The other day I had a meeting with a potential client and we got into a discussion about search engine optimization. She had done a bit of reading about it and had a couple of questions about what she should and shouldn’t do to help SEO her websites. One of the first questions she asked me is whether or not she should throw a bunch of her keywords in the footer of her page and hide them by making them the same color as the background. This is a HUGE no-no when it comes to search engine optimization. It did give me a good idea for a post though! Here are 5 SEO mistakes beginners tend to make.
1) Overusing keyword(s) in content – Even people with a minimum amount of SEO experience tend to know that you want your keyword(s) in the content of your site. This makes them think the more they use it in the content of the site, the better it is. That’s not the case. You definitely want to use your keyword in content, but you definitely don’t want to overuse it. I usually say 3 or 4 times on a page is more than enough.
2) Doing too many link trades too quickly – Google changed the search engine when they decided that the more links your website has going to it, the more your page will climb up the rankings. This started the world of link trades. No, Google doesn’t want you doing link trades – Yes you should still do them. Just don’t go crazy. Mix up the keywords you get for your trades and DON’T get too many trades all at once. If Google sees your site go from 0 links to 100 in a week, they’ll penalize you.
3) Only using keywords in meta description – The meta description tag is just that – a description. You don’t want to use a bunch of your keywords in your meta description, separated by commas, pipes or just spaces. You want to write out a full description for you meta tag in paragraph form.
4) Hiding keywords in the footer – I touched on this in the opening. You don’t want to place a bunch of your keywords in the footer of your site and hide them by making them the same color as your background. This type of thing worked for maybe a month or two back in 2004, it definitely doesn’t work anymore.
5) Only targeting one keyword – I understand that most people only want to target one keyword like “wedding shows” by why limit yourself? When acquiring links from link trades or creating content for your website, you should target 2 or 3 keywords. Why not go with “wedding shows”, “wedding dresses” and “wedding planning”?
There are probably another 10 SEO mistakes beginners make, but these are a few glaring ones. Stay away from these 5 and you’re on the right track. The last thing you want is Google to penalize your site or even worse – ban it from their search results all together!
Lately, I’ve been trying to do a bit of search engine optimization for myself by gaining trading backlinks with other local and non-local web designers. While Google and the other large search engines generally don’t approve of this, it’s considered more grey or white hat SEO than black hat SEO. In my search for different Windsor web designers to trade links with, I found that many of them didn’t know about the different type of link trades that are possible. I figured, I may as well write up a quick post about it and then refer to it anytime I offer someone a backlink in exchange for a link on one of their sites.
There are 3 main different types of link trades; A-B, A-B-C and A-B-C-D. If possible, you want to try to gain more ABC and ABCD trades than AB because it’s easier for the search engines to detect a straight AB reciprocal link trade. Let me explain the trades further.
A-B Trade: This trade is also known as a reciprocal link trade. Basically it’s a 1 for 1 swap of links between your site and your friend or colleagues site. For example; yoursiteA.com links to theirsiteB.com and theirsiteB.com links to yoursiteA.com.
A-B-C Trade: This trade is a bit more difficult to work out because it involves 3 sites instead of 2. For example; yoursiteA.com links to theirsiteB.com and theirsiteB.com links to yoursiteC.com. Obviously, it could also work if they had 2 websites and you had one. For example; theirsiteA.com links to yoursiteB.com and yoursiteB.com links to theirsiteC.com.
A-B-C-D Trade: This is probably the most beneficial trade of all because it’s basically impossible for Google or the other search engines to detect. This type of trade involves 4 sites, so while it’s the most beneficial it’s also the hardest to find. For example; yoursiteA.com links to theirsiteB.com and theirsiteC.com links to yoursiteD.com. This way there is no connection between your link trade at all.
I personally try to focus on A-B-C trades because they’re a bit easier to find than A-B-C-D trades and are much more beneficial than A-B trades. In all reality, any backlink you can get to your site will help you rank higher in the search engines, so whether it’s A-B, A-B-C or A-B-C-D, I say get it done and get ranked higher!
Every now and again friends of mine in the web design business and clients who I do SEO work for business ask me “where is a good place to get backlinks?” In all honesty, there are a plethora of places you can obtain quality backlinks without having to give up a backlink on one of your sites. When I do on-site SEO work for a client who wants to work on getting backlinks themselves I tell them 3 main places where they can get free backlinks; online directories, any type of vbulletin web forum, and lastly friends, family or business partners with web sites of their own.
Directories are a great way for beginners to get some easy backlinks to their site. There are plenty of online web directories that offer backlinks without having to return a reciprocal link. One of the first ones I always go to is Hityotta. They allow you to submit your link without asking for a single thing in return. The site also has some pretty good traffic so you may even get a click or two from your link being on their site.
VBulletin or any other type of web forum is also a nice way to grab a back link or two. Most web forums allow you to add your link to your profile in the form of “http://www.mysite.com”, which isn’t all that beneficial since you can’t add an anchor tag. I usually add my link there anyway because a backlink is a backlink, but I also try to add a link to my signature. Be careful with this one though because some web forums are picky about allowing their members to add links to their signatures. Be sure to check the rules of a particular forum before adding a link in your signature.
Lastly, you can ask for a link on the site of any of your friends, family or business partners sites or blogs. Usually, this requires you to do a link trade with them, but in all honesty it’s completely worth it. Try to get a link or two on some of your business partners sites since it’s likely that these sites will fall under the same field as your site i.e. your home builder site/their cement delivery site. What’s nice about grabbing links from friends, family or business partners is that you will most likely get a link on their homepage which will be much more beneficial then a directory or web forum where your site would fall under a sub-directory.
Obviously, these are just a few ways for beginners in the search engine optimization game to grab some free and easy backlinks. If you have another easy way to grab some links feel free to comment below and I’ll gladly add it to this post.