When you are working on your new site, it’s hard to know which is the best strategy for building traffic. And for the most part you will just have to experiment to see which tactics work best for your particular style of site. But there are a few things everyone who is engaged in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should look out for.
1. Don’t duplicate content.
One of the easiest ways to make the Google search engine think that your site is spam is to have duplicate content on your pages. The Google engine wants to rank sites on their worth and importance to users of the Internet, and if it finds that the same content is repeated, it will think your site is nothing more than a spam site trying to game the system to get ad hits.
2. Don’t steal content from others.
Almost as bad as duplicating your content is to publish content that originated on another site. Steal is a strong word. You may be legitimately mirroring the content of another site to provide greater access to the material, and more redundancy in case the original site goes down for some reason. But the Google engine doesn’t see that way. If your site does not provide new value to the Net, Google will want to rank you down. And duplicating someone else’s content typically isn’t seen as valuable to the Google engine.
3. Don’t use link farms.
A link farm is a site that will link to your site from hundreds of its networked pages for a price. This may sound attractive, but the search engines downplay the effectiveness of this in a number of ways. One, sudden spikes in numbers of backlinks are viewed as suspicious. Second, generally your ranking depends on the ranking of the site that points to you. These link farms do not generate enough of their own page rank to do you much good.
4. Don’t overuse keywords.
The over-repetition of a particular word or phrase in your content can look suspect to the search engine algorithms. You want the text on your pages to seem natural and relevant. The engines will realize that you are trying to gain an advantage and they may rank you down for it.
5. Don’t use hidden links or text.
You don’t want to do anything in your page to make the search engines identify your site as spam. Massive blocks of text packed with keywords that were hidden from the viewer was a common practice in times past, but Google has caught on to that strategy. Higher precedence is given to what appears in parts of the HTML document that is viewable to visitors. Anything else doesn’t matter.
6. Don’t repeat title tags.
Be careful not to repeat the same title for multiple pages. Each page should have its own title. The better a search engine can effectively index your site, the better chance you have of receiving a higher ranking for your pages. If separate pages have the same title, it can confuse the indexing process and result in weaker rankings.
7. Don’t use a doorway page.
This was another old technique used by Web pages, but it will work against you. A doorway page is a brief introductory page, sort of a virtual gate, that you had to click through to get to the actual home page of the site. Search engines frown on this as these pages do not add value to the experience and usually have no relevant content. Avoid using them.
These are just a few of the SEO pitfalls you must try to avoid when marketing your site. After all the work you put into optimizations, you don’t want to do things that will work against you.