Many people talk about how to optimize a website for better ranking in search engines. But it is also important to know what can weaken a site’s positions – and what can even seriously harm the site.
Here’s what NOT to do in SEO:
- Don’t use auto-redirects from one of your sites to another. This will result in getting the page/site that redirects out of the search engine index; and thus, it won’t be found and visited. The pagerank weight of this page will NOT pass to where it automatically redirects, either. It makes more sense to give some useful content or information on that page and place a visible, optimized link to the site where you want your visitors go. If the redirection is a must, use 301-redirect.
- Don’t use pop-ups. Pop-up windows are not just annoying for your visitors, they are also never indexed by search engine bots. Most Internet users have the pop-ups blocked by default no matter which web-browser they use. Most toolbars block pop-ups as well. Even if you wish to risk upsetting your visitors with pop-ups, keep in mind that your message won’t be seen anyway and it won’t be found elsewhere.
- Don’t get any of the error pages of your site into search engine indexes. Analyze your site on this matter and if you find any error pages indexed (”page not found,” ”session expired,” etc.), remove them by adding them to the robots.txt file not to index. By the way, if people try to find something that isn’t there, make sure they see a custom 404 page with your branding, on which you ask them to visit the major pages of your site and/or to contact you for more information.
- Don’t use the same title tag or same meta-tags for all the pages on your site. Otherwise all the pages will compete for the same term and harm each other. This also looks lame to visitors and the impression might turn them off even if you offer something relevant. You’ll miss much traffic if you don’t create a special title and a description for each page.
- Don’t use dynamic URLs, which include strings like ”php?new=april&2008” that tell Google or Yahoo that the page isn’t static. Use clear URLs instead. If the page is dynamic make sure your programmer transfers it into the clean version through the .htaccess file settings or on the server. The clean URL looks like this: http://mobilestorm.com/stun/ . The bad one will look like this: http://mobilestorm.com/?cat=stun?search=stun&pricing . Don’t use characters like ampersand, question mark, equal sign, etc. Also don’t have session IDs (i.e. cookies) because they will be skipped by spiders. Try to use letters and digits only after the domain extension and a forward slash (after ”.com/” for example). Otherwise search engines might think you are trying to manipulate them and most likely won’t include those pages in their indexes.
- Don’t use ”click here,” ”follow this link,” or ”home” texts in your links. You won’t help your own pages rank higher without supporting them with better optimized links from your other pages, and thus will lose traffic from search engines. Make sure these links are keyword-rich, well-seen, and direct. The same thing applies to your titles and headers: Don’t use ”Welcome!” or ”Hello, world!” and other non-speaking titles or headers unless you want to rank high for these particular keywords.
That’s enough for now. Next time I’ll tell you more that you shouldn’t do in SEO. Talk to you soon!
Director, Online Marketing
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