No No’s of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is a must if you want to embrace search engines as part of your marketing strategy.  I often talk about what you should do to get your site listed on search engines, so this month I thought I would focus on the things you should not do. 

Some of these "tricks" will get you a high ranking until the search engines discover what you are doing.  They may then ban your site.  A banned site is about as good as an unlisted phone number.

Don’t submit to Free for All (FFA) websites
FFA websites promise you thousands of links to your website, and may get you to install code on your website to display links. Yes, link popularity is important, but not when it is generated by a FFA. 

Keep the Search Term Density Low
Search engines like websites which contain natural flowing text within content, rather than indexing a webpage that consists of search terms separated by commas. Keep your search term density between 3% and 7%.

Don’t Optimize Pages for a Wide Number of Keywords
Keep the pages on your website specific to a group of keywords or phrases. If you have a large number of search terms, then create different pages for each terms.  These are called "Search Term Specific Pages".  A good rule of thumb is no more than 5 search terms per page. 

Duplicate Website Content
Don’t repeat the same content over and over again.  One well written webpage will do better in the search engines than 10 web pages that repeat the same information.  Search engines may consider this as SPAM and could ban your site.

Hidden Text
This is an "old school trick" and one I am still asked to do today.  If you want to ensure your site is banned from the search engines, then please use hidden text.  All text on your website must be visible. 

"Click Here" Links
How links are created and used within your site plays a major role in search engine ranking.  Using your search terms as the actually link will help to increase your position on a search engine.  Rather than use "Click here for more details about our coffee cups" as your link; use this: "Learn more about our coffee cups". 

Before you or your web designer try these or other "tricks", ask yourselves.  "If search engines did not exist, would I still do this on my site?  Is the answer is no, then chances are it will hurt more then help.

February 1, 2007

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