Thursday, December 21, 2006

Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid

By Joe Laratro, Chief Technology Officer

During the recent WebmasterWorld conference in Las Vegas, there was a session entitled, "Interactive Site Reviews and SERP (SERP = Search Engine Result Page) Quality Control Forum". This panel consisted of top representatives from Google, Yahoo, and other industry experts. The goal of this session was to have audience members volunteer their Web sites for review by the panel. This was a double-edged sword. While the feedback was priceless, it was embarrassing when spammy techniques were uncovered.

Every Web site that was reviewed employed at least one major spam technique recognized by the panel. The audience member’s usual response was that of surprise; they wanted plausible deniability that they did not know it was a bad technique or that someone else within their company was at fault.

Some of the top reviewed mistakes:

* Link Farms - almost every site had them. They are plain and simple spam. Penalties are given by the Search Engines for participating in them.
* Duplicate Content - A few sites had session ids, others had multiple domains with the same content, or multiple paths to the same content on the same domain.
* Duplicate or Unnecessary Meta Tags – Description and Keyword are the main meta tags recognized by search engines.
* Over optimized Meta information - There can be only one Title tag on the page. Alt tags and H1 tags should be optimized.
* Do not register domains that are trying to capture AdSense dollars in the same account that you register your main domain. Search Englwines can quickly tie domains together based on readily available domain registration information. It is undesirable to have poor quality domains associated with high quality domains.
* Do not use a 3rd party database to populate a Web site without customizing the content.
* Do not hide text. This is a poor technique that is very easy to identify.

Since the problems were reoccurring, the composition of participants was of interest. They were mainly webmasters, online marketers, and Web site owners. This group paid to be at a conference known for its high caliber of Search Engine

Marketing & Optimization information. Besides being brave enough to participate, most of them had a complaint about why their Web site was not ranking well.

Spam is spam. There are some grey areas of techniques used for optimizing a Web site, but the mistakes mentioned above are absolute no-no's. Inexperienced Web marketers could harm a Web site without proper guidance. The saying, "it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission" is not applicable to SEO. Spam penalties levied by a Search Engine can cripple a Web site's organic traffic.

The WebmasterWorld conferences are a great forum for communication between Webmasters, etc. and Search Engines. Answers to online marketing questions can also be found through reputable Search Engine Marketing Companies. MoreVisibility is currently offering a free service called “Ask an SEO Expert”. One of our Natural Search engineers will try to answer one SEO question about a Web site Free of Charge. Visit this page for more information:

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