SEO Don’ts

We have written a number of articles giving explicit advice on how to raise web site ranking through Search Engine Optimization. That knowledge is important. It is equally important to know what not to do. Often new webmasters commit the don’ts, because they are in a hurry to raise a site ranking quickly or they think the action is a short cut to the goal of great ranking. None of them work.

  • A. Keyword stuffing or spamming:  Keywords and keyword phrases that match a web site’s theme should be included in the page text, headers and meta tags, right?  It is easy to overdo.  If you stuff as many keyword phases as you can into you page and meta tags, your site’s ranking can suffer.  The top search engines, like Google, Yahoo and MSN, no longer rely on the content in a page’s keyword meta tag.  Instead, they use complicated algorithms to decide what your keywords are. The crawlers collect keyword data based on your content. A site’s ranking is “discounted” or lowered if the keyword density it too high on its pages. It is best to use no more than four or five keyword phrases on each page.
  • B. Hidden Spamming Text:  Some webmasters use the practice of listing keyword phrases on a page with the same color text as the pages background. This effort feeds extra keyword phrases to the crawlers. The only difference between the use of hidden text and keyword stuffing is that human eye cannot see these words on the page, but the crawlers can. The result of using hidden text is the same, because the algorithms employed by the search engines will see the deception and discount the page for the too high keyword density.
  • C. Image Based Navigation: Using images that contain navigation text is a roadblock for the crawlers (as well as other visitors who choose to disallow images to display when they browse). Search engines cannot read an image. If you feel you must use graphics for menu navigation, provide alt tags for each image. A site using images for navigation should also provide a text navigation menu on each page. Look around the web for yourself. Frequently, these text menus are in the page footer.
  • D. Flash Based Site Intros:  While a site may look “upscale” with a “flashy” site introduction, flash is graphical and search engines cannot read them. Make certain there is text content with some appropriate keywords in that intro. It is the first page of the site the search engine encounters and you do not want they search engine bots to stop crawling before they have indexed your site.
  • E. Excessive Linking:  Having too many links on a page or an excess of poor quality links will cause the search engines to penalize a site’s ranking. How many is too many links? Google suggests that there should be less than 100 links per page. Even that number is high. 25 links on a page is more manageable when considering the amount of time link monitoring consumes.
  • F. Unoriginal Content:  Usurping someone else’s site content will not get you better ranking, even if you think their text is wonderful. The search engines crawl all sites. Using the content of other sites is counter productive.

Search engines could potentially penalize a website for using any of these techniques. Your site’s content should be your thoughts in your words. The ideas and theme may be the same or similar between competing web sites; however, injecting a fresh and unique view, your view, of the theme is critical. It is what sets your site apart from others. There is no substitution or short cuts to good ranking and unique, fresh content that includes the natural use of appropriate keyword phrases on each page is king.

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