5 Common SEO Mistakes

Kevin Dean – Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Search Engine Optimization is a tricky game with an infinite number of variables to consider for the best results from your website. Ignoring search engine guidelines for crawling and ranking is a recipe for disaster. When it comes to proper procedure for effective SEO, knowing what to do is as important as knowing what not to do. 

Here is a list of five common SEO mistakes so you know what to avoid: 

1. Underestimating Titles 

Titles are hugely important for effective search engine optimization. They are the first thing search engine spiders see when they visit your site and are the first indication as to what your page content is. When spiders scan your page to assign rankings, they view your title as the topic of your page and their assessment is based on how well your content relates to it. When writing titles for your web pages, remember to start with your most important keyword; the farther to the left your term appears, the more weight it will be given by the search engine’s spider. 

2. Using JavaScript 

As far as search engine spiders go, JavaScript is worthless. Spiders can’t read JavaScript, so instead of gathering information to assess and index your page, they simply skip over it. It’s okay to use JavaScript for navigation — just remember there’s a language barrier and design your web pages accordingly. While we’re on the translation tip, it should be noted that spiders can’t read Flash sites either. If you use Flash, be sure to have an HTML version as well so all your keyword research doesn’t get wasted.

3. Duplicating Material 

According to Google, duplicate content is defined as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” Making sure that your website’s content is unique and relevant is key in raising your search engine ranking. Bringing in copied or plagiarized material is not only un-ethical; it significantly decreases your chances of moving to the top of search results. 

4. Keyword Abuse 

We all know that keywords and key phrases are essential in communicating your page’s content and focus to search engines. In most cases, hours are spent researching and developing the exact, perfect words and phrases to use to describe and identify your page. A common misconception is that the more you use your keywords, the higher your page will rank in search engines. In reality, overuse of keywords is the quickest way to get penalized. Spiders are smart; they can see when you’ve thrown in blocks of “pink stuffed rabbit slippers, pink stuffed rabbit slippers, pink stuffed rabbit slippers”, even if you think you’ve hidden it behind images or in a font color that doesn’t show up on your page. Simply put, overloading your page with keywords doesn’t work. Don’t do it. 

5. Lack of Patience 

Perhaps the most common mistake people make with SEO is being impatient. For some reason, folks expect that you should be able to wave some magic SEO wand and create the perfect content and design for skyrocketing to the top of search engine results and driving the masses to your website. Sure, it would be nice if there were an enchanted “optimize” button that could take care of everything for you, but there’s not. SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant editing and updating to stay current and relevant. So, if you want to create the best possible site and get everything out of it that you want, be ready to dig in your heels and stay vigilant for the long haul.

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