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David Ziguras April 30th, 2009

Search Engine Optimisation is not something that should be approached or performed with a blanket approach. Successful search engine optimisation (SEO) and online marketing is an individual set of actions performed page by page to suit that page’s particular goals. At Newpath WEB, we break up our SEO clients’ websites into specific and important pages based on the keyword terms we have identified through research; then write the first few pages to suit those terms. We associate page titles, page file names, H1 tags, description and keyword Meta tags and in page content to tell the story that match those identified keywords. It is also important to ensure your pages are W3C compliant and have no errors.

Here are some of the main seo mistakes that we have seen made over the years by people trying to self-optimise their websites.

Filename of the page
It is important if you are using dynamic websites such as WordPress and other content management systems that a search engine friendly URL translator is installed. Installing a search engine friendly URL component will change page names to something more meaningful and also including your keywords in these page names can help with SEO. If you do not have a dynamic website then ensuring your page name is short, to the point and contains your main keywords for that page maybe with a call to action like “buy” and “SEO solution”.

Duplicate or Bad Content
Ensuring your content is unique and relevant is a critical element for SEO success. Write decent and unique content, or search online and find someone who can actually write you decent unique content for a fee – copywriters. Ensure the content is good quality, friendly and unique, that people will want to link to. If you are listed in the supplemental index of Google then making sure you titles, descriptions, Meta keywords and on page content is unique is the only way to drag them out of the supplemental index.

Bad Titles
Titles are one of the most important elements on a webpage. Search engines spiders see the title of your page first and they make a general assessment about it based upon this. They scan the page and make sure the content of the page matches the title and then assign rankings based upon these matches and how they best fit. The title tag is the best way to inform the search engine what your page is about, and they play an important part in ranking if used properly. Placing your main identified keywords in the title and ensuring to obey the rule of leftward and stemming is vital – leftward rule, the closer the word to the left of the sentence the more important it is, stemming is where words can be associated but with words in-between i.e.: Great Search Engine Optimisation Solutions when stemmed would allow Great Search Engine Optimisation. It is important to ensure your title matches your page content, description and Meta keywords and in unique for your website. Every page title and content should be unique otherwise is will be ranked supplemental.

No Links
Links are part of your off page SEO strategy. For each website that links to your website it is a vote for your site. If the website that links to yours has a high page rank itself then it carries more weight as far as search engines are concerned. Simply having good keywords, titles and text on your page is only one part of SEO. Just because you created a unique and perfectly optimised webpage does not mean you will automatically gain a decent page rank for that page. In order to ensure SEO success you have to create incoming links – this is probably the hardest part of search engine optimisation because you are effectively selling your pages all over the Internet. One way to gain instant (within a few weeks) links is to pay for text advertising – A search on Google will uncover some of the best text linking services. These days, Link exchanges are bad because for every vote you get you are giving one away and if you happen to link to a “black listed” site then Google will penalise you significantly. One way links are the ultimate in SEO link campaigns so seek out directories (either paid or free), post in forums, write articles and submit them and ask other friendly web masters if they can help you out with a link. The best way to gain links is to have unique content that other people actually want to link to.

Bad Internal Page Links
Internal links are part of your on page SEO strategy. It is important to make sure that the anchor text linking to pages within your own website is relevant to the target page. Make sure the title tag is filled in for each link. You have the greatest control over links from within your own website so make sure they are relevant and that link title and the on page copy match the main keywords of the target page.

Live links
Using some external tools such as link checkers are good. Newpath WEB suggest harnessing as many tools as you can to ensure all of the links on your website are live, working and not sending people to 404 error pages. It is also important to check and make sure your page markup, or html and xhtml is valid.

Incoming link anchor text

The text should be targeted at your main keywords and the page they point to should have those keywords as relevant and prominent also. The website you link from should be relevant to your website.

All good things take time
Search Engine Optimisation is not a short term project or task. SEO is an ongoing, day by day process. Producing unique content, checking it, validating, listing and checking the search engines and making sure they have it listed correctly. Do not think for one second that you can optimise your site thoroughly and do not ever think that just because you are number one for a search term that it will indefinitely stay that way. Search Engine Companies are always changing their ranking and rating systems and coupled with this there are always other people out there gunning for your top spot. Keep looking to improve and learn more and don’t sit back and wait for others to take your top spot, be proactive, seek out new content, and new links.

Keyword Spamming and Stuffing
If you sell “SEO solutions” then every page of your site does not need to have ” SEO solutions ” in the title, description and Meta tags. Try and be objective and analyse you website. Focus pages on a specific group of keywords you have identified from the keyword list. Sometimes finding niche markets locally first can be best. So, as an example, “SEO solutions Melbourne” or “SEO professionals Melbourne”. These would be examples of good second or even third tier search keyword phrases but you can make some good sales with these niche terms because the searcher is targeting buying these items.

Keyword selection
Poor keyword section is one of the most common mistakes made by SEO beginners.
All too often people base their own keyword selection on what they *think* is right but is this what people actually search for when they are looking for your product or service? Often the answer to this questions is no. It is an important step to do the correct keyword research and ensure you have the right keyword list before you optimise any pages with them. Using Overture, Google Adwords and some other paid keyword tools like WordTracker are vital to success in finding good keywords. It is important to localise your target market and figure out what they are actually searching on when they are looking for products or services that you offer. Do the research and be as specific as possible while still being broad enough to capture some generic keyword traffic.

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