Avoid the Mistakes New SEOs Make

Are you new to doing SEO? You’re probably reading as much as you can, and facing a flood of information, much of it conflicting. There are certain mistakes that nearly every new SEO makes. Keep reading to learn what they are and how to avoid making them.

Focusing on the Meta Keyword Tag

Do not stress about the Meta Keyword tag. If your website is on page 80 for your keyword, nothing will change if you add the keyword tag stuffed with all your phrases. This tag has been abused so much in the past that Google ignores it altogether. If you have a minute, go ahead and plug in some of your keywords, but do no stress too much.

“Should the keywords in the keywords meta tag be separated by commas or not?” Test your knowledge by answering this question now. You will get the answer at the end of the article, so continue reading.

Focusing on Keyword Density

Just like the keyword meta tag, this factor has no effect on search engine rankings. If you change the density from 3.2% to 6.7%, nothing will happen. Your site will not move an inch in the search results.

What can happen, though, is that Google can penalize you for keyword stuffing. In fact, it is very important to appear as natural as possible. If you’re targeting the key phrase “montreal car dealership,” then make sure there are several occurrences of this phrase in the text, but also include each word separately: “montreal,” “car” and “dealership.”

Stuffing Keywords in H1, H2 and Other Parts of the Page

If you’re targeting a keyword, it can be dangerous putting the word in the title tag, H1 tag, H2 tag, H3 tag and all the other parts of the page. It is okay to use the term when it is relevant, but be careful. For example, make sure this does not happen:

Keyword example “make money”

Title: “make money”

H1: “make money”

H2: “make money”

H3: “make money”

If you do want to include the phrase as much as possible, use it along with other phrases. For example:

Title: “Learn How to Make Money With Your Small Business”

H1: “Make Money With Our Get Rich Quick Scheme”

H2: “This Guy Has Been Making a Lot of Money By Scratching His Butt All Day”

H3: “What Can You do To Make More Money”

In the example you can see that we have our phrase in all the tags, but it is not stuffed and looks natural (of course, you should avoid get-rich-quick schemes that promise you mountains of money).

{mospagebreak title=Optimizing the Entire Site for One Phrase}

Target only one phrase per page. If you’re after the term “make money,” then only one page should be optimized for that word. Only in rare circumstances should you optimize more than one page for one keyword – for example, when you want to get an indented listing.

If you want to increase the relevancy, then add pages with related phrases, not the same keywords.

Reciprocal Linking

Reciprocal linking = you link to me, I link to you.

The days of reciprocal linking are gone. Google can penalize your website for reciprocal links, along with Yahoo and Live Search. It is okay to link out to a source, which then happens to link back to you, but its NOT okay to have a page specifically dedicated to your reciprocal link partners. Aim for one-way links from other websites. You create linkbait, buy links or outsource link building altogether.

Spending Too Much Time on Onpage Optimization

You can spend a lot of time tweaking titles, tags and other on-page elements. When there are no results, or results are slow, it is tempting re-tweak everything hoping it will help. This is a big mistake new SEOs make. Do your onsite SEO once and leave it alone. Focus on content and links instead.

Go back only:

  • If you get penalized or sandboxed – it makes sense to go through your on site factors then, and correct all elements that might have caused the penalty.

  • If you gain your desired rankings and would like to add more phrases – once you get the ranking you want, you can tweak title and page elements in order to pick more keywords and score more rankings for related phrases.

Otherwise, leave your onsite SEO alone for several months.

{mospagebreak title=Using the Google Link Command to Analyze Links}

Google does not show inbound link data for any domains. The data is limited and distorted to prevent search engine optimizers from knowing too much. If you want to get link data on a domain use:

  • Yahoo Site Explorer

  • Yahoo Search’s “linkdomain” command

  • Majestic SEO

  • Linkscape

  • Live Search “link” and “linkdomain” commands

Stressing About Duplicate Content Too Much

Duplicate content is evil, but it all depends on the type of content you have. For example, an ecommerce website with database listings and tracking IDs has to worry about duplicate content, since the database can produce hundreds of duplicates for hundreds of pages.

If, on the other hand, somewhere on your site you have two duplicate pages, it will not affect your rankings. Duplicate content really hurts when it’s on a massive scale, not when you have couple of duplicate pages on a 100-page website. Don’t spend too much time worrying about duplicates if you have a relatively small static website (check it once in a while). Worry about it if you have a shopping cart or a database.

Using Robot TXT Exclusion Instead of No Follow to Block Link Juice

If you’re doing page rank sculpting and excluding some pages from getting the juice (like terms of use, privacy, etc), you MUST use the nofollow tag. A page excluded in the robot.txt file will not be accessed by the Googlebot, but it will still receive link power. To block link juice flow, always use nofollow (note the no follow must be applied to all the links that point to the page you want to exclude).

Ignoring Other Search Engines

I am guilty as hell on this one. In fact I get paranoid about it. What if I focus on Yahoo and my rankings drop on Google? This is the biggest fear that stops people from optimizing for anything other than Google, and it is understandable… what if rankings do drop…..? =))))

Yahoo and Live still hold around 30 percent of the search engine market, and have good quality traffic, so consider optimizing for them. They don’t have a sandbox effect, and still count directory and sitewide links better than Google. Just make sure your rankings don’t drop on Google =))).

{mospagebreak title=Forgetting the XML Sitemaps}

Did you forget the sitemaps? There are two sitemaps; one is for users and the other is for the search engines.

What is an XML sitemap?

According to XML Sitemaps, "A sitemap is a way of organizing a website, identifying the URLs and the data under each section. Previously, the sitemaps were primarily geared for the users of the website. However, Google’s XML format was designed for the search engines, allowing them to find the data faster and more efficiently."

In essence, an XML sitemap records a new URL added to a site, so search spiders can easily find it. Sitemaps help search spiders know about all your URLs.

There are many sitemap generator services online; just do a search. Google webmaster Tools has a built-in sitemap generator. All services are free, so don’t ever pay a penny to anyone.

Spending Too Much Time Reading Blogs, Forums and Other SEO Resources

Don’t get me wrong; you need to continuously acquire knowledge, learn new techniques and stay up with the news. The mistake some people make is to get so obsessed with articles on SEO, conversion optimization, copywriting, testing, etc. that they end up reading, but not doing. It’s a case of the eternal student syndrome – always learning, but never using. As a result, the person does not really progress or grow, but stays on the same spot.

A good approach is to balance the two. Learn something, and then try it for yourself. Test it out few times, see how it works, get a feel for it. Once you feel you’ve gotten pretty good at it, learn some more.

Learn > Try > Learn > Try > Learn > Try > Copy the Best > Learn Some More

The Eternal Student Syndrome:

Learn > ohh whats this, i need to learn it to be ready > learn > ohh i need it to be perfect so i’ll learn some more > Learn > i need to know more > learn > i need to know everything before I start > learn…

In the end, the person who continues learning without practice is afraid to take the actual steps, fail and try again. Everything has to be perfect before he starts. I say this because I’ve done it, not only in SEO. It doesn’t work. You need practice to learn effectively. Learn > Practice > Fail > Learn From Mistakes > Practice More > Get New Info > Apply it…. etc

Good luck.

So, have You done your homework? “Should the keywords in the keywords meta tag be separated by commas or not?”

And the answer is….


It doesn’t matter, because the keyword meta tag has no impact anyway.

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