What Not To Do In Website Search Engine Optimisation

Google has a VERY basic organic search engine optimisation starter guide pdf for webmasters, which they use internally:

Although this guide won’t tell you any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first for queries in Google (sorry!), following the best practices outlined below will make it easier for search engines to both crawl and index your content. Google

It is still worth a read, even if it is VERY basic, best practice search engine optimisation for your site.

No search engine will EVER tell you what actual keywords to put on your site to improve your rankings or get more converting organic traffic – and in Google – that’s the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing you want to know!

If you want a bigger pdf – try my free SEO ebook.

It’s been downloaded by tens of thousands of webmasters and I update it every year or so.

Here’s a list of what Google tells you to avoid in the document;

  1. choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page
  2. using default or vague titles like “Untitled” or “New Page 1″
  3. using a single title tag across all of your site’s pages or a large group of pages
  4. using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users
  5. stuffing unneeded keywords in your title tags
  6. writing a meta description tag that has no relation to the content on the page
  7. using generic descriptions like “This is a webpage” or “Page about baseball
    cards”
  8. filling the description with only keywords
  9. copy and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag
  10. using a single description meta tag across all of your site’s pages or a large group of pages
  11. using lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs
  12. choosing generic page names like “page1.html”
  13. using excessive keywords like “baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseball-cards.htm”
  14. having deep nesting of subdirectories like “…/dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/
    page.html”
  15. using directory names that have no relation to the content in them
  16. having pages from subdomains and the root directory (e.g. “domain.com/
    page.htm” and “sub.domain.com/page.htm”) access the same content
  17. Mixing www. and non-www. versions of URLs in your internal linking structure
  18. using odd capitalization of URLs (many users expect lower-case URLs and remember them better)
  19. creating complex webs of navigation links, e.g. linking every page on your site to every other page
  20. going overboard with slicing and dicing your content (it takes twenty clicks to get to deep content)
  21. having a navigation based entirely on drop-down menus, images, or animations (many, but not all, search engines can discover such links on a site, but if a user can reach all pages on a site via normal text links, this will improve the accessibility of your site)
  22. letting your HTML sitemap page become out of date with broken links
  23. creating an HTML sitemap that simply lists pages without organising them, for example by subject (Edit Shaun – Safe to say especially for larger sites)
  24. allowing your 404 pages to be indexed in search engines (make sure that your webserver is configured to give a 404 HTTP status code when non-existent pages are requested)
  25. providing only a vague message like “Not found”, “404″, or no 404 page at all
  26. using a design for your 404 pages that isn’t consistent with the rest of your site
  27. writing sloppy text with many spelling and grammatical mistakes
  28. embedding text in images for textual content (users may want to copy and
    paste the text and search engines can’t read it)
  29. dumping large amounts of text on varying topics onto a page without paragraph, subheading, or layout separation
  30. rehashing (or even copying) existing content that will bring little extra value to users

Pretty straight forward stuff but sometimes it’s the simple stuff that often gets overlooked. Of course, you put the above together with Google Guidelines for webmasters.

Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.

Don’t make these simple but dangerous mistakes…..

  1. Avoid duplicating content on your site found on other sites. Yes, Google likes content, but it *usually* needs to be well linked to, unique and original to get you to the top!
  2. Don’t hide text on your website. Google may eventually remove you from the SERPs.
  3. Don’t buy 1000 links and think “that will get me to the top!”. Google likes natural link growth and often frowns on mass link buying.
  4. Don’t get everybody to link to you using the same “anchor text” or link phrase. This could flag you as a ‘rank modifier’. You don’t want that.
  5. Don’t chase Google PR by chasing 100′s of links. Think quality of links….not quantity.
  6. Don’t buy many keyword rich domains, fill them with similar content and link them to your site. This is lazy and dangerous and could see you ignored or worse banned from Google. It might have worked yesterday but it sure does not work today without some grief from Google.
  7. Do not constantly change your site pages names or site navigation without remembering to employ redirects. This just screws you up in any search engine.
  8. Do not build a site with a JavaScript navigation that Google, Yahoo and Bing cannot crawl.
  9. Do not link to everybody who asks you for reciprocal links. Only link out to quality sites you feel can be trusted.
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