There’s a lot of conflicting information about what to do and what not to do
You know them, you love them, you use them every day. Search engines: Google, Yahoo, Ask, Bing, or if you’re in China, Baidu. Search engines are the address books of the world wide web. But how do we get our web site to appear in search engine results? The competition is fierce. So how do we get our web site to stand out in the crowd?
It’s pretty easy to get frustrated at how long it actually takes to achieve a decent ranking. This can lead to making the wrong marketing decisions. When you’re starting off in SEO there’s a lot of conflicting information about what to do and what not to do. There’s a constant struggle between White Hat and Black Hat and which is more effective. After all, everyone wants results…and fast. But how do we go about it without shooting ourselves in the foot?
Here are some rules to follow if you DO NOT want your site to rank in search engines
1. Build a flash only web site
Search engine bots can not read flash. That’s because with flash, the content is embedded into the flash code. So avoid a flash site at all cost.
2. Embed all your valuable content in images.
Images are important for traffic from Google’s image search, but never embed all your valuable content in images. For example, banners usually have a great deal of text illustrated on which web site visitors rely. It is okay to have banners with text for web site visitors to easily and quickly reference your message, but try to re-iterate the content in a text paragraph after the image. This gives search engines valuable content on which to munch.
3. Use excessive scripts
4. Copy someone else’s content
High quality, original content is the key to successful search engine rankings. Do not copy other people’s content. It seems tempting at times, but in the long run, your web site will do much better and have a great deal more traffic if you populate your site with original content. In fact, search engines actually penalize a site for using duplicate content.
5. Stuff your content with keywords
Keyword stuffing is another form of spam. And if you think you won’t get caught …think again. Search engines have very complex algorithms. Keep your keywords to a “natural” amount and do not, ever, overstuff your content with your keywords. And never-ever- repeat keywords twice in a row.
6. Use automatic directory submission software
Again, this can be interpreted as a form of spam. If you want to submit your web site to directories, do it manually. Submit to well established directories only and write original and unique titles, descriptions, and keywords in your meta tags.
7. Participate in link exchange programs
Link farms are a big no-no in the world of search engine optimization. The best way to gain valuable links is (excuse me if I sound like a broken record) high-quality, original content.
8. Use the same page title and description across your entire site
Many webmasters’ think this is the best way to build a theme. But actually it can damage your search engine rankings. If you are working to build a theme, you can use similar words in the page titles and descriptions, but always be original and never duplicate your meta tags.
9. Spend time promoting the wrong keywords
Often when companies hire an SEO they’ll tell them they want to rank number one in Google for a ‘short-tail’, high competition keyword phrase. For instance a web hosting firm might want to rank for the term ‘web hosting’. I’m afraid it doesn’t really work like that. It takes a while for any site to get off the ground and this is why it is important to focus on ‘long-tail’ keyword phrases. This is achieved by adding modifiers to the original phrase like ‘green web hosting’ or ‘green hosting.’
10. Do not use URL’s that are not human friendly
Many blogging software platforms or content management systems create URL’s that have question marks or numbers in the URL. Be sure to check with your software’s documentation because many times, your software will have the option to enable search engine friendly URL’s. For example,
SEF URL: https://mydomain.com/web-design-and-development/cms/wordpress-websites/
Non SEF URL: https://mydomain.com/?page_id=330
Marketing and search engine optimization never ends
Let’s face it. If your web site shows up on page 122 of Google SERP’s, you might as well hang out the “Gone Fishing’” sign because, think about it, when was the last time you drilled down to page 122 of SERP’s? Never. Your objective is to use keywords that appeal to both bots and eyeballs – the people who actually visit your web site.
Don’t forget web design is for humans
It’s important to remember that bots never bought a thing. People do. So, your web site has to be optimized for search engines below the presentation layer (sometimes called the site skin) and the HTML code on the other side of the site skin – the part of your site that bots actually crawl. In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll provide more information on search engine optimization to improve your web site ranking on SERP’s. For the moment, keep these few things about keywords, search engines, search engine bots and search engine algorithms in mind.
Oh, and don’t forget. Recycle!