Thursday, February 29, 2024

Top Mistakes Made When Optimizing Web Pages

A common mistake that I see in the SEO world is people tweaking their optimized pages without really giving them a chance to see what they can do. Along the same lines are those that make changes to their optimization just because rankings drop in any given month.

It sometimes take months for search engines to index newly optimized pages. Furthermore, it can take a long time for those pages to rank highly once they’re in an engine’s database. If you’ve done what you’re supposed to do, i.e., chose realistic relevant keyphrases and created great keyword-rich content with the titles and tags to match, then it’s crucial to have faith in your work and let it stand. It’s easy to get scared and think that you somehow messed up when you don’t immediately see high rankings. However, trying to keep up with algorithm changes and the like will just end up driving you crazy.

It’s normal for rankings to go up and down in any given month. Don’t worry about it! The search engines all want to see the same thing: Web sites that deliver relevant content to people’s search queries. If you are confident that your site does this, it WILL rank high, but you’ve got to give it time. Time to get indexed, and then time to “age” in the indices. Also time for other sites to find yours and link to it, and time for the engines to determine its click-through popularity. It’s actually very rare that a good SE optimizer will need to “tweak” their optimization, in my opinion.

– Jill Whalen with The Rank Write Roundtable
(http://www.rankwrite.com)

Be patient. It’s not 1996 anymore. Infoseek has shuffled off into cyberspace. Changes you make to your site may not be reflected in ratings for several months or more.

– Gary Woods with Santa Barbara Properties
(http://www.santabarbaraproperties.com/)

Research

Don’t be afraid to try new, intuitive ideas, excluding spam, of course. You never know how effective something will be until you try it.

– Rocky Rawstern

Don’t make the mistake of not staying informed. I find so much of the information about optimization on the Web to be deprecated. Some articles were written 3-4 years ago and sound like they should be applied today. Optimization and techniques change sometimes from month to month. A good newsletter subscription and forum reading can help you stay informed of the latest developments. What worked in 2000 isn’t necessarily working in 2001.

– Brett Tabke with Webmaster World
(http://www.webmasterworld.com)

Spamming

Don’t participate in link farms. A massive accumulation of links without accompanying explanatory body text and effective link text is downgraded by many search engines. More often that not, FFAs (Free For All links) are not relevant, which can actually penalize a site’s ranking.

– David Johnson and Annam Manthiram with Position Research
(http://www.positionresearch.com)

Spam: don’t do it! While it may not bite you immediately, it will eventually…

– Rocky Rawstern

Don’t use hidden text or stuff your META tags. Search engines check for contrast between text and background as well as repeated words and will penalize or exclude a site from rankings if such techniques are detected.

– David Johnson and Annam Manthiram with Position Research
(http://www.positionresearch.com)

Do not spam. There are “tricks” that can be used to insert keywords and they either will not work or they will get you punished.

– Bruce Clay with BruceClay.com
(http://www.bruceclay.com)

Submissions

Don’t forget to document everything. It is of the utmost importance to document every submission, especially the paid ones. Without that tracking number, you are stuck resubmitting and paying all over again. Make a note of the e-mail used and all other information given. Keep notes on dates you made changes and submission times.

– Ginette Degner with ServiceBrokers.com
(http://www.servicebrokers.com)

A top mistake is not following the recommended course of action for the Yahoo! directory. Don’t play games with this directory – follow the rules!

– Rocky Rawstern

Don’t “assume” your site is ready. I’ve seen so many sites that were put up in a couple of weeks where the authors thought they should be freely added into directories. It takes a long time to develop a professional, successful site.

– Brett Tabke with Webmaster World
(http://www.webmasterworld.com)

Don’t believe that bulk submitting is the path to riches.

We all want to find that perfect product or service where we enter our domain name and then press one button and the traffic magically starts to flood into our Web site. You’ve seen the advertisements, such as “Submit to 3500 Web sites for just $79.” The reality is that the majority of those sites you’re submitting to are set up for the sole purpose of collecting e mail addresses from people like you so they can send you junk mail.

Even if you do land your site in some of the real search engines (there aren’t that many), those bulk submission services generally do little to nothing to optimize your rankings. You’ll simply be buried at the bottom of the results with the millions of other Web sites.

– Brent Winters with First Place Software
(http://www.webposition.com)

Technology

Don’t use site technology that is not compatible with search engines. Many sites are being built with no concept of search engine spiders. I was just at a site yesterday with a six-figure building budget. It was mostly built out of dynamic content that can not be indexed by search engines. You can’t compete in the search engines until you get your site listed.

– Brett Tabke with Webmaster World
(http://www.webmasterworld.com)

Don’t create sites with virtually no text content, whether they are using mostly images, Flash or a combination of both. A good search engine friendly Web site can be created using text, images and various multimedia extras, like Flash and streaming video, as long as they are all carefully integrated.

– Bill Gentry with The Selling Source
(http://www.sellingsource.com)

Regarding frames, some engines say they will index framed sites, others won’t say, some do then decide they don’t (or can’t). Save the pain and don’t create a site using a frame set. Dynamic URLs containing $,?.%, &, often will not be indexed by the engines. Using too many graphics weighs download time and does nothing for the engines as they can’t crawl images yet. Excessive JavaScript code pushes content down.

– Marshall Simmonds with About.com
(http://www.about.com/)

Don’t fill your Web site with spider stumbling blocks. Unfortunately, some of the Web’s best technology can be a spider nightmare. Complex JavaScript, drop down menus, image maps, Flash, framesets, Java applets, plus dynamically generated Web pages all present significant problems to a search engine spider.

Luckily, however, all of these stumbling blocks can be overcome with a little planning. By subscribing to a publication like Planet Ocean Communications (http://www.searchenginehelp.com/acws/) or visiting some of the other major SEO tutorial Web sites on the Internet (like http://www.spider-food.net), you’ll quickly learn how to handle these obstacles with ease.

– J.K. Bowman with Spider Food
(http://www.spider-food.net)

Do not use “bleeding-edge” technology that the search engines do not understand. It often prevents pages from being indexed at all, and certainly confuses the real content. KISS is best when dealing with the search engines.

– Bruce Clay with BruceClay.com
(http://www.bruceclay.com)

Traffic and Traffic Analysis

Don’t forget to analyze your log files. Examine your logs to see where people are entering your site and make those entry portals accessible to the rest of the site and not a dead end.

– Gary Woods with Santa Barbara Properties
(http://www.santabarbaraproperties.com/)

Myth about site analysis: Hits are irrelevant.

An error or myth today revolves around the usage of the term “HITS.” This term “HITS” is often used synonymously with “VISITORS.” It is extremely important to understand that a hit is not a visitor. A hit is basically triggered as any action from the server. In other words, it might be 1 hit for a page to load. Another hit for a logo to load. Perhaps a menu cluster of 10 buttons (10 graphics) could render 10 more hits. In short, just one visitor could generate multiple hits for each page they view. When you are examining traffic overall, your #1 concern should be with your “visitor count,” sometimes identified as “user sessions.” Focus should not be on the “hit count.” Our attention should always be on actual visitors (or shall we say, potential shoppers).

– John Alexander with Beyond-SEO.com
(http://www.beyond-seo.com/)

Web Design

This is more of a pet peeve… bad coding. With the availability of html validators (some are even built in with editors), this is something that should never happen.

– Bill Gentry with The Selling Source
(http://www.sellingsource.com)

Don’t forget about the importance of good, clean navigation. Look over someone’s shoulder when they navigate your site and DON’T TELL THEM ANYTHING. You’ll be amazed at how incoherent those road maps you think are so crystal clear to YOU are TOTALLY CONFUSING to somebody new to the site.

– Gary Woods with Santa Barbara Properties
(http://www.santabarbaraproperties.com/)

Don’t forget to run a spell check on each of your Web pages. Virtually all editors have a spell checker integrated into the editor. You can also use dictionary.com. Also, get someone to proofread, since you can spell something wrong, but it can look like a real word to a spell checker (e.g. leave off the “w” in now, and you have no, which a spell checker will assume is correct even though it is not). Bad spelling can not only cost you rankings (if you spell your search phrase wrong), but it also looks very unprofessional. Don’t forget to proofread text in your graphics and Flash animations too. That’s where they show up the worst.

– Bill Gentry with The Selling Source
(http://www.sellingsource.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:seo-tip@aweber.com.

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