If you are new to the internet marketing scene, you may have come across the term “search engine optimization (SEO)” or “SEO for newbies”. Search engine optimization can be a bit daunting for a new website owner, but if you can learn how to do the basics well, you can do very well in the search engine results pages (SERPS) – you just need to avoid a few mistakes that other people are making.
If you want to get the most out of SEO, you need to be able to organize your efforts to get your website to rank well for keywords that your target audience is searching for. The five mistakes I see often from my clients are:
1. Choosing the wrong keywords
This is probably the most common mistake that people make when trying to optimize their search engine rankings. The last time you looked up the term “merce tricks” in a search engine, you probably entered something like “fresh goods for wholesale prices.” What you want to do is pick keywords that people are searching for, but that are not too competitive so you have a chance to rank well in the SERPS. If you can’t find a suitable keyword, or if you can’t get to the top of the SERPS, you probably need to revise your keyword.
2. Using "linking" or "directories" as your main link anchor text
Linking text is anchor text used to link to your site from another website; directories, like DMOZ, are a good example. This doesn’t have as much impact as it once did, but some people still do it. Just be sure that you vary the anchor text from site to site. If all your anchor links are the same, or all link to the same url, the search engines might consider these links to be the same. And the results webpage will be penalized for this as well.
3. Assuming your website is indexed
This is a fairly common mistake for a new website. Being indexed in the SERPS is a sign that the search engines have found your site and that it is worthwhile to be included in the search results. But if you’ve never submitted your site to the search engines, or you’re website is new, it’s possible that the search engines haven’t found it yet. Dont forget to submit your website to the major search engines.
4. Using meta tags as your only SEO technique
Some people will spend months writing meta tags and incorporating keywords into them only to have their site 404 error forever ban their url from the SERPS. Meta tags include the title, description and keyword tags. Although the meta keyword tag is not nearly as powerful as it once was, incorporated keywords and phrases should be included in your meta tag content as well as in your on page copy.
5. Having a "Links" page only to other internal links
Make sure that your “Links” page contains no links to other internal pages and that you never link to any other site on your site with your site-wide links. Having a Links” page with no links to other content will also prevent the search engines from considering your site to be thematic.
Of course there is much more that can be done to increase your SERPS, but try not to go overboard with too many different things at once. Whenever you are optimizing your site for more than 2 or 3 keywords, you have to be smart about it and make sure that you are being as efficient as possible with how you are optimizing your site.