Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Seven Deadly SEO Sins

When compared to its offline marketing counterparts (things like PR, promotions and advertising), SEO has a pretty negative reputation. Many consumers hear "SEO" and think to themselves "Oh yes, that's when companies flood my inbox with junk mail and pepper my screen in pop-up ads." Others see SEO as an attempt to game the system and spin the search results.

Even though SEO has been around for long time (pretty much as long as there have been search engines), the industry as a whole still has a bad reputation. This is mainly because of the actions of a few SEO spammers and black hat practitioners. They are the ones who are actively trying to manipulate the search engines and they are the ones that send you e-mails in the middle of the night with subject lines like "A weight loss program that lets you eat cheeseburgers and pizza? It's true!"

As a site owner, you never want to have your brand lumped in with these SEO con men, even if you didn't mean to engage in black hat SEO. That is why it is important to avoid the following SEO sins:

1. Low-Quality Content

Unless you've had your head in the sand for the last few months, you know that the Google Panda update cracked down hard on numerous "content farms" that churned out thousands of low-quality, spammy articles. The update also took on regular sites with a lot of duplicate, low-quality content. Content marketing is one of the most important elements of online marketing success. Poor content won't get you anything other than a search engine penalty.

2. Keyword Stuffing

This is one of the cardinal rules of SEO, but many sites are still guilty of stuffing their content with keywords in an attempt to be more appealing to the search engines. Content should be written for the end user, NOT the search engines. Peppering your content with keywords might make it easier for a search spider to index your content, but is that search spider going to be doing business with your company? Not likely. Keyword-heavy content is one of the biggest causes of a high bounce rate.

3. Poor Site Navigation

A good SEO rule of thumb is that it should never be more than 3 clicks from your homepage to any deep internal page. If a user has to click all over your website with no idea where they are or how they got there, they aren't going to waste their time. Your site structure has to lead them down a predetermined path of information. It needs to be a logical progression through the site. If a user can't find what they are looking for the moment they arrive on your site, they won't bother to dig through your pages to find it.

4. Spammy or Duplicate Meta Descriptions

Meta tags are like little advertisements for your website in the search results. Those 150 characters are what convince a searcher that your site is the one they are looking for. They may not be the most important factor for search engines, but they play a huge part in the overall user experience. Each page needs its own Meta description that describes the content of that page! Just like the actual pages themselves, you don't want to stuff the Meta description full of keywords. Would you want to visit a site where the Meta description looked like, "Caribbean cruises, cruise the Caribbean, Caribbean cruise, Caribbean cruise vacation, vacation cruises to the Caribbean..." Are you going to trust that site?

5. Irrelevant Links

Links are important currency in the online market space. The more quality, one-way links a site has pointing towards it, the better trust factor it has with the search engines. But quality is far more important than quantity. 10,000 links that come from spam blogs, "bad" sites like adult or gambling sites, cloaked text and link exchanges actually devalue your website. A link is not worth your online reputation. Too many shoddy links and the search engines will remove your site from the results entirely.

6. Copying the Competition

Each industry is unique and each site has its own set of challenges to deal with. Studying the competition is important because you need to understand the SEO arena you are about to enter, but copying the SEO strategy of your competitor will get you nowhere. Just because it worked for them, that doesn't mean it will work for you. Also, what kind of fight are you really putting up if your company just does everything the competition does? It guarantees that you will always be two steps behind.

7. Going for Immediate Results

SEO is a long-term process that builds momentum over time. You are not going to see overnight success. If that is your goal, to rank on page 1 of Google within the week, you are opening yourself up to a lot of black hat SEO techniques that will artificially inflate your ranking. While success might be sweet for a little while, the search engines are going to catch on sooner or later and you'll fall off the face of the Internet.

These SEO sins and others are the reasons why the SEO industry has a bad reputation. Some black hat SEO practitioners do them intentionally, and sometimes site owners without enough SEO experience accidentally do. The best thing site owners can do is to learn what is and what isn't acceptable for white hat SEO and consider that their line in the sand.

About The Author
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full-service SEO services firm that also offers SEO consulting and SEO site audits. With over 12 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily SEO articles to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal. Contact Nick Stamoulis as 781-350-4365 or

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Search Engine Optimization Animation for Beginners - SEO 101

Search Engine Optimization Animation for Beginners - SEO 101

Search Engine Optimization Animation for Beginners (SEO 101) explains the basic theory behind search engines and ranking. It touches base on the importance of content, describes what backlinks are and gives examples of Social Media Sites.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Twenty Basic Tips for SEO Newbies

Twenty Basic Tips for SEO Newbies

If you have a website and are trying to earn a living from it, then you need to know Search Engine Optimization. SEO is key to driving more visitors to your site. More visitors means more business, so you definitely need to read on.

As with anything, you can take it to the limit and hire an expert in the field, but there are things that you and your web designer should be doing to optimize your search engine rankings. Here is a list of 20 things you can do now, to improve traffic to your website.

1. Use a keyword tool such as the Google Adwords Keyword Tool or their Search Based Keyword Tool . You will then be provided with other key words and phrases that users search for that you can then integrate into your site. Take care, however, not to stuff your text with keywords in an unnatural way, which can count against you.

2. Content dominates. Web crawlers love ever-changing content, so update your site regularly. Post good, well-written material that is unique and be sure to include your keywords within the content. Consider a blog, if your site content won't change frequently. Spiders LOVE blogs!

3. Content may dominate, but links rule. Make sure to get your site lĂ­sted in numerous trade directories, associations, colleagues, etc. Be sure the locations of your backlinks are quality ones, and relevant to your site.

4. If you like image maps or Java script drop-down menus, be sure to include text links in another location on your pages. Web crawlers can't decipher your images and they require real text to follow.

5. Page titles are important! Title each page individually according to its subject matter. Title tags should be keyword focused, and if you insist on putting your business name in it, put it at the end.

6. Write articles. As usual, be sure to include your keywords, post them to your site, and then post them to article sites. You will be surprised at where your articles will end up after a few months, all linking back to YOU!

7. Hyperlinks within your site should be written with the proper keywords, i.e. "green t-shirts" and not "click here".

8. Go easy on the Flash. Spiders cannot crawl flash animations, so keep them to a minimum, especially if the animation contains text that you want your visitors to read. Integrate that text into the page instead.

9. Make sure that external links to your site link to the actual domain, i.e., and not

10. Renew your domain name promptly! Domains that are about to expire, or even that have less than one year remaining can be considered spammers by some search engines, and this will hurt your rankings.

11. SEO is not a one-shot deal. Since searches, and searcher's needs, change quickly and frequently, expect to work on your optimization daily, in order to get the best results. Getting crawled initially can take weeds, and getting high rankings can take months, sometimes a year or longer, depending on how much effort you put into in. Nothing ventured, absolutely nothing gained, in this case.

12. Use captions with your images. No brainer, and use ALT tags with them as well. Include the words "picture" or "image" in your ALT tags, as searches will often be for a keyword along with one of those words.

13. Use an XML sitemap. You can get one of these from Google as well. Sitemaps provide very crawl-worthy text for hungry little web spiders.

14. Search engines love video, too! Be sure to include video in your sites, and then upload the video to other quality sites, such as Metacafe, AOL, MSN, Yahoo and, of course, YouTube.

15. Get a Google Webmaster account. This will provide you with numerous tools that you can use to better enhance your visibility.

16. When you have your Google Webmaster account, enable the "Enhanced image search" feature. Allowing Google to find your photos will help in your SEO efforts.

17. Monitor your account. It's vital to know what page your visitors are coming in to your site on, and what page they're exiting from.

18. Link back to yourself. Putting links to other pages in your site is an easy way to improve traffic to individual pages.

19. Name your URLs clearly. It's easy to understand what would contain, but if your page is titled, search engines are much less likely to figure that one out.

20. Don't make the mistake of paying money to companies that say they can get you ranked higher! With a little time and effort, you can improve your site's rankings yourself, and some search engines consider links from these sites to be of poor quality.

I hope these tips help you on your way to better website optimization!

About The Author:
Theresa Sheridan runs a freelance website and graphic design company in Central California.

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