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Common SEO Mistakes – Part2

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Here’s Part2 of the article Common SEO mistakes, in the first part you’ll find tips and tricks that will boost the number of visitors to your website via Search Engines. But we all want more visitors, here are some other great tips to make your website SEO-friendly.

Although Google and the other Search Engines have to keep their algorithms secret, otherwise they would be misused by everyone and search results would soon cease to have any intrinsic value. This does not mean, however, that there aren’t quality tips and tricks which can be followed with regard to effective SEO, nor does it mean that there are not common mistakes which are made in this respect:

Bad or No Internal Linking at all

This is a simple, yet potentially large issue. Internal linking (meaning, hyperlinks that link pages of your entire website together) plays a part in your overall SEO situation. Google and others like to see healthy amounts of internal linking, so while its good to get in the habit of linking to your other pages in a proper, SEO friendly way.

I still see enough websites that have fantastic internal linking structure, but the hyperlinks still don’t really work because they are missing a proper anchor text. The most common instance of this is the terrible “Click Here” anchor text. Please, .. hear me out here, I have nothing against using “Click Here or Read More” for quick blog posts or things like that, but when it comes down to linking products or services, instead of using “Click Here” for ……., try using an anchor text that describes the page or product you’re linking to.

Tip: Instead of “Click here to see the latest Web Designs” you could use “Check out the latest Web Designs” (using “Web Designs” as the anchor text).

Quality and Unique Content

While I hate using clichés, the phrase “Content is King” still holds true, and allowing your clients to have a healthy amount of text on that newly designed page will help them achieve better rankings in the long run. Organize your pages, and don’t be scared of using fancy images and graphics, just try not to overdo it. Simple, really.

About how to manage your keywords in your content and how to get a better keyword-density, you can read these articles: The Basics of Keyword Optimalization and SEO For Small & Medium Enterprises.

Tip: Designers love to use all sorts of images and graphics wherever possible, which can make for a pretty page, but don’t forget to leave plenty of room for actual text! (more information you can find in the following article: Search Engine Optimization Tips & Tricks)

Dirty Code

Once again, I’m more a designer then a coder, but one thing I do know is that Google and other search engines don’t like dirty, cluttered and nonvalide code, this can hurt your search rankings tremendously. You want to make the job of searching the page as easy as possible on the search spiders, so that they’ll keep coming back on a regular basis.

Stay away from the bad techniques, please read Google Webmaster Guidelines. Utilizing them may get a web site blacklisted from the search engines. Spamming may be a no-no, and the following techniques are considered spamming: doorway and identical pages, little or invisible text, cloaking, usage of keyword phrases in author tags etc.

Tip: Make sure HTML is validated and W3C compliant, that’s one thing for sure what Google just loves!

SEO

Not Using Clean and Descriptive URLs.

You’d think that by now, most people (even those that aren’t that familiar with SEO) would know that a cleaner, more keyword friendly URL is easier for the user and the search engines, but to this day, it’s still common to see URLs structured like this:

http://badexample.com/?=6644523778/llkkddgt/h345.asp

While Google and other search engines are still smart enough to find out what the page is about, there is still plenty of evidence that having a keyword descriptive URL will give you an edge when it comes to organic rankings.

An example of a search engine friendly URL:
http://goodexample.com/logodesign_portfolio.html

So, make sure your URLs are clean, SEO-friendly and descriptive as possible., name your pages with keywords that appropriately describe them. If you’re using a WordPress platform, make sure and change the permalink structure to something like /%postname%/ (it’s a bit complicated when your site is not hosted by wordpress.com, … I still haven’t found out how to do it?)

Tip: find a webhost who can make your .htaccess-file accessible, alas my webhost makes that impossible so that’s why I have a bad URL! But it’s important for your corporate or commercial site to have clean and descriptive URL’s, if blogging is your main income (advertisement) then make sure you set your .htaccess and the settings in your WordPress-dashboard!

Too Much Flash

We all understand that flash can make a page look extremely cool and entertaining (if done right). You have a wide range of design possibilities when implementing it, from a detailled instruction or just a funny animation to get the visitor in the right mood.

Using flash in your site should be limited to a supplemental design element at most – and if you remember anything, don’t put any important keyword rich text in the flash element where Google can’t see it. There’s certainly nothing wrong with incorporating a bit of flash into a page, but just keep in mind that search engine’s are still pretty much blind to it.

Bad Navigation Menu’s

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a fancy Javascript navigation menu with cool drop down’s, a flashy shining animation or what-so-ever. But keep in mind that search engines cannot read these navigation menus and therefore can not follow these menu’s to their respective pages.

This means they can not ‘see’ your links to all of your other pages, not able to overlook, crawl and index the complete site structure or as you will, your sitemap. A good option is to write your own sitemap.xml and to upload this  sitemap to Google’s Webmaster Tools.

Tip: The most common and accepted way to use sweet Javascript based navigation and still allow the ability for search engine’s to discover your pages? Just duplicate the menu in text and throw it in the footer. You’ll see this on 9 out of 10 sites, and it is encouraged by Google to do so.

Acceptable page size

Confirm the acceptable page size for the site. Speed is a important component to the success of a site, and it important to each online visitors and also the search engines. Don’t cram your website with too much pictures or images (if so, Smush.it), don’t use too much content, etc. It is suggested to limit internet pages beneath 15K.

– § –

The term “SEO” is a hot buzzword and through personal experience, a lot of clients have heard of it, but are not quite sure what it means – so being able to proudly say that your sites are “Search Engine Optimized” could make the difference between them selecting your or your competition.

 

Author: Jan Rajtoral

Jan Rajtoral AKA Gonzo the Great is the Founder of and Designer at gonzodesign, providing design services across the full spectrum of Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Print and Advertising Design & Website Design.

12 comments

on this article: “Common SEO Mistakes – Part2”
  1. Great post, well explained.I am happy to see that website owners realize the importance and benefits of SEO. Search engine optimization can deliver long term results. Thanks for highlighting the most common mistakes.

  2. Hi Edsel,

    You’re welcome, I’m glad you liked this post (see also Part1). Everybody makes these mistakes in the beginning, .. so did I!

    Good luck with implementing SEO in your sites and thanks for your comment! Cheers & Ciao ..

  3. Thanks for this post. I’ve been learning SEO and showing me these mistakes helps me to avoid my own. I also am appreciative of you posting links to bad examples.

    • Hi Edsel,

      Everybody makes mistakes when implementing SEO, so did I (and still sometimes do ;-P), that’s why I wanted to share this Article. Thanks for your comment and good luck with SEO, Cheers & Ciao ..

  4. Hi Cassandra,

    thanks for the compliment and please do come back for more interesting articles!

    Cheers & Ciao ..

  5. We really dig what you write about here. I try and check your blog every day so keep up the good work!

  6. Man, talk about a fantastic post! I’ve stumbled across your blog a few times within the past, but I usually forgot to bookmark it. But not again! Thanks for posting the way you do, I genuinely appreciate seeing someone who actually has a viewpoint and isn?t really just bringing back up crap like nearly all other writers today. Keep it up!

  7. Hi VM,

    .. very true! Link Farms is a ‘no-go’ area, stay away ;-P

    Thanks for your great remark, Cheers & Ciao ..

  8. Interestng topic. Also, link farm is another mistakes most website owners do. Stay away from there.