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10 SEO Mistakes

by Travis Snyder, Lead Web Developer / 11-06-2013

Contrary to what most SEO engineers would tell you, SEO is not an exact science. Content analysis, brand power, and semantic website structure are three columns on which SEO stands. Perhaps it is fair to say, there isn't a right or wrong way to optimize a website; but many right or wrong ways to optimize a website. For those looking for a "rule of thumb", here are the top 10 optimizing mistakes we consider to be the leaders on the hall of shame.

Targeting the Wrong Keywords

The most prominent mistake even SEO experts make. Choosing the correct keyword does not depend on the item or product you want to sell or advertise. There are selling techniques that cover this area. Consider targeting keyword that will infuse traffic to your site by avoiding excessive competition, meanwhile satisfying the niche's main focus. A great way to do this is by using long tail key-phrases that target your local market.

Choosing the right keywords can make or break your SEO campaign. Even if you are very resourceful, don't attack this on your own. Google Keyword Planner is a Google Tool all SEO engineers use, and so should you. To access Keyword Planner, sign in to your AdWords account at Adwords.

Ignoring the Title Tag

Leaving the title tag empty is also very common. This is one of the most important places to have a keyword, because not only does it help you in optimization but the text in your title tag shows in the search results as your page title.

Flash vs JQuery

Flash might be attractive but not to search engines and Apple users. JQuery contains an extensive library with all animation effects you will probably need. However, if your Flash animation is not being reproduced by any of the JQuery scripts, consider a Video Production company to replace your Flash video with one that you can apply a video sitemap too.

JavaScript Menus

Using JavaScript for navigation is not bad as long as you understand that search engines do not read JavaScript and build your web pages accordingly. So if you have JavaScript menus you can't do without, you should consider build a sitemap (or putting the links in a noscript tag) so that all your links will be crawlable.

Lack of Consistency and Maintenance

Success comes from hard work. SEO is not a "Leave It and Forget It" kind of deal. Keep a close eye on your competition and update as needed. Your competition may be adjusting their SEO soon enough, and specially as soon as they know what you are up to. Likewise, educate yourself and research any changes on search engine algorithm changes. For instance, I bet you are still updating your META keyword tag, aren't you? The only update you need to do it is deleting it. It is being ignored by all mayor search engines due to prior abuse of Keyword stacking.

Concentrating Too Much on the head Section

Most people think all the SEO is built on the

section of their site. On the contrary, content is what you need to worry about. Changing your content often enough to keep your site fresh, but not too fast that will not give the spiders a chance to crawl it is the right formula. Consider a Content Schedule or Blog Section. These are the most effective techniques to deliver your keywords.

Enclosing your logo in an h1 tag

This is probably the most common mistake and by far the worst. The H1 tag is your house number on the mailbox. When your site is being crawled, spiders pay close attention to the H1 tag to know what the page is about. If you put your logo in it and bury it in the header of your website, you gave your H1 the same value across your entire site. Not to mention, your logo is considered content, and as such, it should be in the content section of your site (html, php, or aspx pages). When you put your logo in a CSS sheet, you are declaring the image to be a property, such as a solid background or wallpaper. As a result, spiders ignore it.

Ignoring URL Structure

Many people underestimate how important a good URL is. Dynamic page names are very useful, however, make sure you are permalinking your pages and naming them in a way that they can be remembered. Your visitors (and search engine spiders) will most likely remember and interpret www.domain.com/page1/page2/page3 better than they will www.domain.com/forum/topic/$docs/ZkQXwKcWpRE_8uy/#wejuj Keywords in URLs are more important for MSN and Yahoo! but even with Google their relative weight is high, so there is no excuse for having keywordless URLs.

Improper Back-linking

It is a common delusion that more back-links are ALWAYS better and because of this web masters resort to link farms, forum/newgroup spam etc., which ultimately could lead to getting their site banned. Consider where your back-links are coming from and leading to. If Google was a delivery boy, and he entered the wrong neighborhood, he will not come near your address again. Back-linking is a technique even SEO experts struggle with.

Lack of Social Content

Social networks are incredibly busy. In fact, if Facebook was a country, it would be the second largest country in the world! Make good use of your social networks by ensuring your site is connected and reporting to and from the most powerful social engines available (Facebook, twitter, Google Plus, Linked, Pinterest, etc). WARNING: ensure you are using the ones that apply to you and use them correctly. If you have an auto shop and your post on Pinterest, chances are you may get the wrong traffic to your site which will result on the visitor leaving earlier than expected. This causes high Bounce Rate and your site will suffer.

As I mentioned above, SEO is not an exact science and it evolves at a very fast pace. Most importantly, many SEO engineers approach it differently to achieve the same results, or similar. What is your experience with SEO? We would love to hear your practices, success stories, and your failures as well.