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The 8 Most Common Pitfalls of SEO

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Samantha MacArthur of Forty First tells us about:

The 8 Most Common Pitfalls of SEO

We don’t want to worry you, but with any marketing campaign, whether it’s online or offline, there are often going to be pitfalls. The good news, however, is that most problems you might face from your search engine optimisation can be remedied.

We reveal 8 of the most common pitfalls that people encounter with their optimisation projects and what you can do to resolve them.

Read more at Common Pitfalls

Talk to Sam McArthur about your search engine optimisation at CertainShops.



The 8 Most Common Pitfalls of SEO
We don’t want to worry you, but with any marketing campaign, whether it’s online or offline, there are often going to be pitfalls. The good news, however, is that most problems you might face from your search engine optimisation can be remedied.

Below we reveal 8 of the most common pitfalls that people encounter with their optimisation projects and what you can do to resolve them.

1. Wrong Keywords

All too often people choose the wrong keywords in their optimisation. High traffic keywords can be desirable but often they’re the ones which are also highly competitive. If you choose keywords that are too competitive then you’re going to find it difficult to gain high rankings for your website. Similarly, choosing keywords which are too niche also causes problems, not because it’s difficult to gain rankings for them, but you’ll soon find that your traffic levels aren’t increasing because nobody is searching on those words.
If either of these scenarios are the case with your optimisation project, then go back to the drawing board and re-do your keyword research. Find keywords that aren’t so niche that nobody is searching on them, but equally aren’t so competitive you’ve no chance of ever ranking highly for them. It’s a bit of an art, but trial and error should get you there. On a final note, don’t use the same keywords across your website. Unless you only sell one product or service, you should be targeting keywords according to the content of your web pages.

2. Broken Links
Broken links can cause the search engines problems when they come out to index your website. If they can’t find pages or follow bad links to pages that result in errors, then your rankings will suffer. There’s a very useful free tool available called Xenu’s Link Sleuth. Download it to your desktop and run your website’s URL through it – it will let you know of any errors and broken links. It’s probably worth doing this every so often, perhaps every 2 or 3 months, to check, perhaps more often if you have a very large site or often archive material.

3. Website Re-launch
If you’ve re-launched your website and seen all your rankings drop, this is a common problem. When re-launching a site, you need to consider your existing rankings and take measures to ensure you keep them intact, or at least try and minimise the loss of rankings in the search engines. We recently wrote an article all about what you should do when you re-launch a website, so well worth a read if you’re not sure what to do.


4.Meta Refreshes & Java Script Redirects

This is where it gets a bit technical, so please bear with us! Some websites are set up with re-directs to pages, for example, perhaps a URL has changed, or another domain name is being used so the old page re-directs to the new page / URL. However, there is a right way and a wrong way of going about re-directs, and if the wrong way is used, you could find your website doesn’t get indexed at all by the search engines.
If you need to re-direct one URL to another, and it’s a permanent change, then you must use a ‘301 redirect’ which is done on the server. Do not ever use ‘meta refresh’ tags or java script redirects. Search engines don’t like them and if you do choose to use them, expect your rankings to suffer. Your Web Developer or web hosting company should be able to implement this for you.

5. Databases & Content Management Systems
Very large websites which are driven by databases and content management systems can cause problems for search engine ‘spiders’. The ‘spiders’ are effectively software that finds and indexes your website. However, if you have many pages hidden deep into the database or CMS, then you’ll find those pages may not get indexed because it just causes too many problems. If you’re keen to get these pages indexed, then ensure they’re put onto a sitemap of the website, which is within the main navigation of the site. That way the sitemap page will be easily found and all the ‘spider’ has to do is to follow each link on that sitemap page. Also make sure your database URLs aren’t too long and don’t contain session IDs (cookies).

6. Limited Optimisation
Some companies only optimise the home page of their website. If you do this you’re limiting your success in the search engines since any page of a website is a potential entry point for visitors – they don’t all arrive on a site via the home page. It’s important that you optimise as many pages of your website as you can, however small your website is, and if you’re selling more than one product or service then you’re severely limiting yourself by only optimising the home page.

7. Dodgy SEO Tactics
We’ve written about dodgy search engine optimisation tactics several times before in Marketing Karma, and we can’t emphasise enough that it really isn’t worth using underhand tactics to try and gain high rankings quickly. The search engines are really clamping down on spammers and if you find your website removed from the search results because of spam, it’s a difficult and lengthy process to get your website re-included. To learn more about what’s acceptable, read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which will be similar with other search engines.
If you’ve hired an agency and you’re not sure if they’re using ethical methods to promote your website online, then read our white paper on cheap SEO & some of the scams.

8. Impatience
Finally, don’t be too impatient and expect results overnight! Search engine optimisation doesn’t lead to overnight success online, and like any marketing campaigns it takes time to see results. Constantly tweaking your optimisation and making changes to your website means that the optimisation will never get a chance to work, so once you’ve optimised your web pages, leave them alone for a few months and concentrate on other activities instead, such as link building, pay per click advertising, email marketing etc. Use the whole marketing mix and don’t just rely on the search engines alone to deliver traffic and leads.

For more guidance on how to avoid the pitfalls of Search Engine Optimisation, have a chat with Sam MacArthur of Forty First:
Talk to Sam McArthur about your search engine optimisation at CertainShops.

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