Website Promotion: 10 Search Engine Optimization Blunders to Avoid

If you want to develop a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, go out of your way to avoid blunders that limit 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. Sure, you might write some scripts or adjust the content to work with frames, but you have better things to do with that energy.

2. Don't use Flash.
Flash looks awesome, but is slows down the user experience and it makes it tough to get ranked. The Flash future is bright for search engines ability to read some keywords, but what good will that do if pages lack visible text?

3. Don't skimp on titles.
Why would you possibly call a page About Us in the title since it's prime SEO real estate? Include search phrases that reflect the content.

4. Don't overstuff titles.
Limit titles to 70 characters with commas between phrases on EVERY page; 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 appears high on the page.

6. Don't use graphics as page headers.
Graphic headers are a waste of time. Use text page headers and support them with 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 a lot of traffic. The reality is that only a fraction of Internet users entering a broad search word want what you offer. Go for search terms with two, three or four words that 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; promise yourself not to force it in 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. They can hinder search engines from properly indexing pages. Work with your developer to limit them or remove them as much as possible.

Any questions?

Michael Murray
Fathom SEO
216.861.5951 ext. 111

Michael Murray is vice president of Fathom SEO, an Ohio-based SEO 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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