Believing doorways don’t work or will get you banned is a mistake.
The fact is that every page on your Web site that ranks well for any reason is acting as a “doorway” to your Web site. Many people mistakenly believe that everyone will arrive at their site through the home page. Do a focused search on Google, AltaVista, or another major engine, and you’ll almost always find matches that are not home pages.
In addition, each search engine ranks pages differently. Therefore, you may have a page about Product X with 400 words on it. That page may rank well for “search engine A” that likes to see 400 words on a top ranking page, but it isn’t going to do well for “search engine B” that is looking for 800 words on a top ranking page.
Lastly, some of the same search engines that condemn the term doorway page include tutorials or FAQ’s on how to create a page to rank well in their index. True, these tutorials are often too non-specific to be of great help. However, it confirms that optimizing each of your pages to rank better is not something the engines inherently object to. Brent Winters with FirstPlace
Do not allow pages that you are in any way paying for to be on anything other than your own URL. If you do not own them then the traffic is only being rented and can be taken away very quickly. Technology is not a valid reason to have pages remotely hosted, the motivation is control. Bruce Clay with BruceClay.com
Don’t go after generic keywords. Generic words are not how the average person really queries a search engine. I have found a user will type in a generic or single word like “animals,” then realize what they asked for was too broad in scope. They have to narrow it down, like “animal pictures,” “baby animal pictures,” and the list goes on. If you can just focus on very specific key phrases, you will have more success in the long term, hold a position longer, have less competition for focused phrases, and find that users will stay on the site longer because your site answered their questions. Ginette Degner with ServiceBrokers.com
Don’t optimize for the wrong search phrases. At least optimize for phrases that you know people are using to find your site, even if they aren’t the most popular ones. Bill Gentry with The Selling Source (http://www.sellingsource.com)
Failing to “identify” and “theme-base” your most promising keyword phrase(s) is a mistake.
All keyword phrases are not the same. Perhaps the best way I can explain this is to use a hypothetical example. Let’s say that you are an attorney who practices only appellate law. As you build your Web site and establish its “theme,” how will you define the Web site’s identity?
Here are just two keyword phrase possibilities that you might consider for a lawyer who only handles appeals.
appeals lawyer appellate attorney
Both of these phrases are right on target, and you would naturally have pages optimized for both combinations. But when deciding your Web site’s theme, which one do you focus in on?
The phrase “appeals lawyer” is about 7 times more popular than “appellate attorney.” But if you failed to do your research in advance before building the site, you probably would not know that.
Use a good service like WordTracker (http://www.wordtracker.com) or the Overture’s Suggestion Tool (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggesti on/) to find out what will produce the most traffic for you. J.K. Bowman with Spider Food (http://www.spider-food.net)
A common mistake is not using text links in addition to graphic buttons, image maps and Flash menus, therefore preventing spiders from crawling the site. Bill Gentry with The Selling Source (http://www.sellingsource.com)
Don’t submit before you establish some external links. Some engines, such as HotBot, are known to drop pages after a couple weeks if they find no other domains linking to them. Google has also stated that it will not index a site that does not have at least one external link pointing to it.
Sometimes a link from a major directory such as Open Directory, LookSmart, or Yahoo! will suffice. However, you should also try to trade links with other Web sites that are complimentary to yours, then submit the URLs of those pages that are linking to you. If you can submit the page of one of these external links and let the search engine spider find your site on its own, you’ll stand to rank much higher than if you’d submitted your site directly. The drawback is that it may take a bit longer for the spider to get around to indexing you.
If you’re in a big hurry, buy a second domain and put some unique content on it and cross-link your two sites. To give the impression of independence, it’s best if you host the two domains at separate hosting services. You might also vary the spelling of the information you submit when you purchase the domains or use a valid PO box on one and your street address for the other. This can further the illusion to an automated spider that the two sites have different owners. Brent Winters with First Place Software (http://www.webposition.com)
Robin Nobles conducts live SEO workshops
(http://www.searchengineworkshops.com) in locations across North
America. She also teaches online SEO training
(http://www.onlinewebtraining.com). Localized SEO training is now
being offered through the Search Engine Academy.
(http://www.searchengineacademy.com) Sign up for SEO tips of the
day at mailto:email@example.com.