We find ourselves amazed at the amount of effort people spend trying to fool or manipulate their positioning in search engines. People seem to focus on the shortcuts to success and NOT on their Web site or the true value their content provides to their prospects.
In the spirit of educating marketers about best practices, we present this list of ten things you can do to sabotage your search engine marketing project in a “New York” second.
1. Invisible (Ghost) Text
You have kept a good secret! Your visitors might not have noticed, but all search engine crawlers have been trained to be on the lookout for this obvious technique, last fashionable circa 1997. The search engines may very well purge all your pages from their index due to deceptive practices.
And, if you are feeling really frisky, you can make this technique even more effective if the invisible text has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the page it sits within.
2. Frames Usage
Search engines are not “frame-friendly”. Once they encounter a pesky frame, they either stop flat in their tracks because the frame doesn’t give them anywhere else to go, or they locate the pages beyond the frames and point people to that locale – which won’t have the frames included with it.
There’s truly no need to use frames and make attempt to justify it by believing it will improve the prospect’s experience.
If your prospects can’t uncover your site or they find slices and slivers of you, how much then have you actually assisted them?
3. Why Be Fresh And Original?
Why try to be unique, it’s just too hard anyway? It sounds foolish, but it occurs quite often. If you find something of real interest on another site, just burning a copy and slapping your links on the top does not make you a unique force on the Net. And how many actual shopping sites selling the exact same discounted products are enough for the average Web? In my book, the more sites you mirror, the least effective you will become.
4. Chubby Web Pages (Obesity Kills)
Sites with lots of graphics, animation, Flash and music do pose many disruptive elements with the search engines. Not only can it confuse your prospects, who are looking for obvious information and links, the search engines may not feel you are very relevant because they cannot be sure what to make of your Web site.
If you have a site made up of nothing but heavy graphics and multimedia, not only will you give the search engines zero to index, you may also aggravate any prospect running with a slower connection speed. In nothing else, at the least, use ALT-tags to explain images for text browsers, the hearing impaired and search engines.
5. Redirects, Redirects, And More Redirects
You may be using “redirects” within your Web pages to track clicks for advertising and also to pull together information about your site visitors. Your Web pages may be indexed, but you may not rank well at all. The search engines may not be able to see the correlation that exist between your Web pages because the redirect code often blocks their path, unlike direct text linkage.
6. Lengthy URL’s
Dynamic (ever-changing) e-commerce and shopping Web sites that use parameters and their session ID’s often manifest these difficult URL’s nicely.
If your Web site has lengthy URL’s sprinkled with question marks, percentage signs, Session ID’s, and at least three parameters, you’re degrading your hopes for search engine superiority.
Lengthy URL’s do not look very attractive to individuals searching and the site URL’s contain calls to various databases.
Leading the way for the search crawler directly into your database may quite possibly be a sure-fire way to send them spidering elsewhere.
7. Forgotten about your No Index Tag and Robots.txt?
Have you created a plan to keep all those nasty search bots out? Do you have a robots.txt file living on the root of your site? Does this file contain the following:
User-agent: *disallow /
Or does your Web property have a Meta-tag:
Be extra nice to your Webmaster. He or she may depart from your company in the future and leave this little monster behind for you to find at the end of a needlessly expensive investigation into why the search engines will not make nice with your Web site.
If you are using the special robots protocol, you will not want to forget to remove them altogether if you are going live from a beta testing process.
8. Doorway Pages
Doorway pages (also know as jump pages and bridge pages) and anything that is created specifically for a search engine and does not contain more than valuable content or products for your prospect, is not an effective search marketing tool.
If you’re not providing true content, the search engines will discover this and may penalize your entire online site. If you’ve jammed yourself into this hole, you’ll probably need to return back to start with a new domain name.
9. Identical Meta-Tags And Titles
You worried over every single unique page of the Web property while developing it, but you didn’t spend a lot of concern that each page should be tagged (or classified) that way.
Imagine walking into your public library where every single book had the exact same title. What better way to tell a search bot to “take a hike” than showing them that all of your content is exactly the same. You will most likely see fewer of your Web pages indexed and much less traffic than you might otherwise.
Here’s a quick checklist to consider for your Meta-Tags and Titles:
* Do they deliver a “call to action”?
* Do they use relevant keywords and phrases?
* Is your “Title” less than 80 characters?
* Do they accurately describe what the page is about?
* Are these consistent with the page?
10. Linking Networks
Did you find a service that’s offering to link thousands of other Web sites to you today? Taking part in these programs may effectively indicate to the search engines that you really do not want their valuable traffic. The quality of these link pages as well as their overall content “value” to a human visitor is very low.
Most search engines do come together in agreement and can severely penalize accordingly. Sites that get marked as link spammers, may be briskly informed that they should find a new domain name and begin all over again.
I advise you to take these lessons in “eMarketing Sabotage” for what they are, guidelines to help you operate your good e-business practice free and clear of the many pitfalls and mistakes of other marketers and improve on your own level of success in conjunction with search engines strategies.
Soon, with a sound plan, a bit of smart work and a solid attention-to-detail approach, your Web pages may rank highest among today’s top search engine results.