I love it when I can attend the DFWSEM quarterly meetings. They always have a great energy, and I always, always learn something. (Usually alot of somethings)
Unfortunately, I just can’t make it to all the meetings, but fortunately, I can download the notes from their blog.
The last meeting was on July 16th and they covered two topics. Outrageous Tips and Tricks that Allow You to Quickly Fail at Natural Search and the same for Pay Per Click.
I’m not a Pay Per Click person, mostly because we just haven’t devoted the resources to it yet for my company, but I am always excited to learn more about it. I’ll sum up and provide my commentary to those tips in my next post.
And now, on to the Organic Search tips. These are the tips with my intriguing insight, but you can skip my babble and download their pretty, pretty presentations from their blog.
How to Quickly Fail At Natural Search
- Not Having Any High Authority Inbound Links:This is so important I had to move it to the top. You need these inbound links and they can’t be from a shady source. Get your links the old fashioned way: submit quality press releases, reach out to organizations in your industry, submit articles, have link-worthy content, and what the hell, ask for links.
- Explosive inbound link growth: its such an obvious sign of a hard core campaign, your links should grow over time. That said, sometimes we all play ‘catch-up’ and blast the world with our news all at once…like me finally getting around to this new blog)
- Improper use of internal linkage
- Use of “marketing speak” vs “consumer search speak”: You have to use the words people are searching for in your content. Don’t let sales write your content, do your research, see what people are searching for, and write to that.
- Shallow on page word counts
- Shallow content depth, in terms of unique site pages: Having tons of pages that mirror one another doesn’t mean as much as tons of pages that are unique and useful.
- No presence of a site map: Not having a site map is really just asking for it. Your site map tells bots and less often people just what’s on the menu for your site. I suggest a pretty html site map that is accessible from the front-end and an xml site map that the bots can use.
- Session IDs in the URL string
- Too many value parameters in the URL string
- Too much extraneous code (inline CSS, JS, PHP, etc): If you still aren’t using a good CMS that takes care of this problem, then you’re crazy. Even if you’re using Dreamweaver for your site, you can look at the code and clean it up before you publish it.
- Using Flash for Navigation: This one is a pet peeve to all of us that care about SEO and accessibility. Flash is cool, it looks awesome when its done right, but if you can’t see, you can’t use it. This means you’re shutting out the millions of vision impared folks in the world and our good friends the search bots. If you client/organization demands a flash menu, back it up with an html menu. The html menu will display to anyone without flash and the bots and screen readers can use it.
- Using Images for Text Elements: Another pet peeve. Sure, its easier to draw that table in paint and slap a screen shot of it up on the website, but don’t ever ever do it! I have one instance of this on one of my sites and it drives me insane. (I will get it changed one of these days!) If you client absolutely insists on the image, then the alt tag is your new best friend.
- Using Flash for Text Elements:See the previous 2 rants
- Rebuilding on a New Domain with a Bad Search History: Before you purcahse that new domain, do your homework. You need to find out if that domain has ever been used for black hat seo. If it has, that bad history is now your problem.
- New Domain
- Site has 60% + duplicate content: Just create original content.
- Cloaking irrelevant or non-identical content
- Same Color Text and Background: This is pure, right out, black-hat SEO. Don’t do it. Yes, it will increase your keywords on the page. Yes, it will get you blocked. Don’t do it.
- Keyword Stuffing in the Title Element: A title is a title, don’t take advantage of it to stuff it with keywords. A Title longer than 6 words is very suspect.
- Not Having a Listing in Yahoo, DMOZ or Business.com: These are fairly easy to obtain, just go to their sites and submit your site.
- Not Having Any High Authority Inbound Links: This should really be at the top of the list. Its a killer. Actually, I’m copying this to the top of the list. Hold on…Ok, there we are.
- Linking from a bad neighborhood: The source of your links matters. See previous rant.
- Poor Design
- Poor approach to Writing
- Lack of Keyword Rich Anchor Text in Internal Linking Structure: This is what I call the “click here” effect. You see it all the time. I’m sure its on my own website. That anchor text should guide the user to do something even if all the text around it is gone. For example “Click Here to download the MySoftwareRocks2.0 user guide” leaves you with Click Here. But saying “We recommend that you Download the MySoftwareRocks2.0 User Guide leaves you with Download the MySoftwareRocks2.0 User Guide. And look how we snuck in that keyword.
- Poor Calls to Action on Landing Pages: So, you got them to read your email/ad and go to the website. Now what? There needs to be a clear call to action. Try using a link with rich anchor text!
- Lack of SEO Process: SEO is just the first step, you’ve got to remember what you did and be able to analyze those results.
- Keyword Stuffing in Alt Text: I know, I know, I told you to use that Alt text to your advantage. And that you should. Describe what is in the image using the words and phrases your web visitors use. And then stop. Don’t add more and more and more keywords in there just to be adding them in there.
- Over Aggressive Robots.txt
- Redesigning a website and launching without 301 redirects: This should just speak for itself…
Next up: How to Really Mess Up Your Pay Per Click!