Top Ten SEO Mistakes

There is lot of SEO commentary on the net, but the essentials are sometimes overlooked.

Here are my Top Ten SEO Mistakes To Avoid.

  1. No Marketing Plan – if you don’t know who your market is, and what they want, high search engine rankings will not help you. You’ll just chew bandwidth and raise your opportunity cost.
  2. Selecting Keyword Terms Based Only On Traffic Volume – “I need to be number #1 for “cars”, because the term “cars” recieves a lot of search queries and I sell “cars”! That won’t do you a lot of good if you only sell cars in Fiji. See #1.
  3. Selecting Keyword Terms That Have Very Little To Do With Your Service or Product – the days of drag-net SEO using off-topic keyword terms are long gone. Be specific. If you sell cars in Fiji, you want keyword terms like “car dealers Fiji”, and semantic variations thereof.
  4. Failure To Use Keywords That Your Target Market Is Actually Using – the copy writing printed in your corporate brochure isn’t how your customers actually talk. It certainly isn’t the way they phrase search queries. Listen to how customers ask for your goods and services. Those are your keyword terms. Find variations of these terms using keyword research tools.
  5. Thinking All Search Engines Are The Same – they’re not. What pleases Yahoo! and MSN does not necessarily please Google. If your audience uses MSN, then work out what MSN wants and deliver it. The solutions can be complex and varied, depending on how…cough…determined you are, however, if you want to hit a middle ground, all search engines tend to like keywords in the links (at the time of writing).
  6. Relying on Keyword Density – a redundant technique. Instead, stay on-topic and incorporate your keyword terms. How often do you repeat the keyword terms? If you read your copy aloud, and it sounds odd, you’ve overdone it.
  7. Poor Titles – When a visitor looks at a SERP, they have 10, or more, choices. Think of titles like newspaper headlines. Repeat the search keyword term and make the title enticing. Think Adwords. In fact, look at how the Adwords advertisers have written their ads for your chosen keyword terms. Chances are, those Adwords on the top have high click-thru rates. They’ve got their titles right.
  8. Not Getting Links – links are really important. Really. Really, links are really important. Did I mention that links are important? Link acquisition is essential strategy. Depending on your topic area, you probably don’t need many, but you do need some.
  9. Thinking That Hacking Code Will Solve All Problems – For most sites, advanced SEO trickery isn’t necessary. Stick to the search engine guidelines, keep your visitor in mind, write like they speak, ensure your site can be crawled, network in your space, get links. Repeat.
  10. Not Thinking Beyond SEO – After a visitor arrives, what then? If you’re not serving their needs after they arrive, then your SEO effort and expense has been wasted. See #1.

Good SEO has a lot in common with good marketing 🙂

  1. Bjorn SolstadBjorn Solstad05-29-2006

    The most important mistake in my opinion is your last one, no. 10.

    I have done it many times, and keep doing it. But it is THE mistake we cannot afford to do. Letting the visitor down when he actually clicks on the link, and then backs out of the site within a few seconds. That is really unforgivable.

  2. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo05-29-2006

    “I have done it many times, and keep doing it….letting the visitor down”

    Too True. I think we’ve all done it at some point, Bjorn 🙂

    Avoiding the back click is king…

  3. Top Ten ListsTop Ten Lists10-30-2006

    […] Peter Da Vanzo’s Top Ten SEO Mistakes […]

  4. King CobraKing Cobra09-01-2008

    Selecting keywords that are popular but that your site is not in a position to compete with no matter how good your optimization is. Start small, work your way up.

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