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Are you Guilty of any of the 7 Deadly Search Engine Sins?

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Posted 19th December 2008 at 03:29 PM by Suzanne Morrison

Are you tired of waiting for your website to reach the top of the search engine ranks? Or are you getting far less visitors than you would like from Google? If this sounds like you, read on and find out whether you are committing any of these search engine sins!

Sin 1 – Keyword Ignorance

One of the most common mistakes that people make when creating a website is to completely disregard keyword research. The result? You could end up building a website around keywords that nobody searches on or you could build a site using the most competitive keywords on the internet and have to wait forever to see any results.

At a minimum you should pay a quick visit to the free Google Adwords Keyword tool and type in a few keyword ideas. Take a look at the results and be sure that the keywords you pick have a good number of searches per month. Also type your keywords into Google and make sure that you feel confident about beating the competition and getting your site on to the first page of results.

Sin 2 – Keyword Spamming & Hidden Text

Mentioning your keywords hundreds of times throughout your web page or making big lists of keywords with a font color that is the same as the background color is not going to help your search engine rank. Neither is adding keywords that have nothing to do with the content of your page. Search Engines are smarter than that.

Remember that you are writing primarily for your visitors, not the search engines. You do want to mention your keywords in specific places such as the TITLE tag, H1 tag, alt text and throughout your copy, but don’t overdo it. If it doesn’t sound right when you read it back, you have probably gone too far.

Sin 3 – Only Optimizing the Home Page

Many people will spend all their time concentrating on optimizing the home page. The home page is often the most important page on your website with the most visitors, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of your website.

Choose different keywords for each page on your website and for each blog post you make. This will allow you to “multiply” your search engine traffic. Even if you choose less popular, less competitive keywords this can have a dramatic impact on your traffic if you have lots of optimized pages on your site.

Sin 4 – Not knowing your Competition

Before you go ahead and optimize a page on your website for a particular keyword phrase you should take a look at the websites that you are competing with.

Enter your keywords into Google without the quotes and take a look at the web pages on the first two pages of results. Most people don’t go past page 2 of the results when they are searching, so you need to be able to compete with the sites on the first two pages.

Are these sites big multinational companies? Do they have high page ranks or thousands of backlinks? If so, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t compete with them, but you should at least have an understanding of where your site is in comparison to these sites and make an educated guess about whether or not you can compete with them.

Sin 5 – Bad Linking

It pays to be careful about who you link to. Linking to “bad neighborhoods” i.e. sites that have been penalized by the search engines could have a detrimental effect on your own ranking. Similarly, selling text links on your website is also looked upon as bad by the search engines.

You should also be careful about how many links you have on a single page. The Google webmaster guidelines state that you shouldn’t have more than 100 links on a single web page.

Sin 6 – Poor Navigation

Having a site with a poor navigation structure or using exclusively javascript menus could result in your website not getting fully
indexed by the search engines.

Search engines can’t read javascript, so be sure that if you do have a javascript menu, supplement it with a text based menu. You should also make sure that visitors and search engines can easily find all the pages on your website. One way to do this is to generate a site map.

Sin 7 – No Off Site Optimization

Finally, one of the things that you cannot afford to forget about is off site optimization. This means getting lots of backlinks from related, good quality websites and using your keywords and variations of your keywords in the anchor text.

Building backlinks is the best way to increase your position in the search engine ranks and you should aim to grow your backlinks steadily over time.

For more tips on improving your search engine rank sign up for my Free SEO Course by email.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2472 Comments 3
Total Comments 3


  1. New Comment
    Good advice
    Posted 6th January 2009 at 01:02 PM by gerry5 gerry5 is offline
  2. New Comment
    GT's Avatar

    SEO Tips

    Hey, Suzanne:

    Excellent post! Great search engine info and insight.

    And it's equally great to see you blogging here, too.

    GT Bulmer
    Posted 25th January 2009 at 05:20 PM by GT GT is offline
  3. New Comment
    Hello Suzanne,
    I am glad i found you here. Great blog and I hope you will help with all 7 sins to resurrect my website.
    Lenka Nikuljska
    Home Business Ideas and Opportunities at
    Posted 14th May 2009 at 07:35 AM by lenkanik lenkanik is offline

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