Seven Deadly Mistakes That Can KILL Your Search Rankings
Whether you’re brand-new to Internet marketing, or you’ve been selling online for a while now, search engine optimisation is the one strategy you can’t AFFORD to ignore!
Earn high rankings in the search engines, and you’ll be rewarded with endless streams of quality FREE traffic heading straight to your website.
But neglect your rankings, and you’ll spend ALL of your time trying to convince even a few visitors to stop by your site (and chances are, they won’t even be interested in what you’re selling when they show up).
Fortunately, optimising your website for the search engines is neither rocket science nor brain surgery!
Armed with just a few tried-and-tested techniques, you should have no problem getting those coveted high rankings for your site.
The challenge, though, is that the search engine industry changes more quickly than most, so something that used to be a sure-fire SEO strategy can suddenly become useless…
… and it might even get your listings demoted to the back pages!
So to make sure you don’t get penalized by the search engines — or just plain IGNORED — watch out for these seven deadly search engine optimization mistakes:
Deadly Mistake #1: Improper Use Of Your “Title” Tag
Not only does your title tag tell the search engines what your webpage is about, the title also appears in the search results for your site, as well as at the top of your visitors’ browsers while they’re on your site.
So this is DEFINITELY where you should put your best keywords!
But we routinely see site owners making pretty basic errors with their title tags, costing them good rankings, and sometimes, even their credibility.
So avoid these common title tag mistakes:
a. Not including a title tag at all
If you leave your title tag blank, your visitors will see “untitled document” in the search results, and the top of the browser.
This makes you look careless and unprofessional. Besides, who searches for untitled documents? You’re squandering an opportunity for better SEO, and you’re missing out on sales!
b. Using your URL as the title
Some site owners use the URLs of individual pages as the titles.
But, while a title tag like “sallysbeautyshop/cosmetics/product123.html” does contain the business name, the product category, and the product name itself, it’s not very helpful to your rankings.
Remember, your title tags are for keywords.
c. Using a friendly greeting instead of a keyword-rich title
There’s nothing wrong with a friendly greeting… in person.
But your title tag is the wrong place to say hello to your audience. And again, who searches for welcome messages?
d. Stuffing the title tag with single words
Don’t take the shotgun approach and fill your title tag with a list of words off the top of your head in the vain hope of attracting traffic.
Instead, use one or two of your TOP keyword phrases (but keep it under 70 characters so it fits on one line).
Your title tag is easy to find and easy to change in your HTML code. On most web pages, it’s right at the top, below your “head” tag, and looks like this:
Deadly Mistake #2: Misusing Your “Keywords” Meta Tag
Once upon a time, the search engines really cared about keyword meta tags, and would determine your site’s relevance based on the content of this tag.
Well, those days are long gone, and a keyword meta tag — even one that’s well-written and contains just a couple of your best keywords — will NOT help you get a higher ranking.
BUT… a poorly written meta tag CAN get your site penalized!
So our best advice is to use the meta keyword tag for what it was intended: to help you quickly and easily identify, in one line of HTML code, what keywords you’ve optimized that page for.
Meta tags only appear in your HTML code, not anywhere on your site. They’re usually placed very close to the top of the page, near your title tag, and look like this:
Deadly Mistake #3: Keyword Spamming Or Stuffing
The more keywords you have on your site — and the more places you repeat them — the better your search rankings will be, right?
That may be the way it worked in the “olden” days, when the web was in its infancy, but the practice helped websites get high rankings for topics they didn’t even cover.
So these days, Google’s algorithm (the formula it uses to figure out where to rank pages on the search results) is much more complex than that, thanks to years of dealing with people trying to fudge the results.
So don’t even bother with these outdated tricks…
- Typing your keywords over and over again in very small font at the top and bottom of your page — blocks of tiny text either in the copy or the header tags don’t improve your relevance
- Increasing your keyword density above about 10% — you end up with a page full of text that doesn’t make sense to anyone reading it
- Using “invisible” keywords (white text on a white background). This one is SO frowned-upon that it can get you delisted from Google altogether!
The only foolproof strategy is still to find out what kind of quality, relevant information your customers are searching for, and then give it to them. In the long run, it’s by far the best strategy.
Deadly Mistake #4: Using Irrelevant Keywords To Attract More Traffic
So, you found some great keywords with low competition and great traffic numbers… but not quite on target with your website?
For instance, when Sarah Palin broke big in 2008, she was one of the most searched-for terms in the country. But if you’d put an article about her on your website, it wouldn’t have increased your sales!
If people come to your page or website in search of a keyword phrase, and find that your site has nothing to do with it, they’ll just leave again…
… so all the traffic in the world won’t help you if it’s off target.
And you can even end up diluting the theme of your website and irritating people so much that they report your website as spam to the search engines. And that’s not worth any number of extra visitors!
Deadly Mistake #5: Creating Useless Content
The Internet is swamped with low-quality articles and blog posts that are created for NO other reason than to get better rankings.
But consider this: It can take potential customers 6 – 8 visits to your website — and significant exposure to your content — before they feel comfortable enough to make a purchase from you.
If the only content you’ve posted is just a few keywords repeated without any real substance, why would anyone bother coming back to read more?
This tactic can harm your reputation and your credibility… and once those are gone, it’s almost impossible to get them back!
Deadly Mistake #6: Using “Doorway” Pages
When was the last time Google or Yahoo purchased a product from you?
We’re guessing NEVER, right? So why would you create pages on your website that are exclusively for them? But that’s exactly what people do with “doorway” pages (pages with very little text, but very high keyword density).
For example, if your page only has four words on it, and two of them are “sailboat,” that gives the page a keyword density of 50%, which is great for search results…
… but if someone actually searches on the term “sailboat” and lands on the doorway page, there’s nothing there for them! They’ll have to click further into your site (and for each unnecessary click you ask visitors to make, you lose a large percentage of them).
Doorway pages are really frowned upon by the search engines, because they clog up the index with junk. It’s just too easy to produce thousands of these pages that have a very high keyword density, but no real purpose, other than trying to build links and direct traffic to a single site.
Before you put a doorway page up, remember to ask yourself if it’s actually providing useful information to your potential customers. If so great. If not, don’t do it!
Deadly Mistake #7: Bait and Switch – “Magic” Pages, Redirects, and Cloaking
Search engines want to make sure that once they’ve indexed a page, the visitors they send there see the same thing they did. However, this isn’t always the case.
Some site builders build two versions of their sites. The one for the spiders is full of the kind of stuff the search engines like. The one that regular visitors see is full of the flashy, off-topic effects that look cool, but it isn’t the relevant, content-rich site it’s advertised as.
This is a strategy that will end up hurting your business!
Your customers end up at a website that may not contain the keywords they were searching for, and instead, get to one with animation and all the bells and whistles that may not be important to them.
More importantly, the search engines feel ripped off, too.
When customers start pointing this kind of fraud out to them, the search engines are pretty good at delisting the offending sites. Is a few weeks of increased traffic really worth the risk of getting booted off Google for good?!
Finally, don’t use spammy redirects on your site. These redirects send visitors from a page they think they’re going to (one that’s been optimized for the search engines), to another one altogether.
This deceptive method has been overused, and the search engines no longer fall for it. It can get your site penalized or delisted.
How You Can Avoid Being Penalized — Or Worse — By The Search Engines
These are just seven of the MANY search engine optimisation techniques that can have a harmful effect on your site’s rankings, some of which can potentially get you into hot water with the search engines!
So why take a chance?
If you’re going to save yourself a TON of money by doing your own search engine optimisation, make sure you get ongoing advice from an SEO expert who can tell you which strategies are working right now…
… as well as show you the strategies that you should AVOID.
If you find that you do not have the time to rectify any of these problems, or would like more help to promote your small business website, contact us Today.