Search engine optimization is not an easy undertaking, as anyone who is employed at it probably knows. Whether you’re focusing solely on Google or hitting multiple engines, there is a lot of information that must be compiled, sorted, and analyzed if you want to streamline your efforts and realize success. However, there are several ways that you can throw a wrench in the works if you’re just starting out (or trying to cut corners). Here are a few of the worst catastrophes you can encounter and how to stop them from happening in the first place.
- Getting booted from search engines. This is not a common occurrence (let’s face it: the web is huge and there are millions of new sites popping up every day – that’s a lot for search engines to police). However, it can and does happen to websites that are breaking the rules or simply operating negligently. To avoid getting booted, make sure you know the guidelines (generally provided in easily perusable PDF format by every search engine) and stick to them as much as possible. Also, avoid black hat tactics that bring you a lot of traffic but also raise red flags.
- Getting booted from forums and blogs. Nothing will get you ousted faster than spamming, so avoid it at all costs. If you want to get your name on the forums to try to bring in some targeted traffic, take the time to converse with and get to know other insiders in your field. They may be able to offer advice to help you in your endeavors (and vice versa) and they may even be willing to put in a good word for you with others. As for guest posting and commenting on blogs, make it relevant, follow their rules, and post your link only once if you want to keep playing in the sandbox. The goodwill you garner will get you a lot further than the annoying practice of posting your link repeatedly.
- Over-optimizing. Making a play for more visitors by attaching a ton of keywords to your pages won’t really help you to achieve your overarching goal of sustainable traffic. You will likely see bursts of visitors that will never return because you don’t actually have what they’re looking for. In addition, having too many of the same keywords can cause some confusion for the search engine and you may end up sending a lot of visitors to the wrong place, which can be frustrating enough to drive them away for good.
- Under-optimizing. Tempting as it is to streamline the process by using a finite amount of keywords, this practice can be just as deadly to your efforts as over-optimizing. You want to choose file names that are going to aptly describe your content so that it can be found by any and all who are interested. So make sure that your minimalist tendencies don’t get in the way of forward progress.
- Keyword inadequacies. Choosing the right keywords is practically an art form. While you can certainly capitalize on keywords that are “hot”, dragging in visitors who are looking for something you can’t deliver will only ensure that you lose traffic in the long run. Work on making your descriptors concise and relevant if you want to see maximum results from your efforts.
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