Saturday, February 14, 2009

Top 5 Common SEO Mistakes

So you built your website, with hopes and dreams of internet riches, and the site looks great. But no one's coming to it! Then you start learning SEO, and you're feeling a little bit more confident about it. Here are a few easy mistakes that people make when learning SEO, to look out for as you start doing more SEO work for your site:

Mistake 1: Keyword Stuffing

Before explaining why it's a bad idea, let's first define keyword stuffing as overfilling your content with your targeted keywords/keyphrases. By way of example, if you're targeting the phrase "navigation system," then keyword stuffing your content might read something like "Buying a new navigation system is something most customers do regularly as their old navigation system often fails to function in the proper way that a navigation system should..." and so on. It reads like a fourth grader's essay, and the search engine spiders pick up on the unnaturally high incidence of the same phrase repeated over and over.

While every SEO expert has a different opinion about keyword density, a safe but effective range might be considered 4-9% density. This makes sure the search engines correctly categorize your site for the services you offer, without them penalizing you for blatantly stuffing it with keywords.

Mistake 2: Link Farms vs. Directories

What is the difference between a link farm and a directory? It sounds like an easy question, but it's deceptively difficult. The reason is that directories and link farms share almost everything in common, so instead of a black and white difference between the two, they basically fall on a spectrum, and usually somewhere in the grey middle area.

That said, a working definition of link farm might go something like "a page of links with no other purpose or benefit to the visitor other than to provide backlinks to other pages." And why are they a problem? Search engines will not only disregard them as useless, they will often penalize the linked sites as well, by de-indexing them or demoting them in the rankings.

So how do you tell the difference between a link farm and a directory? Here are a few things to look for: 1) What's the Google Page Rank? 2) How well organized is it? 3) Does it have useful content other than links? 4) Is it visually attractive or otherwise made to be appealing to visitors? Be sure to ask these questions before submitting your site to an online directory.

Mistake 3: Duplicate Content

There's a lot of buzz going around the internet about duplicate content; quite simply, it's the same content appearing on more than one page on the internet. The search engines have been known to devalue pages that they see as duplicates, since the implication is that a site is simply spamming by putting automated content out on the web.

However, unlike link farm penalties, duplicate content isn't actively penalized, but merely disregarded sometimes by the search engines. If you're worried about it, well, write new content!

Mistake 4: Overbidding for PPC Advertising

Pay per click advertising (PPC) and SEO are NOT the same, but they're related enough to warrant a mention here. Amateurs often overbid for their PPC advertising, which not only costs them unnecessary money but drives up PPC prices elsewhere artificially. As with so many concepts in business, start low and go slow, which in this case means opening the bidding around 5-10 cents per click, and raising your bids as necessary to achieve your desired results.

Mistake 5: Investing Too Much Time in SEO Education

Serious webmasters devoted to online businesses and internet marketing would be wise to learn as much as possible about SEO. That said, the overwhelming majority of online business owners would probably be better off using their time to expanding their client base, or developing new products or websites, rather than spending tedious hour after tedious hour learning the minutiae of SEO and internet marketing. If you're capable of earning $45/hour while aggressively working your business, and can hire someone to handle SEO for you for $20/hour, then it's a no-brainer: hire an internet marketing company and get back to running your business.

1 comment:

freelancer animator said...

I visit your blog frequently and its very good , I am not a expert webmaster but i like your blog as its very simple and understandable.. please keep it up , 10/10 marks...