Siteimprove Web Governance Blog

Simple, yet lethal SEO no-no's

Posted by Jessica O'Sullivan

2/19/13 3:07 AM

Seo _wall _errors

“A website is like an island resort. It serves no purpose if no one can find it” Dr. Clinton Cimring, Trademarker of the acronym S.E.O

While most of us focus a lot of our time and money on improving our SEO, it's often the basics that are our undoing. With that in mind, we've come up with a list of common elementary mistakes that people make time and time again. And remember if your SEO efforts still aren't paying off then it may be time to consider investing in an SEO tool that helps take the mystery out of it.

Forgetting to dot your I's and cross your T's

Imagine if from this point onwards you decided never to add a subject to your emails again. Besides ticking off your boss and colleagues you'd probably also find out that you didn't get many answers. The same applies to forgetting to title your web pages or having the same title on duplicate pages. Without an engaging and descriptive title not only will Google struggle to find you, but your conversion rate will suffer. It's also important to remember that your title tag is what people are going to see when they are looking in search engines, bookmarks, or link to your page via social networks. If you're just using your company name or some other useless generic text then you should kick yourself, hard, right now.       

Being too flashy for your own good

While there may be occasions when flash is needed for websites, these occasions are few and far between. Designing parts or heaven forbid a whole website in flash is going to make it hard, if not impossible for search engines to read you. Flash also has the tendency to annoy users - as this website, aptly titled The World's Worst Website, so excellently demonstrates. If users feel like reaching for a stiff drink after being on your site something's going wrong.

Using irrelevant keywords

Knowing how to correctly use keywords is essential for good SEO. There's nothing worse than spending time and money on formulating a great site or blog to have no-one read it. Finding the right keywords for your business can be tricky, especially when you consider that many potential customers may misspell keywords or use different terminology from what you'd expect. To find the right keywords it's essential to use web diagnostic tools, as well as your own analytics to give you an insight into what terms are actually converting for you.

Thinking Sex Appeal doesn't matter
"Sex appeal" and "URLs" may not exactly go together, but with evidence suggesting that long URLs act as a deterrent to users clicking rates, it is important to consider how your URLs appear. SEO expert and author Stephen Spencer found that short URLs are often clicked on twice as often as long ones. By comparison, long URLs can draw attention away from your search engine listing, helping to place the emphasis onto your competitors instead.   

Linking like it's 1999

Just as peeling paint can make a room look outdated so too can overly simple anchor text links. The soul crushingly common 'click here', 'read me' and 'buy me' links are for many people synonymous with outdated websites and outdated businesses. These ugly links needn't happen though as controlling your links is one of the many little things you can do to improve your SEO. So make sure that when you're linking you're using optimized anchor text.  


All too often people seem to think of SEO and Analytics as existing completely separately of each other. Clever people however will know that neither are anything without the other. Understanding how to do SEO better also requires understanding your users, their behavior, traffic hubs, preferred search engines and so forth. The more you know about your site and users, the better you'll be able to optimize content for searchers. 

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Topics: SEO

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