As an employee at an online marketing and website company, I've seen my fair share of ugly websites and ugly SEO. These are mistakes that should be avoided at all costs, as they could affect your website's rankings and traffic. Some may even cause you to be penalized by the search engines, thereby causing your rankings to drop significantly. But don't worry we've got 7 solutions to help you clean up your website.
- Using the wrong keywords - The first step in any SEO campaign is choosing the right keywords. I've seen customers' websites that include keywords that are irrelevant to the industry. Or they go after keywords that are either too broad, like auto insurance or too narrow like Dallas painters professional liability insurance quotes. Sometimes I've seen branded keywords like State Farm or Safeco linked, which would be very difficult to rank for because those companies will inevitably always be at the top of the search engines due to their large budgets. Instead use keywords that your customers are actually typing into search engines. Using the same verbiage your customers use when they talk to you is more beneficial, because chances are, they're using those same keywords when searching.
- Stuffing your website with keywords - Many people believe adding as many keywords as possible to a webpage will allow Google and other search engines to find their site quickly and easily. In truth, this is one of the quickest ways to get you penalized by Google. The keywords you want to rank for will occur naturally in your content as you talk about your products and services. This is what Google is looking for. So instead of stating all twenty surrounding cities and 10 lines of business, just make sure the content makes sense and appears natural to the reader.
- Duplicate and copied content - This means copying content from other sites, as well as using the same content on different pages on your website. Stealing content is illegal and you can be easily penalized for this. Unique content is important, especially on your homepage as this is the page that most people land on first. Make sure too, that your pages all have unique titles and descriptions.
- Useless anchor text - Anchor text is when you link using keywords instead of the actual web address. Sometimes I see words like Click here or the agency name that is being linked back. The search engine crawlers follow the anchor text links to other pages, and if you include relevant anchor text, they also see which keywords are relevant to your site and rank for them.
Tip: Here is a trick to remember when creating anchor text. Don't use the exact same anchor text every time, which appears unnatural to the search engines. Instead use similar versions, for example add qualifiers like quotes, coverage, online, the state name, cheap, affordable, low cost.
- Poor backlinks - With the recent Penguin update, Google has started to pay more attention to content rather than backlinks. Therefore backlinks from link farms, directories and other such sites are dangerous for your SEO campaign. Even though building links from authoritative, quality websites is more difficult, it is definitely worth it. Get more information about building backlinks.
- Evading analytics - Having no idea who is visiting your site, how they found you, and what they did once they got to your site is tantamount to not caring about your business, and showing you have no business goals at all. Free tools like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools are available and relatively easy to set up. Use these to monitor goals, conversion rates, popular pages on your site and the cities that visit you the most.
- Not using ITC for your online marketing - Of course there are many other options out there for online marketing and search engine optimization, but we do a pretty good job of making our customers more visible, and helping them achieve their goals. Here's the proof!
Using all of these methods will definitely get you noticed by the search engines, but for the wrong reasons, which could lead to penalization or worse, de-indexing. Following the basic suggestions mentioned above will help you avoid that, and make your website more susceptible and beautiful to the search engines.