What are the most common SEO mistakes?
Many of our new clients come to us with an existing website…a website that has done little for their practice. We can usually guess the problems we will find before we ever see their pages. Despite the fact that basic search engine optimization tactics are available to anyone willing to read, we see the same signs of negligent web development over and over again.
It’s our belief that search engine optimization and web development are not separate disciplines. Effective websites are built with the search engines in mind. Here are some of the most common mistakes we see when search engine optimization is an afterthought.
Sites that Can’t Be “Spidered”
Search engines employ programs referred to as “spiders” to crawl around the Web and make note of Web page content. Spiders have a daunting task, with millions of new pages appearing online daily. To stay ahead of that content onslaught they follow the links that are easy to find and often overlook buried content.
The problems we see most often are navigation techniques, such as drop down lists or Flash animations, that are difficult for search engine spiders to follow. Even though some navigation tools work great for human visitors, care must be taken to provide an easy path for the search engine spiders to follow.
Sites with Duplicate Content
Search engines don’t want to have multiple copies of the same content in their catalog of search results. Duplication clogs their databases and bogs their processors.
When they do encounter duplicate content, like a copy of the standard brochure content provided to doctors by medical device manufacturers, most search engines ACTIVELY deprioritize those web pages within their index.
Sites with Too Little Content
Search engines are in the business of answering questions, solving problems, and generally satisfying searchers. And since search engines can’t see your graphics or videos, they are looking to the text on your pages to help them with these tasks.
When your site is short in text, or has all the text tied up in graphics, search engines may decide you don’t offer enough information to satisfy the searcher.
Lack of Local Targeting
If you are in private practice, search engine rely on the presence of your address (on every page) and regional keywords in your copy to discern where you are. All too often, the address is locked in an image (impenetrable to search engines) and there are no local keywords in their content.
And the List Goes On
It seems there is no end to bad search engine optimization. I’ll circle back around and elaborate on these points soon, but for now, it is important that the points at least be named.
- Targeting the Wrong keywords
- META tag stuffing, or too much dependence on META tags
- Poorly written titles or descriptions
- Keyword repetition
- Doorway pages
- Hidden text
- Multiple Domains
- Content in graphics or flash
- Automated submission and reporting
- Too much emphasis on ranking, too little on conversion
- Splash pages
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