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Website Promotion: 10 Search Engine Optimization Blunders to Avoid
By: Michael Murray, VP of Fathom SEO
If you want to develop a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, go out of your way to avoid blunders that limit search engine rankings.
Here are 10 to keep in mind:
1. Don't use frames.
Why would you want to use frames if SEO is important? Don't risk confusing the search engine spiders, which happens often with frameset sites. Sure, you can write scripts or adjust the content to work within frames, but you probably have better things to do with that time and energy.
2. Don't use Flash.
Everyone agrees--Flash looks awesome. But it also slows down the user experience and Flash makes it tough to get ranked. The Flash future looks bright for the ability of search engines to read some keywords, but what good will this serve if site pages lack visible, readable text?
3. Don't skimp on title tags.
Why would you simply call a page About Us in the title tag when this meta data occupies prime SEO real estate? Always include effective search phrases that reflect the content within title tags.
4. Don't overstuff title tags.
Limit titles to 70 characters, with commas between phrases in EVERY title tag; use fewer characters on pages with limited content.
5. Don't bury text.
Design often gets in the way of Text. Make sure your visible text is located high on the page.
6. Don't use graphics as page headers.
Graphic headers are a waste of space, and thus of time, when it comes to SEO. Use text as page headers and support them by utilizing strategic keywords - in the header, after the header or below the header.
7. Don't use the wrong words.
Website owners love one-word search terms because they seem to get lots of traffic. The reality is that only a fraction of Internet users entering a broad search word want what you have to offer. Go for search terms using two, three or four words that will help visitors qualify their interests.
8. Don't ignore link building.
Hunt down links from other websites that have content and categories that relate to what you offer. If you sell sweaters, find a specialty guide about sweaters or a portal about clothing.
9. Don't overwhelm your pages with keywords.
You might not write the same keyword in succession 10 times, but you can make the mistake of too much repetition. Mention your strategic search term several times throughout the page, but promise yourself not to force its use too much.
10. Don't use long URLs.
If you use a database to maintain the website, you may end up with long URLs with several session IDs and parameters that produce many question marks and equal signs. These lengthy URLs can hinder search engines from properly indexing the pages. Work with your developer so as to limit them or to remove them altogether as much as is possible.
About the Author
Michael Murray is vice president of Fathom SEO, a Cleveland, Ohio-based search engine marketing (SEM) firm. A member of Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), he also authored the white paper, "Search Engine Marketing: Get in the Game."
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