Day after day we see sites that are presented to us to work on, market online or fix that have some very basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) mistakes. Some really, make me laugh and then cry when I think about how much money a client paid from another website development agency or freelance web designer. It never seems to amaze me though….

I made a quick list that many of you can work from in no particular order. (its early in the morning..)

Title Tag The title tag is overlooked: many people leave the title tag blank, but it is a great place to put a keyword.  It is also a very important area to have a keyword in because it will optimize your site more and the text in the tag will show up as the page’s title in the SERPS.

Packed Title Tag Try to limit yourself to 60-65 characters including spaces for the title tag. This will also help to train and force you to optimize each page for 1-3 specific words or phrases.

Targeting Keywords The wrong keywords are targeted: people with little experience and people who have a lot of experience can make this type of mistake.  What they do is choose keywords that describe their site, but they aren’t the keywords that people are searching for.  The right keywords can uplift your rankings and traffic, but the wrong ones can be your downfall.

JavaScript Using it for navigation isn’t the worst thing, but you need to be aware that search engines don’t read it.  If you need to have the JavaScript menus, you should develop a sitemap so the links can be crawled and place that JavaScript in an external file and call it in to the site. Don’t place it inline in the code- all you’re doing is creating bloat for the spiders to crawl around.

Headings Just images are used for headings: images can make a site look great, but you should never use them for headings.  H1, H2 and other heading tags need to be used for SEO.

FLASH You have a flash site and no html option: you always need to have the html option because search engine spiders can’t read Flash and it won’t be indexed. Wait, I take that back. Google is learning to read Flash sites and pages more, but is still not perfect. Create an alternative HTML site as well for people like me that may do business with you but won’t wait for the “Flash Install” bar to load.

Specific URL’s URLs are overlooked: if you put keywords in the URL or domain name, it will give you more of a lead on your competitors.  Many of the top search engines like to see keywords in the URLs; it helps to establish the relevancy of the site and the specific pages.

Meta Tags “Ummm, don’t you guys just place Meta Tags on the site so Google will rank me to number 1? Umm No sir, it’s not just all about Meta Tags. Sorry your nephew in college who didn’t finish your FrontPage website told you this.” Meta tags are focused on too much: you should spend time putting in the meta keywords and descriptions, but don’t let it take up that much time.

Make Regular Appearances Maintenance and consistency are needed: some people think that optimizing a site is a one time deal.  Optimization is a continuing process and should be done regularly over time. Do updates frequently and benchmark your rankings to see if your efforts are paying off.

Bland Content There aren’t enough keywords in the content: it is necessary to have a good balance of keywords in the content.  Do some research using Google AdWords keyword suggestion tools and other keyword research discovery tools. Place keywords in your content when it makes sense to do so, and it seems natural.  You might want to put the keywords in bold or highlight them so the spiders will find them faster.

Who Links to You? There is backlink spamming: don’t just get any old backlink.  If you are going to have them, they need to be quality backlinks. The more quality links back to your website from other relevant sites is a plus. Forget the link exchanges unless they are Government or University’s.

Yes, we can help you out too. Contact us online or call 248-582-9210 to schedule a consultation on search engine optimization and your website project.

5 Responses to Common SEO Mistakes

  1. Common SEO Mistakes

  2. Exactly. Attention should be focused on the items listed below. And when these things are left out in the cold, then you can see your site at the bottom of the heap. But the list is the be-all end all list, for sure there are other things too that should be avoided, perhaps a follow-up post on the topic?

    Chaunna Brooke | February 2, 2009at 5:00 am

  3. Chaunna, thanks for the reply. Perhaps you could add some more in or point to where you want to know more about please?

    DZ | February 2, 2009at 9:21 am

  4. The title in anchor tags and the alt in image tags are also commonly missed.

    BK | December 9, 2009at 4:57 pm

  5. I love what you said about the content aspects of things!! It’s always good to NEVER let things go stale, and to keep things updated on a regular basis!! Thanks again for everything, I hope all is well, take care.

    Pete | December 26, 2009at 7:23 pm

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