7 Deadly Sins of Search Engine Optimization: How to Avoid Them

Optimizing your website for major search engines can provide much needed exposure for your company or product. A properly planned and executed SEO strategy can make a significant difference in your company’s placement within search engine results and allow your potential customers to locate your website easily and quickly. However, many companies fall prey to serious mistakes in their search engine optimization strategy. Here are seven of the worst.

• Failure to adapt to changing search engine ranking methods & algorithms: When Google 2.0 was implemented in May 2007, the face of website rankings changed forever. Known as Google Universal Search, this new blended method of arranging search results caught many companies off guard and left them scrambling to recoup their position in this new ranking system. Companies who depended on keyword saturation to guarantee their spot in the rankings were hardest hit. Conversely, websites that incorporated a variety of media including tagged images, videos, and blogs found their rankings improved and their placements more advantageous. Today, most successful companies incorporate some form of blended-search-engine optimization on their websites.

• Failure to provide useful and informative content: Today’s search engines can distinguish the quality of content on your webpage. Its ranking is determined according to a complex algorithm that has as much to do with information delivery as keyword frequency. Of course, your users benefit from useful, objective information as well; this can lead to more return visits and increased sales. Providing clear, well-written information is essential when optimizing your website for the major search engines.

• Failure to proofread: A misspelled keyword or metatag can cost you page views. Misspellings and grammatical errors on your landing page can have a similar damaging effect on the impression you give to potential customers. Like it or not, your company is judged by the quality of its web offerings. If your website is shoddily designed, has non-working links, and looks unprofessional, customers will look elsewhere for their needs. Don’t submit your website to the search engines until you’re certain it reflects the professional image you intend to project. It’s trite but true; you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

• Failure to build a link exchange program: One way that search engines utilize to determine the ranking of your webpage is by noting the number of sites that link to it. However, the quality of your links matters as much, if not more, than the number you have. It’s essential to build links that will drive business to your site, whether they are blogs, review sites, or companies with complementary services to your own.

• Failure to include unique keywords: While the basic keywords that define your business are necessary inclusions for your optimization, it’s helpful to think outside the box to a degree. Include unusual keywords and synonyms as well (build separate inner pages for these keywords); these can propel your website to the top of the rankings for such keywords.

• Failure to update, upgrade, and keep current: Even highly-ranked sites should be constantly adding content and improving the quality of their existing material. By providing new and added benefit for users, companies can also improve their own visibility on major search engines.

• Failure to diversify: Most companies dedicate themselves solely to their own particular niche business. This limits their positioning to their own narrow field, rather than allowing for rankings in related fields. While it’s not particularly productive to add content that has nothing to do with your field, it’s a good idea to include some closely-related material to inform your users and attract views. While visitors to your site may not be in the market for your services currently, they’re more likely to remember and bookmark your site for a later time when they are.