages linked from sitewides

    Advertising the fact that you belong to a link exchange program by carrying banners that
promote such schemes

    Asking for advice about SEO issues on public forums without consulting your SEO
company first

     Leaving link requests in blog comments

      Creating easily identifiable networks with common IP addresses, templates and outlink
profiles that have an obvious relationship with your target site

     Making sloppy link requests to bloggers who are likely to out you (hint: read their back
catalogue!)

     Using automated tools to check rankings on too big a scale

     Using the same link sources for different target sites again and again

     And finally….

     Don't believe everything you read on SEO blogs

								
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